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Hackett And Perkins Will Both Compete For Olympic Glory

May 20, 2000  - Paul Quinlan

100 Backstroke Swim-Off

The final session was preceded by the swim-off for the second place in the women's 100m backstroke.

Giaan Rooney is already qualified to swim on the team from her 100 and 200m freestyle second placings. Stoney qualified for the team in winning the 200m backstroke.

Rooney the Commonwealth Games champion, trained by Denis Cotterell had a strong start with a good dive and streamlined underwater dolphin kicking. She was leading going into the turn and was 0.29 in front as they headed for home.

Stoney challenged strongly at the sixty metre mark but Rooney was determined, claiming the Olympic individual swim in 1:02.58 to Stoney's 1:02.81


Women's 50m Freestyle Final

WR 24.51 Jingyi LE CHN Rome 11 Sep 1994
CR 25.33 Alison Sheppard SCO Istanbul 1 Aug 1999
AR 25.79 Karin van Wirdum AUS Sydney 27 Mar 1996

The fastest qualifier in this event, Susan O'Neill was not even at the pool for the final session, electing instead to attend the wedding of a close friend.

Sarah Ryan deputised for her women's team captain in fine style taking the honours with a strong swim of 25.90 with another PB.

In her post race interview the Gennadi Touretski trained swimmer gave credit to her coach when asked why she has continues to improve: "I think it's maturity, training with Gennadi. And learning to be a different type of swimmer."

Her win in the 50m gives her the sprint double berths for the Olympics, plus the two relays; "I'm very happy about that. I've never done it(the double) before. It's good to be able to finally claim the sprint as mine,"

Asked how she would now prepare for this event at the Games: "You've always got to get faster. I'll have to find the way to improve even more."

And on her now famous painted finger nails: "What a great invention."

Promising seventeen year old freestyle and butterfly swimmer from the Shoalhaven club also swam a PB in taking the silver in 26.17.

Jodie Henry from the Chandler club was just 0.07 behind in taking the bronze medal. Jodie will probably be named in the Olympic team later today for her 100m swim.

Men's 1500m Freestyle Final

WR 14:41.66 Kieren Perkins AUS Victoria BC 24 Aug 1994
CR 14:41.66 Kieren Perkins AUS Victoria BC 24 Aug 1994
AR 14:41.66 Kieren Perkins AUS Victoria BC 24 Aug 1994

Going into this championship event, the focus was on not who would win, but would the greatest 1500m swimmer the world has seen make second place, and go to his third Olympics with his chances of winning three in a row still open to him.

It was not long before it was apparent that Kieren Perkins would have a great chance of achieving his ambition of placing on the team as he and Grant Hackett split from the rest of the field. Only Craig Stevens looked like he had a chance to spoil the party.

On reaching 200m Hackett turned in 1:53.43 and Perkins in 1:54.45, almost one body length difference. Stevens was third two body lengths further back in 1:58.10.

At 400m Hackett was travelling along in good style, maintaining length and style. Perkins still holding on at his heels. On reaching the one third mark of the race it was Hackett in 4:52.06. Stevens on 5:00.78, Stephen Penfold 5:05.59, Ky Hurst 5:06.09 , Daniel Lysaught, Dylan Rackley and Richard Sweeting followed.

Grant Hackett was gradually increasing his lead but Perkins made surges trying to bridge the gap to no avail as they went through 800m in 7:54.00 and 7:56.28 respectively. Stevens was still third and Hurst fourth.

After a kilometre of swimming the twenty year old Hackett, 9:55.45 had a lead of one and a half body lengths over the dual Olympic gold medallist in this event Perkins 9:57.49, both on target for going under 15 minutes for the full distance. No new world record was feasible at this stage.

Craig Stevens fell further behind turning with 500m to go in 10:13.55.

Two and a half to three seconds separated the main contenders as the moved away from the field some of whom had expressed aspirations before the race of taking an Olympic berth.

With two hundred to go Hackett turned in 12:57.96 still on pace for finishing under 15:00.00, while the challenger was several seconds behind turning on 13:01.66. Craig Stevens time at 1300m 13:21.13.

Both Hackett and Perkins were making their last efforts to improve their positions. Hackett to go further ahead and Perkins to close the gap. The two champions were giving it a good shot for their Olympic aspirations - time did not matter.

At the 1400m mark , although Grant Hackett had a virtually unbeatable lead, the crowd were chanting for their hero, Perkins ! Perkins! Perkins! It must be difficult to live in the shadow of a legend even when you are winning and have not been beaten nationally or internationally in the event since 1997.

It didn't phase the younger champion who held on to record his sixth sub-fifteen minute time of 14:56.35.

The world record holder had to concede honours to Hackett on this occasion. Perkins picked up his pace near the end, but just missed out on a sub-fifteen minute swim. His time 15:01.14. Kieren is the owner of twelve sub-fifteen swims, making it a total of 18 between the two Aussie swimmers.

Hackett said that at the Olympics: "I will go twice as fast and a little better. Kieren was my hero; it was a bit strange but fantastic swimming alongside him."

On Australia chances of winning another gold at the Olympics "We're going to see it again and maybe gold and silver like Atlanta."

Kieren's view of the swim and his expectations in the race: "I wasn't sure what was going to happen this afternoon. Under 15(minutes) would have been nice."

On the crowd of twelve thousand plus this afternoon: "It means everything. I'm really proud to give everyone a chance to cheer me one more time."


Men's 50m Backstroke Final

WR 24.99 Lenny Krayzelburg USA Sydney 28 Aug 1999
CR 25.68 Matt Welsh AUS Sydney 20 May 2000
AR 25.68 Matt Welsh AUS Sydney 20 May 2000

Matt Welsh established a new Commonwealth record in winning this event and taking his third backstroke title at these championships to become the all time best backstroker in the 50 and 100m distances.

Second was Western Australian, Robert Wyllie training at the Australian Institute of Sport under Coach Barry Prime. The third place went to Josh Watson of Kingscliffe in a time of 26.28.

Women's 50m Breaststroke Final

WR 30.83 Penelope Heyns RSA Sydney 28 Aug 1999
CR 30.83 Penelope Heyns RSA Sydney 28 Aug 1999
AR 31.82 Helen Denman AUS Sydney 23 Mar 1996

The final went to Brooke Hanson of the Nunawading club in Victoria in 32.29. The record holder for the event Helen Denman swam was below her best throughout the meet recording a time of 32.67 for the silver.

Tarnee White of the Redcliffe Lawnton Club already a Olympian to be from the 100m event was third in 32.71.

Women's 400m Medley Relay Final

AR Club 4:12.11 Commercial Club QLD Perth 2 Feb 1995

The record holders were the victors again taking out the championship with Belinda Nevell, Samantha Riley, Helen Mackay and Melinda Geraghty in a time of 4:17.09.

Men's 400m Medley Relay Final

AR Club 3:49.05 Yeronga Park Club QLD Brisbane 06 Oct 1997

With Robert van der Zant, Regan Harrison, Leon Dunne and Todd Robinson the Yeronga Club team improved on their old record by three and a half seconds with a time of 3:46.66, to take the championship again.

Records at Meet to Day Seven
Ian Thorpe WR Men's 400m Freestyle 3:41.33 Final 13 May 2000
Geoff Huegill WR Men 50m 'Fly 23.60 Final 14 May 2000
Ian Thorpe WR Men's 200m Freestyle 1:45.69 SemiFinal 1 14 May 2000
Ian Thorpe WR Men's 200m Freestyle 1:45.51 Final 15 May 2000
Susan O'Neill WR Women's 200m Butterfly 2:05.81 Final 17 May 2000
Susan O'Neill CR Women's 100m Freestyle 54.86 Relay 13 May 2000
Susan O'Neill CR Women's 200m Freestyle 1:57.47 Final 15 May 2000
Dyana Calub CR Women's 50m Backstroke 28.86 Final 14 May 2000
Michael Klim CR Men's 100m Freestyle 48.56 Final 17 May 2000
Matt Welsh AR Men's 100m Backstroke 54.85 Semi-final 14 May 2000
Matt Welsh AR Men's 100m Backstroke 54.14 Final 15 May 2000
Matt Welsh CR Men's 50m Backstroke 25.72 Semi-final 19 May 2000
Matt Welsh CR Men's 50m Backstroke 25.68 Final 20 May 2000