By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, March 28. QUEENSLANDER Ashley Callus took the 50 meter sprint in 22.47 (PR 22.37) on Day 7 of the Australian Championships to give him the sprint double for the meet after having dead-heated with Ian Thorpe in the 100.
Callus, who also won this title last year, came over the top of national record-holder Brett Hawke in the last five meters to win by just 0.06. Hawke clocked 22.53 with his fellow Sydney Uni club mate, David Carter, third with a PR 22.73.
Callus’ effort was all the more impressive given the battle he has had will ongoing illness that has left him unable to train anywhere near normal load in recent months.
“All I wanted to do was race here and I’m very happy with what I’ve achieved. I will be having more tests as soon as I get home to sort out this problem and be fully fit for Barcelona,” an exhausted Callus said after his race.
Men’s 100m butterfly:
Geoff Huegill won his 5th title in the 100 fly at the nationals but not before he gave the field a start. The easygoing Queenslander slipped off the blocks and by his own admission “fell into the water” but easily managed to catch likely challenger Adam Pine at the turn 24.76 to 25.19.
The world record-holder over 50 fly fought off a determined effort from Pine to hit the wall in a relatively slow 53.27 (Huegill clocked 52.30 in 2002 with a PR 51.96 from Sydney 2000). AIS-based Adam Pine clocked 53.51 to take the silver from 18-year-old Robert Sharp who slashed home from lane 8 in a PR 54.27. The third fastest qualifier, Jason Cohen, was DQ’ed for a false start.
Women’s 50 butterfly:
Australian record-holder Petria Thomas won her sixth title in this event tonight in 27.01, her last race before going under the surgeon’s knife, from eye-catching newcomer, 18-year-old Libby Lenton in a PR 27.24 (3rd best Aussie all-time). Lenton edged out Jordana Webb who also clocked a PR of 27.27 (4th best Aussie all-time) and both will most likely make the World Champs team. Seventeen-year-old Marieke Guehrer also swam a PR taking 4th in 27.43 (6th best Aussie all-time).
Women’s 200 backstroke:
Fifteen-year-old Cairns-based Queenslander Zoe Tonks cut a full second of her PR prior to the meet to win her first national title and a place on the team to Barcelona clocking 2:14.30. Tonks edged out Frances Adcock 2:14.41 with AIS-based Karina Leane third in 2:15.90.
The race was won in a relatively slow time compared with the 2:11.59 posted by 2002 title-holder Clementine Stoney who pulled out of this meet at the last minute with illness.
Women’s 800 freestyle:
Title-holder Amanda Pascoe came home with a withering burst in the last 50-meters to pick up almost 4-seconds on leader Linda MacKenzie to touch first in a relatively slow 8:40.25 (PR 8:34.19). MacKenzie clocked 8:40.47 for silver with Belinda Wilson taking the bronze in 8:44.43.
Women’s 50 freestyle:
Libby Lenton continued her quick ride to prominence in Australian women’s swimming with a fast 25.31 (2nd all-time Aussie), just 0.02 outside the Australian record held by Jodie Henry and just short making the list of all-time top 25 global performer. Lenton’s PR at the end of 2002 stood a 25.93.
Sixteen-year-old Alice Mills is also making waves. Tonight she broke the Australian age record to qualify second in 25.36 (3rd all-time Aussie), then came 100 gold medalist Jodie Henry 25.43, Sophie Edington 25.89 and title-holder Sarah Ryan 25.95.
Women’s 50 breaststroke:
Brooke Hanson 31.54 PR
Leisel Jones 31.65
Jade Edmistone 32.12 PR
Sarah Kasoulis 32.25
Tarnee White 32.29
Men’s 50 backstroke:
Matt Welsh 25.61
Josh Watson 25.66 equal PR
Ethan Rolff 26.53
Hayden Stoeckel 26.72
Josh Taylor 26.84