By Stephen J Thomas
SYDNEY, Australia, Apil 1. MOST mortal swimmers would have skipped the 50 fly – a non-Olympic event – today if they had already qualified for their third Olympic team in five events: 100-200 fly, 200 free and the three relays. Particularly when just twelve months ago to the day they had undergone their third shoulder reconstruction – and this is no April Fool’s Day joke.
There’s no question Petria Thomas is made of sterner stuff than most of us. And I believe the unassuming 28-year-old who has been based at the Australian Institute of Sport for more than a decade has the potential to produce Australia’s best single Olympic performance in swimming history. Shane Gould won five individual medals in 1972: 3 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze and no relay medals. Potentially, Thomas could win six medals in Athens. The colour – time will tell.
Back to the 50 fly where Thomas clocked 26.41 tonight to take 0.25 of a second off her Commonwealth and Australian record and set up the probability of her seventh title in this event. Sixteen year-old Victorian Danni Miatke, was next best in 27.05 – second fastest Aussie performer, followed by Felicity Galvez in a PR 27.40 – sixth fastest performer.
Men’s 50 freestyle:
Queenslander Ashley Callus was best in 22.50 from Jono Newton 22.63, Aussie record-holder Brett Hawke 22.65 and Jeff English 22.68. Michael Klim also qualified in 5th place (23.01).
Men’s 100 Butterfly:
Titleholder Geoff Huegill was fastest qualifier for the final in 53.32 from the unrelenting Justin Norris who managed a PR 53.51 not long after winning the 200IM. Adam Pine (53.70) and Jason Cohen (53.77) followed. Former world record-holder Michael Klim qualified for his second final of the night, through in 6th place in a time of 54.31.
Men’s 50 Breaststroke:
Mark Reily (28.23), Nathan Crook (28.43), Jim Piper (28.45) and Aussie record-holder Brenton Rickard (28.50) should fight out the final tomorrow night.
Women’s 200 Backstroke:
South Aussie Melissa Morgan was fastest qualifier with a very solid 2:14.01. Then followed Fran Adcock (2:14.70) and 16-year-old Barcelona rookie Zoe Tonks (2:15.11). Outside chance, 14-year-old Stephanie Williams also made it through in 2:15.72.