Australian Short Course Championships: Christian Sprenger Pops Strong Time in Semis

PERTH, Australia, September 12. THE first day of the Australian Short Course Championships kicked off in Perth today with plenty of strong times to be seen, including a few returning Olympians in the house.

Jarrod Killey opened the evening with a winning time of 1:43.20 in the men's 200 free. That time cleared the 1:44.12 James Magnussen used to win the title a year ago. Bobby Hurley (1:43.49) and Tommaso D'Orsogna (1:43.87) also cleared 1:44 in the finale with silver and bronze in the event. Killey would have finished fifth in the world rankings last year with that time, while Hurley and D'Orsogna would have been among the top 15.

Amy Smith dominated the women's 200 fly with a victorious time of 2:07.42, while Brianna Throssell, 16, placed second in 2:09.21 after clocking a 2:09.08 to lead qualifying. Madeline Groves placed third overall in 2:09.91. Ellen Fullerton raced to victory in the women's 400 IM with a time of 4:34.48, while Tianni Gilmour, 16, touched out Jackie Staples, 4:39.78 to 4:39.90, for silver in the distance medley event.

In relay action, Ashley Delaney, Shane Asbury, Nicolas Groenwald and Travis Mahoney won the men's 400 free relay in 3:16.11, while Tamsin Cook, Kate Bird, Brianna Throssell and Blair Evans took home the women's 800 free relay in 8:05.50.

Madeline Scott was listed first in the women's 50 breast multi-class event with a 38.57, while Jeremy Tidy was listed first in the men's 50 breast multi-class finale.

Sarah Katsoulis led the way in the women's 50 breast with a top time of 30.56 after also clearing 31 seconds in prelims with a 30.85. Lorna Tonka qualified second in 31.21, while Olivia Halicek (31.23) and Sally Foster (31.28) qualified third and fourth.

Ashley Delaney earned the top seed in the men's 100 back with a 51.61, while Hurley had a difficult double qualifying second in 51.72 just minutes after taking second in the 200 free. Ben Treffers completed the top three qualifiers with a 52.41.

Christian Sprenger, fresh off a silver and bronze from the 2012 London Olympics, eased his way to a 59.89 to pace qualifying in the men's 100 breast semis. Jeremy Meyer placed just behind with a 1:00.05 for the second seed, while Nikolas Pregelj took third in 1:00.52.

Grace Loh blasted a time of 57.88 in the women's 100 back semis for the center lane in the finale, clearing the 57.99 Rachel Goh used to win the title last year. Goh, meanwhile, checked in with a 58.90 during semis after leading prelims with a 58.84. Hayley Baker touched third in 59.34.

Kenneth To cleared 52 seconds in the 100 fly semis with a 51.27, just under the winning time of 51.30 by Christopher Wright last year. Grant Irvine qualified second in 52.11, while Joseph Carty, Phil Butcher and Wright all tied for third with matching 52.37s.

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