SYDNEY, Australia, February 9. As the Australians prepare for the World Championships on their home turf, one of the most interesting storylines will be the performances of the Aussie male contingent. If nothing else, there is hope in the sprint-freestyle events due to the presence of Eamon Sullivan, a rising star, and veteran Ashley Callus.
Sullivan heads into the World Champs as the Aussie record-holder in the 50 freestyle (22.00) and with a 48.97 mark to his credit in the 100 free. As for Callus, a 27-year-old, he followed Sullivan at the World Champs Trials with respective showings of 22.25 and 49.30. Callus did produce a 22.19 for the 50 free at the Queensland Championships.
Callus was a member of Australia's gold-medal winning 400 freestyle relay at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. He has been training under the watch of Glenn Baker and alongside Andrew Lauterstein. Callus firmly believes that his finest swims are still ahead and is confident that he can help the Aussie men regain some of their lost magic.
"The results at the trials have really kicked me along and I'm excited about swimming again," Callus said. "Hopefully I'll crack a top eight in the 50 and the 100 in Melbourne. This would really springboard me to Beijing. And I definitely think we are a medal chance in the relay. Eamon is swimming really fast and the competition for the relay spots is so intense. There are eight guys vying for two relay spots for Melbourne. I think we will surprise some people (in Melbourne) and I think our sprinting stocks are in good shape for Beijing. The average age of most of these guys is around 20."