Hanson Blasts Record 50; Meet Proceeds to Tsunami Relief Fund

By Duncan Scott

MELBOURNE, AUS, January 5. OLYMPIC silver medalist Brooke Hanson has sent an early new year warning to her international breaststroke rivals – she wants the 50m world record this year according to reports by Rebecca Williams in the Aussie newspaper, HERALD SUN.

Also, in a timely and serious gesture, Swimming Victoria announced it will donate all the ticket sales from a finals session of these state championships to the Australian Red Cross Asian tsunami fund.

Hanson had a memorable 2004. After making the Australian team in one of their more competitive events, she won her individual silver in the 100 breaststroke in Athens (and controversial medley relay gold for a prelim swim when many felt she should have been on the final quartet) and followed that with a remarkable six gold performance at the FINA Short Course World Championships in Indianapolis (50-100-200 breaststroke; 100-200 IM; medley relay). While some skipped that event, there were enough top flight athletes, including breaststroke world record holders Jade Edmistone, AUS, (50 M sc) and Amanda Beard, USA, (200 M lc) – the latter also an Olympic medal winner in the 200 IM – to make Hanson’s meet more deserving of praise than predictably resulted in an Olympic year.

Unfortunately the year was also memorable for injuries reported to beset her after return from Indianapolis, bringing some doubts to whether she could continue the progress she has made in the last several years. The athletic margin between international finals, medals and gold is so small that even relatively minor injuries can have devastating impact on the quality of results. Thus, Hanson has to be pleased to bounce back with an impressive start to 2005, breaking her own state record in winning the 50m breaststroke at the Victorian titles Monday at :31.16. The 26-year-old held off second-placed Sarah Katsoulis (32.09sec).

Hanson was only .25 sec off her Australian record and .59 sec off the world mark of rival Zoe Baker, a new New Zealander who had set the mark while representing Great Britain.

Hanson won silver in the 50m breaststroke at the 2003 Barcelona World Championships and has the one-lap world record in her sights at this year’s worlds in July.

"To know that was so close to the Australian record, but to also know that was the fastest anyone has ever swum in Victoria was pretty pleasing," Hanson said. "That's just a great way to start off the year for me."
Hanson reported feeling no ill effects from hip and groin injury that kept her out of the FINA World Cup in Melbourne in late November.

"I don't feel any pain in there at all," she said.

A picture that appears to hold a warning for the Beards, Jones’ and Luo Xuejuans of the world accompanied the Herald Sun article. Hanson is facially photogenic at model levels, but this workout photo from the weight room portrayed effort for strength gains that would make a California governor proud. At age 26 her determination shows no discernable limits. Watch out world!

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