SYDNEY, Australia, March 16. DURING the penultimate night of the New South Wales Open, the Japanese contingent put up some special times. Meanwhile, Australian Olympian Alicia Coutts pushed to her fourth title of the meet.
Thomas Fraser-Holmes had a come-from-behind victory in the men's 200-meter free with a 1:47.64 to 1:47.74 triumph ahead of Cameron McEvoy. McEvoy had led at the 150 mark with a 1:19.89, but Fraser-Holmes turned up the heat down the stretch with a 27.45 final split. Japan's Takeshi Matsuda placed third in 1:48.64.
Japan's Aya Terakawa managed a sub-1:00 effort in the women's 100-meter back for the win, as she prevailed in 59.16. Emily Seebohm had a battle for second, touching out Belinda Hocking, 1:00.64 to 1:00.69. Alicia Coutts wound up taking fourth in 1:01.03.
Bronte Barratt and Kylie Palmer dueled again, this time in the women's 400-meter free. Barratt won by the slimmest of margins, 4:08.51 to 4:08.52, in what proved to be an exciting back-and-forth contest throughout the middle-distance event. Katie Goldman took third in 4:09.61.
Sam McConnell took home the men's 50-meter fly crown in 24.22, while Andrew Smith (24.26) and Ben Treffers (24.29) finished a close second and third.
Prior to taking fourth in the 100 back later in the night, Coutts topped the women's 100-meter fly in 58.00, just missing the FINA World Championships qualifying time. Ellen Gandy finished second in 58.30, while Japan's Yuka Kato earned bronze in 59.47.
Japan's backstroke prowess shined through in the men's 200-meter back with a 1-2 finish in the distance dorsal. Ryosuke Irie won the event in 1:54.72, while teammate Kosuke Hagino placed second in 1:55.12. Ashley Delaney also cleared 2:00 to take third in 1:58.81.
Another Japanese strength emerged in the men's 100-meter breaststroke as Akihiro Yamaguchi beat legendary teammate Kosuke Kitajima, 1:01.45 to 1:02.49, as Japan went 1-2 in the event. Yamaguchi burst onto the scene last summer with a world record, while Kitajima recently announced that he would not retire at the 2012 London Olympics. Max Ireland finished third in 1:02.84.
London Olympian Sally Foster posted a New South Wales record in the women's 200-meter breast with a time of 2:27.93. That time clipped the previous mark of 2:27.99 set by Samantha Marshall in 2009. Jenna Strauch (2:28.14) and Reona Aoki (2:28.94) took second and third in the finale.
Coutts doubled up on the night in her third event of the evening, winning the women's 50-meter free in 25.37. That's her fourth win of the meet. Melissa Mitchell (25.44) and Ellen O'Rourke (25.58) touched second and third in the splash-and-dash finale.
en's 200m Individual Medley:
Hagino, having already taken second behind Irie in the 200-meter back, crushed the field in the men's 200-meter IM with a 1:57.68. The time is a New South Wales All-Comers record, beating the 1:58.98 set by Massi Rosolino in 2000. Daniel Tranter (1:59.18) and Kenneth To (1:59.52) battled for second in the event.
In multi-class events, Sean Russo (1:02.14) and Michael Auprince (1:08.65) went 1-2 in the men's 100-meter back, while reigning Swimming World Disabled Swimmer of the Year Jacqui Freney won the 100-meter back (1:24.83).