Aussie World Champs Team Named; Hackett Swims 14:49 for the 1500m Free

By Ian Hanson and Belinda Dennett

HOBART, March 31. TWENTY-SIX members of Australia's 2000 Olympic team have won selection in the 44-strong Telstra Dolphins Australian team to contest this year's World Swimming Championships in Fukuoka, Japan in July.

Heading the list are individual Olympic gold medalists Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett with team veterans Phil Rogers included on a record fourth World Championship team and Hayley Lewis on her third team.

Lewis has qualified for both the open water in the 5km and 10km and the pool competition in the 1500m – the first Australian swimmer to qualify for both open water and pool competition.

The team consists of 23 women and 21 men – with nine rookies and only 11 survivors from the 1998 World Championship team – two of them women – Petria Thomas and Sarah Ryan.

Rogers at 29 is the oldest man and Lewis at 27, the oldest woman. Ian Thorpe, at 18, is the youngest man while Olympic silver medallist Leisel Jones at 15 is the youngest woman.

The rookies on this team are: Leon Dunne, Antony Matkovich and David Jenkins in the mens team and Michelle Engelsman, Jodie Henry, Nicole Hunter, Linda McKenzie, Amanda Pascoe and Kelly Tucker in the women.

There are 17 swimmers from NSW, 13 from Queensland, seven Victorians, four Western Australians, two South Australians and one Tasmanian.

Australian Swimming has named 10 coaches including Manly's Narelle Simpson – the first female coach on an Australian Swimming team in 30 years.

Australian head coach Don Talbot said: "Coaching is a very competitive situation at the moment and Narelle has shown she has a swimmer (Elka Graham) who is doing well and she has earned her position on the team.

"She is the first female swimming coach on an Australian team since Ursula Carlile in Munich in 1972."

Meanwhile Grant Hackett, the reigning Olympic, World, Pan Pacific, Commonwealth and Australian Champion over 1500m freestyle took out his fifth consecutive national title on the final night of the 2001 Telstra Australian Championships and World Championship Selection Trials.

His time of 14:49.30 was less than one second outside the time which won the Olympic gold medal and it makes Hackett the only person in history to swim under 14:50.00 on four occasions.

"It's a good time. To get under 14:50.00 is great, I'm really satisfied," Hackett said after the race. "It was pretty hard to be out there on my own so I sort of focused on Craig Stevens and tried to make the gap bigger."

Craig Stevens was second in 15:17.20 which was his fastest time since he finished 4th at the 1999 Pan Pacific Championships. In a great sign for the depth of Australian distance swimming, 18- year-old Andrew Affleck and 15-year-old Travis Nederpelt, also swam personal best times of 15:22.33 and 15:39.48 respectively. Completing the final were Grant Cleland (15:50.58), David Cox (15:59.54), Mark Saliba (16.01.69).

Having established a new Australian record in the semi-finals last night, Sarah Ryan was not able to reproduce that form and it was 21-year-old Michelle Engelsmen who grabbed the gold in 25.76 with Ryan second in 25.98. "I felt like I was ready for a really good swim, but you never know until you get there," Engelsmen said after the race.

Her time now takes her to number three on the Australian All-time list. The Brazilian born swimmer has lived all over the world and currently trains at the University of Arizona under coach Rick Demont. She has made a remarkable come-back from a degenerative disc injury which saw her in a back brace for three months in October 1998. She said to make the Australian team was a relief. "It means the realisation of a goal I've had for a long time.

"Jodie Henry was third in 26.01 from Sophie Edington (26.05), Melinda Geraghty (26.15), Rebecca Creedy (26.22), Cassie Hunt (26.43) and Lori Munz (26.78).

After winning two silver medals at this meet in the 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke, Giaan Rooney was determined that tonight would be golden. She sort some words of wisdom from Ian Thorpe prior to swimming the unfamiliar distance and tried to stick with Olympian, Kasey Giteau who attacked from the start. Rooney was able to finish strongly touching first in the time of 4:13.78 ahead of Olympians, Sarah-Jane D'Arcy (4:14.40) and Kasey Giteau (4:14.96).

"I think training with the boys and the 1500 guys has really helped. I came here to win the 200 freestyle and I was pretty disappointed that I didn't. I just wanted to come out tonight and show everyone that I wasn't beaten yet," she told Duncan Armstrong in her poolside interview.

She said that Thorpe had told her his race plan for the 400m. "Basically he said to go out comfortably hard and try and come home harder."

Giteau was third in 4:14.96 with Linda McKenzie (4:15.73), Tammie Smith (4:16.05), Kate Krywulycz (4:17.29), Elka Graham (4:20.30) and Jennifer Reilly (4:20.73) completing the field.

Grant McGregor took out the individual medley double, adding the 400m title to his gold in the 200m earlier in the week. McGregor led from the start and his time of 4:17.62 put him comfortably ahead of silver medallist, Justin Norris who swam out in lane one and finished strongly in 4:21.52. Trent Steed was unlucky to be pipped at the post and finish in third place in a time of 4:17.62. Jim Piper was fourth in 4:29.70 from Andrew Richards (4:31.31), Mitchell Bacon and Galen Gough.

Simon Cowley completed the 50m and 100m breaststroke double by out-touching veteran Phil Rogers by 0.01 second. If Rogers is named in the World Championship team he will be the only male or female Australian to compete at four consecutive World Championships. Turning 30 next month he said, "If they call my name out to go the World Championships, they'll make an old man very happy." Rob Van der Zant took the bronze medal in 29.24.

Completing the top eight were Jim Piper (29.42), Steven McBrien (29.61), Regan Harrison (29.61) and Ben Eales (30.04)

2001 Telstra Dolphins World Championship Team

MEN

Ashley Callus 22 Redlands QLD

Simon Cowley 20 SLC Aquadot NSW

Leon Dunne 26 Yeronga Park QLD

Grant Hackett 20 Miami QLD

Regan Harrison 22 Yeronga Park QLD

Ray Hass 23 Firbank Aquastars VIC

Brett Hawke 25 Sydney Uni NSW

Geoff Huegill 22 Redcliffe Leagues/Lawnton QLD

David Jenkins 24 Syd Uni NSW

William Kirby 25 City Of Perth WA

Michael Klim 23 Southern Bay VIC

Antony Matkovich 23 City of Perth WA

Grant McGregor 22 Brothers QLD

Justin Norris 20 BHP Hunter NSW

Todd Pearson 23 Carine WA WA

Adam Pine 25 Ballina Indoor NSW

Phil Rogers 29 Sydney Uni NSW

Craig Stevens 20 SLC Aquadot NSW

Ian Thorpe 18 SLC Aquadot NSW

Josh Watson 23 Kingscliff NSW

Matthew Welsh 24 Surrey Park VIC

WOMEN

Charlene Benzie 19 Kingscliff NSW

Dyana Calub 25 Kingscliff NSW

Sarah-Jane D'Arcy 23 Melbourne Vicentre VIC

Michelle Engelsman 21 Carey Aquatic VIC

Kasey Giteau 18 Toongabbie NSW

Elka Graham 19 Manly NSW

Julia Ham 20 Chandler QLD

Brooke Hanson 23 Nunawading VIC

Jodie Henry 17 Chandler QLD

Nicole Hunter 16 Tattersalls Aquatic TAS

Leisel Jones 15 Redcliffe Leagues/Lawnton QLD

Hayley Lewis 27 Commercial QLD

Linda Mackenzie 17 Mackay Swimming Academy QLD

Megan McMahon 18 Fleurieu SA

Lori Munz 22 Carey Aquatic VIC

Amanda Pascoe 16 Cambelltown NSW

Jennifer Reilly 17 Victoria Park WA

Giaan Rooney 18 Miami QLD

Sarah Ryan 24 Bayside Aquatics SA

Clementine Stoney 19 Albury NSW

Petria Thomas 25 Ginninderra NSW

Kelly Tucker 15 Kincumber Pacific Dolphins NSW

Tarnee White 19 Redcliffe Leagues/Lawnton QLD

Head coach: Don Talbot

Head Coach Men: Doug Frost

Head Coach Women: Mark Regan

Manager: Ruth Everuss. Assistant Managers: Bruce Steed, David Wilson

Team Coaches – Women: Roger Bruce, Greg Salter, Narelle Simpson, Alan Thompson, Ken Wood

Team Coaches – Men : Denis Cotterell, Jim Fowlie, Ian Pope, Barry Prime, Gennadi Touretski

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