By Stephen J. Thomas
ATHENS, August 18. AUSSIE Jodie Henry took 0.14 of a second off her teammate Libby Lenton's world record (set earlier this year in Sydney) with 53.52 in the second semifinal of the women's 100 meter freestyle in Athens.
Henry went out in her usual 'lazy' style, turning in second place in 26.24, well outside the WR split of 25.81 and behind Inge de Bruijn. But the Brisbane 20-year-old simply powered home in this relatively slow pool to touch the wall in 53.52. Inge de Bruijn finished in 54.06 her best for some time. Natalie Coughlin was next in 54.37 while French hope Malia Metella fourth fastest – all from the second semifinal.
The second semifinal was won by American teen Kara Lynn Joyce in 54.81, Alena Popchanka was next in 54.97 and Greek Nery Niangkouara was a surprise getting through in a national record 55.02. Slovakian Martina Moravcova wjust made the final cut.
In a major surprise the 'former' world record-holder Libby Lenton, swimming in the first semifinal, failed to qualify, finishing a disappointing 9th (55.17).
Henry said right after her race, "Oh my God that was nuts, my parents are here, my relatives, it's so good to do it in front of them. I wasn't sure how I went, I was surprised at the time, it's awesome. Before the race I just walked out there to have fun and not to take the race too seriously." "I'm looking forward to an Olympic final, I'll be a bit nervous now, I have to remember the jobs is not done yet," she said.
Inky de Bruijn said of the record breaking swim, " I was amazed how fast henry swam, I doidn't see her coming. "Surely tomorrow I will have to swim much faster and I think I can do it."