By Stephen J. Thomas
MELBOURNE, November 28. AUSSIE Leisel Jones, 18, added the short course 100 meter breaststroke to the long course world record she set in Barcelona earlier this year with a brilliant swim. After splitting 30.92 at the 50, Jones jammed the touch pads in 1:05.09, two-hundredths under the old mark by Sweden’s Emma Igelstrom.
Jones’ blazing speed also lifted World Championship teammate Brooke Hanson to new heights as Hanson clocked 1:05.45, making her the fourth-fastest performer all-time behind former record-holder Igelstrom and South African Penny Heyns.
Jones said after her race, “I was feeling relaxed before this race after having won the Skins event (beating Hanson and American Amanda Beard earlier in the week). I have not enjoyed short course in the past but I have been working hard on my turns and I felt stronger as the race went on tonight.”
Another Queensland 18-year-old, Libby Lenton, made it clear she will be fighting for the neck jewellery in Athens with a powerful four-lap freestyle, clocking a stunning 52.64, a Commonwealth record. Only Swedish world record-holder Therese Alshammar has swum faster – 52.17. Tonight Lenton dipped 0.01 seconds under the best by Dutch sprint queen Inge de Bruijn. Last year at this meet, as a five sessions a week swimmer, Lenton beat Alshammar to flag her potential. Now after a successful World Championships campaign, she is looking toned and stronger with a new focus on her training and more discipline in her diet.
The events on night one of final fell like this:
Men’s 400m Freestyle:
Frenchman Nicolas Rostoucher had an all-the-way win in the 16-lap race clocking 3:42.06. Melbourne-based Italian Massi Rosolino was second in 3:43.62 with Aussie Craig Stevens taking the bronze in a PR 3:44.18. Rostoucher broke his own national record by two seconds, continuing his good form from the Miami club meet in Queensland last week where he defeated Grant Hackett over this distance long-course. Hackett scratched from the race after his asthma attack at the Skins meet in Sydney on Wednesday night but he may yet swim later in the meet.
Men’s 200m Butterfly:
Michael Phelps set a new American record when he clocked a swift 1:52.27 (split 53.97) to break Tom Malchow’s mark of 1:52.97 set back in 2001. Chasing him home was Aussie Olympic bronze medalist in this event, Justin Norris, who touched in 1:54.16, just outside his national record 1:54.07, while another Aussie, Andrew Richards, was third (1:56.12).
Men’s 50m Breaststroke:
Aussie Brenton Rickard improved his own national record set in Hobart this August clocking 27.17. Another Aussie, Mark Riley, followed in 27.41 and American record-holder Ed Moses was third (27.85).
Men’s 100m freestyle:
American Jason Lezak took the four-lap freestyle with a quick 47.36 (just 0.04 seconds outside his PR) to touch well ahead of Aussie record-holder Ashley Callus (48.06) and Todd Pearson (48.61). Ian Thorpe was a surprise late withdrawal from the race suffering from a severe stomach aliment.
Men’s 100m IM:
Michael Phelps took his second event of the meet with a one-second PR of 53.30, well in advance of New Zealand veteran Dean Kent (54.52) and American Kevin Clements (54.84), his North Baltimore teammate.
Men’s 50m Backstroke:
Australian record-holder Matt Welsh powered to the wall in his home pool to set a new World Cup record of 23.39 seconds, just short of his national record 23.31 and German Thomas Rupprath’s world mark 23.23. American Craig Gilliam took the silver in 24.74 from Aussie Josh Watson (24.87). Craig’s younger brother Michael was fourth in 24.90.
Women’s 50m Butterfly:
Aussie comebacker Petria Thomas took 0.16 off her own national and Commonwealth record, splashing 26.20 to defeat the reigning world record-holder Swede Anna-Karin Kammerling (26.32) and Aussie Libby Lenton (PR 26.52).
Women’s 100m Breaststroke:
Aussie Leisel Jones trimmed just 0.02 seconds off Swede Emma Eglestrom’s world record set in March this year to clock 1:05.09 ahead of fellow Aussie Brooke Hanson with an superb 1:05.45 and American Amanda Beard (American record 1:06.00).
Women’s 100m Freestyle:
Aussie rising star Libby Lenton clocked her second PR of the night, this time a stunning new World Cup record, to smash American Jenny Thompson’s mark by 0.41 seconds as she touched the pads in 52.64 (split 25.43). It was the second-fastest swim all-time behind world record-holder Therese Alshammar (WR 52.17). The 18-year-old Queenslander thrashed veteran Aussie Petria Thomas (PR 54.21) and American Lindsay Benko (54.29).
Women’s 400m IM:
Aussie national champion Jenny Reilly powered home in the second half of the race to win in a very solid 4:37.27 from New Zealander Helen Norfolk (4:38.82) and Romanian veteran Beatrice Caslaru (4:39.99).
Women’s 200m Backstroke:
American Pan Pac gold medalist Margaret Hoelzer clocked a PR 2:05.47 from World Champs teammate Lindsay Benko (2:07.81) and Aussie Melissa Morgan (2:09.32).
Women’s 800m Freestyle:
Aussie Elka Graham, the national record-holder over the 200/400 free, showed no ill effects from three weeks of altitude training in Arizona to go within 0.33 seconds of the national mark in an easy win over 800 meters. Graham clocked 8:17.97 in her first race over the distance. Aussie Linda MacKenzie was a distant second in 8:29.69 from another Aussie Melissa Gorman (8:36.98).