SYDNEY, Australia, March 26. ALTHOUGH Eamon Sullivan came up just short of grabbing the 100 free world record from France's Alain Bernard, the overall swimming at the Australian Trials proved to be incredible.
Men's 200 breast finals
Brenton Rickard joined the 2:09 club in the men's longer distance breaststroke event as he became the seventh person under 2:10 in the event with a 2:09.51. That time moved him into third all-time with only world-record holder Brendan Hansen (2:08.50) and Kosuka Kitajima (2:09.42) ahead of him. The other members of the 2:09 club are comprised of Dmitri Komornikov (2:09.52), Grigory Falko (2:09.64), Alexander Dale Oen (2:09.74) and Hugues Duboscq (2:09.85).
Rickard took the title-winning and Commonwealth-record swim out in 1:01.92, while coming back in 1:07.59.
"Obviously I'm happy but I'm still not done by a long way," Rickard told Swimming Australia.
Christian Sprenger placed second in the event with a lifetime-best effort of 2:11.02, while Craig Tucker (2:12.86) and Jim Piper (2:13.80) rounded out the top five.
Women's 100 free semis
Youngster Cate Campbell continues to impress Down Under as she topped semifinal qualifying with a personal-best time of 54.37 to jump into the top 20 all time. Libby Trickett (formerly Lenton) qualified second in 54.43, while Melanie Schlanger (54.76) and Alice Mills (54.79) were among the top four.
Men's 200 back semis
Hayden Stoeckel, who already will compete at the 2008 Beijing Games thanks to his second-place 100 back effort, raced to lane four in the 200 back with a personal-best time of 1:58.51. Ashley Delaney took second in 1:59.93, while Ephraim Hannant (2:01.22) and Robert Hurley (2:01.29) will join them in the center lanes.
Women's 200 fly finals
World-record holder Jessicah Schipper proved just how much she left in the tank when she qualified third from semis as she thumped the field with a title-winning time of 2:06.82. While not in the realm of her remarkable 2:05.40 global standard, she was under world-record pace by more than a second at the halfway point.
"That was part of the plan, just to go out as fast as I could and to stick with my old race plan because I knew that Sammy and Felicity would be firing it up to come home to make the team," Schipper told Swimming Australia.
Samantha Hamill touched out Felicity Galvez, 2:07.61 to 2:07.67, for the second spot at the 2008 Beijing Games.
"That was about a second PB – I didn't expect to go that fast… I'm stoked," Hamill told Swimming Australia.
Men's 100 free finals
These rare times have to be a treat for swimming fans. With a 47.55 during semis along with the incredible amount of world records falling throughout the past two months, it was almost expected that Eamon Sullivan claim the 100 free world record from France's Alain Bernard (47.50).
Sullivan, however, could not overcome the time set by Bernard and settled for a 47.52 to lock in his stature as the second-fastest swimmer in the world. Sullivan took the race out in 22.59, while coming back in 24.93.
"Overall I'm just happy to get on the team…excited with the time and hopefully I can use that as my new benchmark and try to lower it down from there," Sullivan told Swimming Australia. "(Missing the world record) might make it a bit easier going in, I mean you never know between now and then it might get broken, it's an Olympic year with people swimming so fast you never know what's going to happen. Everyone's just swimming fast and really taking a step up, and taking it to the new levels and really finding new ways of sprinting."
Matt Targett's redshirt year for Auburn paid off as Targett punched his ticket to Beijing with a second-place time of 48.36 to move into 12th all time in the event.
"My goal was to beat Ian Thorpe's 100m time and I did that," Targett told Swimming Australia that Thorpe's 48.56 was his target going into the meet. "Hopefully, I'll get close to 48 or under it but the main goal is to help the relay."
Other relay spots were won by Andrew Lauterstein (48.57), Ashley Callus (48.68) and Patrick Murphy (49.27).
Women's 200 breast semis
World-record holder Leisel Jones cruised in semis with a top time of 2:25.00, well ahead of Samantha Marshall's second-place effort of 2:28.59. Other top qualifying times came from Sarah Katsoulis (2:29.51) and Jade Edmistone (2:30.58).
Men's 200 IM semis
Leith Brodie scored the top seed heading into finals with a solid 2:01.10, three seconds ahead of Adam Lucas, who placed second in 2:04.10.
Travis Nederpelt (2:04.13) and Sam Ashby (2:04.49) will also be battling for an Olympic spot as they bracket Brodie and Lucas in finals.
Women's 800 free relay finals
The team of Samantha Hoschke-Edwards, Bronte Barratt, Morgan-Lee Barnes and Kylie Palmer snatched the title in 8:07.01.