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Oceanea Championships, Day Four: Australia Sweeps, Adds Five More Meet Marks -- May 20, 2004

SUVA, FIJI, May 19. AUSTRALIA kept up its winning and record-setting ways on Day Four of the Oceania Championships here last evening.

Going into tonight's action the Oz team had set eight championship records. Tonight they added five more, including both women's and men's 200 free relay marks.

After breaking the meet record in the 400 free prelims with her 4:17.15, Aussie Briody Murphy did it again tonight and she did it in style. Murphy clocked a fast 4:12.91, swimming a well-paced race that left her stunned.

“I'm stoked to swim a three-second personal best un-rested. We got the trifecta again which was a positive for the team. The electric atmosphere is making it so easy for me to get up and race fast,” Murphy said.

Australia earned the sweep with Stephanie Williams clocking a personal-best 4:17.17 to win silver, marginally ahead of Haylee Reddaway (4:17.19).

Veteran Josh Krogh, 22, was also consistent in lowering his 200 fly record, set in the heats, and splashed to gold in 1:59.49. His pr is 1:58.38 from the Sydney International Youth Festival in January of 2001.

The win was Krogh's third individual gold; he also swam legs on Australia's victorious 400 and 800 free relays. Teammate Andrew Richards, swimming in an earlier preliminary heat, also broke the record with his 2:01.77. He followed with a silver at night (2:00.22) with teammate Brendon Hughes (2:02.47) third.

“My stroke felt good for the first time in a while. I was happy with the time considering the hard work we’ve been doing,” Krogh said, having noted earlier that his focus for the balance of the season is making the Aussie team for the World Short Course Championships in Indianapolis next fall.

His teammate, Mark Riley, rounded out the hat trick of individual Oceania records, winning the 50 breaststroke with a solid swim of 28.82.

“Under the testing conditions I was pleased with the time. It was a great help having such support pool side and that has really been the best part of this trip for me, the amazing team atmosphere,” Riley said.

Tahitian 20-year-old, Rainui Teriipaia won his country's first medal, the silver, and Sydneysider James Beasley scored the bronze.

* * * * *

The most exciting races of the evening were the final two, the women's and men's 200 free relays.

Both sexes hit the water simultaneously with six teams represented from Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific All Stars.

After a tight tussle in the men’s race, it was Australia winning the gold with anchorman Andrew Lauterstein just holding off fast-finishing Fijian, Carl Probert, for the win.

(The latter swimmer broke Australia's inaugural two-day monopoly on gold Sunday with a win in the 50 free for his country's sole medal so far.)

The women’s race was a battle between arch rivals New Zealand and Australia. A fast final leg by Melbourne’s Danni Miatke saw her storm home over her opposition -- to the roar of the green and gold army in the grandstands.