Two World Records - Thorpe In 200 Free - Huegill In 50 Fly
May 14, 2000 - Paul Quinlan
Veteran Olympic champion, Susan O'Neill, ten time winner of this event was out to set a national record for the longest string of wins, which she shares with Nicole Stevenson.
After two shoulder reconstructions Olympic silver medallist Petria Thomas came along to spoil Susan's party with a strong win in 58.43, just a little slower than her semi winning time of 58.05 last night when she set a new Commonwealth record. O'Neill's time 58.71 is a PB and her first time under 59.00.
Both Australians are now headed for the 2000 Olympics with a great challenge looming with the current WR holder Jenny Thompson USA.
Two newcomers to the national team Sarah-Jane D'Arcy and Kasey Giteau emerged. D'Arcy won the event in 4:11.60 and Giteau took silver with a time of 4:12.27.
Third place went to Rachel Harris, 4:12.32, heading off veteran Hayley Lewis, 4:14.47, who gave notice of a strong challenge in the women's 800m later in the meet.
When D'Arcy was asked about how she controlled the race she said "I tried to maintain control of my own race plan, knowing that Kasey was going to go out fast."
In a typical Matt Dunn medley swim, the pace in the first half was set by the other competitors; in this case Olympian Trent Steed and emerging medley swimmer Grant McGregor. But this time it was the young tyro Justin Norris who held Dunn out to take the championship and first Olympic spot in 4:16.23, a PB by six seconds.
Dunn's time 4:16.50 was within half a second of his all time best.
Later when asked about the upset win Norris said, "To give myself a chance I knew I had to be up there in the fly and hang on in the backstroke with the leaders. From There on it's all down hill."
When asked about Dunn closing in on him, Norris replied: "He's renowned for his great finishes. I just had to keep my head down and concentrate on what I was doing."
While former champion Dunn said: "I'm extremely happy for Justin. He's a great guy and deserves the win."
Bronze medallist in both Barcelona and Atlanta, twenty nine year old PhilRogers had the experience to hold out dual Commonwealth Games champion, Simon Cowley, to win in a mediocre time of 1:02.59.
Cowley, 1:02.63, finished second, ahead national team member, Ryan Mitchell 1:02.75 in what was the most closely contested if not the highest standard race of the second night of these championships and Olympic trials.
On qualifying for his third Olympic team, Rogers said: "It took a while to register. I was trying to find my name and my lane number on the scoreboard; but, once it sunk in it was one hell of a relief. The time was not particularly fast but winning makes it all worthwhile."
On the race itself the Olympian said: "It was tough. I thought 'Bugger me! Get to the wall."
In a remarkably well controlled race, 17-year-old, Ian Thorpe, replaced another of his times in the record book with a faster performance for the second time in two days.
Thorpe swam in the first semi-final with Grant Hackett back in form after a poor 400 swim last night pushing his younger team mate to new world record. Hackett was just three quarters of a second behind the winner when they reached 150m.
The new world record splits for Ian Thorpe: 24.97, 52.04, 1:19.12, 1:45.69.
Thorpe said: "It takes a lot of pressure off me going into the final. Now, I can swim the race as I want to."
Hackett came up with the second fastest time, 1:47.26, from the semis with Michael Klim, 1:48.38, third fastest followed by William Kirby, Daniel Kowalski and Todd Pearson all better than 1:48.90, setting up a great field for the final on day three.
The fast improving Leisel Jones, coached by Ken Wood on the Redcliffe Peninsula, goes into tomorrow's final with a 1:08.82 ahead of Brooke Hanson 1:09.67 and club mate Tarnee White 1:09.98.
Former 200m WR holder Rebecca Brown, Olympian Helen Denman and Samantha Riley will strive for Olympic spots tomorrow from outside lanes.
Victorian Matt Welsh coached by Ian Pope, set a new national record in the semi becoming the first Aussie backstroker to break 55.00 with a time of 54.85.
On his race Matt said: "That turn was incredible. I hit the wall and thought now I just have to go hard and touch that wall".
In response to not wearing a full body suit the new record holder replied: "I've done a hell of a lot of work and that's what makes me swim fast, not the suit. But, I didn't think I'd go quite that fast."
Josh Watson was second fastest in 55.19, Ross Powell 56.15, and Ray Hass with a 56.57 will fight for the second Olympic place.
Geoff Huegill warming to his challenge with Michael Klim later in the week for the 100m fly championship set a cracker of a pace to take Denis Pankratov's WR with a new mark of 23.60.
Klim did not swim the event.
Dyana Calub from New South Wales, coached by Greg Salter who has the top male backstroker, Josh Watson in his squad, improved on last night's record time with 28.86.
Dyana who tied for the Pan Pacific 100m title in '99 is expected to set new Australian standards in the 100m distance this week.
'99 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 100m backstroke Giaan Rooney took silver with 28.96 in a close finish. Kellie McMillan took bronze in 29.63.