BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA, Jan. 12. AFTER a pair of outstanding early-season swims by Grant Hackett during the first three days of the Queensland Open and Age Group Championships at the Chandler Aqauatic Centre here earlier in the week, Thursday's and Friday's' competition has been more low key.
Hackett, the Olympic and World Champion in the 1500 free, had gone 1:48+ and 7:56+ in the 200 and 800 frees, but opted not to swim the 400 free Thursday.
Instead, the race was won by 20-year-old Josh Krogh in 3:55.83. His pr is a 3:52.79 from the Olympic Trials in 2000.
Krogh has a ways to go to break the Queensland all-comers' record, which is 3:43.85 by Ian Thorpe from the Australian Championships three years ago. The Queensland state record is Hackett's 3:42.51 that earned him the silver at last summer's World Championships, and the Australian record is Thorpe's
3:40.17 from Fukuoka that won him the gold and is also the current global standard.
In the women's 400, top honors went to 18-year-old Linda MacKenzie (4:17.32). The Queensland record is 4:06.28 by Tracey Wickham, which won her the gold at the World Championships in West Berlin 24 years ago and was then the world record. The Australian Open record is 4:05.80 by America's Brooke Bennett, which won her the gold at the Olympics.
Olympian Robert Van Der Zant, 26, who won the 50 back and 200 IM earlier, won the 100 back (57.19) and 400 IM (4:27.62). His shorter IM pr is 2:01.47, that earned him a spot on the Aussie team for Sydney two years ago and is second-fastest among active competitors to Justin Norris' 2:00.91 from the World Championships. His 400 IM pr is 4:23.70 from the 1998 Commonwealth Games Trials.
Perhaps the most outstanding swim the past two days belongs to sprinter Ashley Callus, who went 49.72 to win the Open 100 free. His pr is 49.38 from the Fukuoka semis, a time that ranks him No. 2 on the Aussie list. However, he's got a ways to go to catch the list-leader, who happens to be the inimitable Michael Klim, world record-holder in the 100 fly, who led off Oz's 400 free relay at Sydney in 48.18 – then the world record, but relegated to history's second-quickest century by Pieter van den Hoogenband in the Olympic semi-finals.
Still, Callus has gone from 51+ to 49.3 in a couple of years and at 22 is just now entering what should be the prime of his career.
In the women's 100 Open, Jodie Henry — who's pr had been 56.03 from the Goodwill Games in September — won in 55.81. A local girl from Chandler, the 18-year-old Henry will be after Sarah Ryan's Queensland all-comers' record of 55.38 before the season's over — and she's also likely thinking about Susie O'Neill's Commonwealth/Australian record of 54.79, done while
leading off the 400 free relay at the Olympics
Alice Mills, a Chandler teammate of Henry's who won the 50 free and 200 IM earlier, splashed home first in the girls' 100 breast for 15 year olds with a 1:15.62. The Open 100 went to Liesel Jones (1:10.29) with Kelli Waite (1:12.26) second, same result as the 200 breast earlier.
Jones, now 16, was Olympic silver medalist in the 100 breast (Australian record 1:07.49).
In the boys' 14 200 free, Craig McLennan of Blackwater won in 1:58.86. Not a bad time for a youngster, but he's going to have to work awfully hard to get the Australian standard of 1:50.07 by a certain Master Thorpe, who as an 18-year-old last year got his world record back from Dutchman Pieter van den
Hoogenband with a 1:44.10 clocking to win the gold at the World Championships.
Of course, Thorpe is the ONLY 14-year-old to ever go a 1:50.0 and the only man to go 1:44+ too!
In boys' 15 100 fly, Nicholas Frost won in 57.79. The Aussie record is 56.34 by Burl Reid eight years ago, whose pr is now 53.25 from last year's World Championships Trials. The Queensland Open record is 56.54 by Japan's Takashi Yamamoto, also from this meet eight years ago. Today Yamamoto is the Asian and Japanese record-holder in both flys, 52.55 from the Fukuoka semis and 1:55.84 from the finals.
In boys' 16 400 free, Commercial's Nicohlas Sprenger won in 4:00.02 to Daniel Lysaught's 4:00.62. Thorpe holds the Aussie record with his 3:41.82 from the Pan-Pacific Championships at the Olympic Pool three years ago, then the world record.
In boys' 15 200 free, Tom Connole won in 1:56.81, not too far off the Queensland record of 1:54.33 from nearly a decade ago.
However, the national 15 standard again belongs to Thorpe, who did a 1:46.70 to win the gold at the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lampur that September. Thorpedo's time coincidentally matched the winning 200 free from the Barcelona Olympics six years earlier by Russia's Evgeniy Sadoviy, which then was .01 off Italy's Giorgio Lamberti's 1:46.69 world record from the 1989 European Championships.
The meet continues through tomorrow.
– Bill Bell