By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, Australia, January 19. ELKA Graham (Sydney Univ.) took the female Swimmer of the Meet award for her very sharp 1:58.94 in the 200 free and Jim Piper (Campbelltown) the male title for his 2:12.12 in the 200 breaststroke, as the New South Wales Age & Open Championships came to a close at the Sydney Aquatic Centre.
Graham took the Open 100-200 double but was beaten in the 400 free today by a strong finish from Linda Mackenzie, who overhauled Graham on the last lap to clock 4:16.09 to Graham’s 4:16.67.
Twenty-year-old Mackenzie, who is coached by Pierre La Fontaine at the AIS, showed plenty of determination this week, completing a full load of training together with a host of events. Many of the top swimmers at this meet hardly deviated from a full training load so times recorded at this stage do not give a clear indication of what we might expect in eight weeks at the Olympic trials here at the Sydney Aquatic Centre.
In other open finals today:
Jonathon Newton won the 50 free in 23.11 from breaststroker Brenton Rickard 23.37, after Ashley Callus had departed for Queensland following his Age win over Newton last night in a swift 22.64. Rickard took out the one-lap breaststroke in 28.61.
Sixteen-year-old Melissa Mitchell won the women’s 50 free in 26.06, lowering her own State Age record set yesterday. Another 16-year-old, Victorian Danni Miatke, took second in 26.26.
Japanese 15-year-old Eri Tabei took out the women’s 200 backstroke in a solid 2:13.66 from Dane Louise Ornstedt (2:14.02) and AIS-based Karina Leane (2:15.72).
Victorian Sarah Kasoulis, 19, won the women’s Open 50 breaststroke in 32.47 (32.17 prelims).
The all-rounder of Aussie swimming, Justin Norris, clocked 4:25.33 to take the 400 IM after having taken the four-lap race last night. Breaststroker Jim Piper put in a good effort to take second in 4:26.78.
Victorian Jason Cohen (54.17) again held off Scott Miller (54.43) to win the 100 fly. Cohen went 53.97 in the prelims. Justin Norris was not far away in 54.68. Promising 16-year-old Victorian, Andrew Lauterstein, was fourth in 54.93, after clocking 54.63 yesterday.
Experienced dorsal sprinter Josh Watson took the one-lap dash in 26.56 from his club mate Ethan Rolff (26.75) and Andrew Burns (27.22).