Hanson Preparing to Fire Up the Burners

MELBOURNE, Australia, January 3. WHEN the Australian Commonwealth Games Trials begin at the end of this month, some of the fastest swimming is expected to come from the women’s breaststroke events. In recent weeks, Leisel Jones and Jade Edmistone have proven they’re ready to roll. Now, it’s Brooke Hanson’s chance to unveil her standing heading into the Trials.

Hanson is competing this week at the Victorian Championships, being held at the site of the Commonwealth Games. The breaststroke and individual medley standout hasn’t raced much since last summer’s World Championships in Montreal. But, the Olympic medalist is set to change that scenario over the next few days. Today, Hanson was the focus of a story by Nicole Jeffery in The Australian.

Under the weather during the World Champs, Hanson had to have her tonsils removed in September and has also been affected by out-of-the-water events. In October, her longtime coach, Mark Thompson, was charged with sexually assaulting one of his swimmers. After Thompson stepped down as her coach, Hanson began training under Jim Fowlie with the Nunawading Swim Club.

"A new start is exactly what I needed – a fresh new beginning, because I had so much to overcome in 2005," Hanson said in the newspaper story. "Jim has been fantastic. He's been a burst of fresh air. I have been surprised at how much I have learned about myself and swimming in the last four weeks."

A 27-year-old, Hansen walked away from the Athens Olympics with a silver medal in the 100 breaststroke. A few months later, she was the premier female at the World Short Course Championships, thanks to five victories. Aside from sweeping the three breaststroke events, Hanson claimed gold in the 100 and 200 distances of the individual medley.

During the World Championships of 2005, however, Hanson didn’t produce the results she had hoped for, due largely to illness. While she managed a bronze medal in the 50 breast, Hanson took fifth in the 100 breast and sixth in the 200 individual medley.

"On January 30, I am going to be ready to fire," Hanson said in reference to the start of the Commonwealth Trials. "The aim will be to qualify in as many events as possible."

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