Thorpe Resets World Record In 200 Free
May 15, 2000 - Paul Quinlan
The current Commonwealth Champion, Giaan Rooney, and the Pan Pacific champion Dyana Calub came up from the backstroke start tied together with sprint specialist Kellie McMillan also putting in a bid at 25m.
Calub who led them through the turn striking the wall firmly in 31.84 ahead of Clementine Stoney 31.91 and Rooney 32.17. She was not to be denied and led to the wall to book her berth on the national team for the Olympics with a time of 1:01.71.
A tense struggle for second between Stoney and Rooney has now become a worst possible scenario as both swimmers tied for second place with a time of 1:02.58. This now leaves the selectors and Board with a possible conflict in their team selection criteria since only 2 swimmers per event can go to the Olympics.
The 200m backstroke later in the meet may solve the problem if both of the women can take the first two places. If not an unprecedented swim off may have to be set up to solve the issue.
If both girls make the team in the 200 backstroke then the second spot for the 100m in Sydney could be resolved by a time trial at the national training camp.
A confident and excited Calub was not perturbed by a slower time than her PB, in the understatement of the night, and with the broadest grin of all time, said: "I knew what I had to do and now I'm in, I'm happy with that."
The second women's selection event on today's program was a highlight of the night and saw a changing of the guard in Australian sprint breaststroke. The event, filled with many well known names like Riley, Neumann, Brown and Denman will have to add some new names after tonights race.
It was a great night for the Ken Wood coached breaststrokers; Leisel Jones and Tarnee White, now both on the Olympic Team.
The field was virtually in a straight line for the first 75m. Incredibly even for one and a half laps. Tarnee White touched first in 32.55 followed by Leisel Jones just .10 sec behind her.
Although the field was even, Jones great rhythm and timing on the second lap allowed her to pull ahead on every stroke. She touched the wall in 1:08.71, White was second in 1:09.05 and third place went to Caroline Hildreth in 1:09.22. At 14, Jones is certain to make her mark on women's breaststroke
The coach had his say after the event. "I really set out originally to get Tarnee on the Olympic team. Then along came this young improver, Leisel Jones. When you have two in your program you mix joy with sorrow. I am a lucky man tonight," said Coach Wood
The hottest field of all time assembled to fight for the two places available for the individual 200m free at the Games and the other four spots on the 800m free relay team.
Michael Klim the 1998 World Champion set the pace in the first 50m, turning in front of world record holder Ian Thorpe who split 24.63.
Thorpe moved up to Klim at the 75m and turned just ahead of the challenger. Thorpe was ahead of his own WR pace from the previous night - 51.03 at the 100m as against 52.04 the previous night. Klim was close by, turning in 51.11.
Grant Hackett was holding third place throughout. His time at the 100m was 52.02. He was followed closely by William Kirby and Daniel Kowalski.
Thorpe and Klim were still vying for lead in the event, but Thorpe appeared not only to hold his stroke under pressure but increase his stroke length in the third fifty where he turned at 150m in 1:18.18. He now had a lead of .32 sec over Micheal Klim who turned at 1:18.50.
Thorpe turned on his acclaimed power kick in the last 50m, but Klim was not giving up. The pair finished one, two. Thorpe touching in the new WR time of 1:45.51 which sent the crowd of nine thousand wild.
Klim had a great swim with his time of 1:46.89.
Hackett was third in 1:47.81, Kirby fourth in 1:48.05, Kowalski fifth in 1:48.13 and Todd Pearson was sixth in 1:48.15. The WR in the 800 free relay certainly looks threatened by this collection of talent.
With 3 World Records for the meet so far, Ian Thorpe has brought his total individual World Records to six. Swimming enthusiasts are flocking to the Sydney International Aquatic Centre to watch this teenager swim with a his classic high elbow and surging six beat kick. The young swimmer is handling his out of pool commitments with the aplomb of a veteran statesman.
"Yes, it is hard to refocus and come back again the next night when there are Olympic positions at stake. I want to take the opportunity to rank high in as many races at the Olympics as I can", said Thorpe.
Klim's view of his young opponent: "I hoped he would grab me and pull me along to the wall. He just gets better everyday."
And the bronze medallist, Hackett; "I would have been happy next place up but I'm in the relay and that's all that matters. I think I'm more excited for Daniel(Kowalski, his clubmate)."
Kowalski on coming fifth tonight: "That fifth time was faster than I swam to take the silver medal in Atlanta."
Australian men's backstroke is certainly on an upward spiral with Matt Welsh from Victoria and Josh Watson from New South Wales providing inspiration and tough competition for each other.
Tonight it was Welsh who once again won by a small margin in a new national record time of 54.14 just edging Watson who also went under 55.00 for the first time. Welsh's new mark 54.14 is the fifth fastest swim All Time, while Watson's silver medal time of 54.82 is the eighth fastest swim All Time.
The bronze medal was won by Ray Hass in 55.82.
Welsh was hopeful of an even faster time, remarking: "I knew I was going fast. I hit the wall and thought could be a 53+, but it wasn't." "It's a full second off my Pan Pac time, so in another six months we will see what I can do?"
Women's 200m Freestyle
A very good swim by Susan O'Neill in 1:57.47, a new Commonwealth record.
Women's 200m Medley
Olympian Elli Overton fastest in 2:17.63 from Jennifer Reilly 2:17.70.
Men's 200m Butterfly
Scott Goodman looked relaxed and led the way with a time of 1:58.76, Greg Shaw 1:58.87, Justin Norris 1:59.02 and Heath Ramsay 1:59.14.