By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, Australia, March 30. AUSTRALIAN and Commonwealth record-holder Jodie Henry, 20, showed no signs of a virus that was troubling her prior to the start of this meet when she clocked 54.58 in her heat of the 100 free this morning – a time that equalled her silver medal swim at the World Champs in Barcelona last year and was just 0.03 outside her national record set at the '02 Pan Pacs in Yokohama behind American Natalie Coughlin (53.99).
Next to qualify for tonight's semifinals was 19-year-old Libby Lenton. A finalist in this event in Barcelona, she clocked 54.70, just 0.06 of a second outside her PR swum at that meet.
Not to be outdone by her younger rivals, Petria Thomas just keeps getting better! Thomas was third fastest in a sensational 54.92 – just over one full second faster that the 28-year-old has posted previously in her career (55.90). Thomas had already set world class PRs in every event she has contested at this meet – the 400 and 200 freestyle and the 100 and 200 fly. That is a magnificent effort for a swimmer who went under the surgeon's knife for her third shoulder reconstruction on April 1st last year.
Alice Mills was clearly over the disappointment of finishing second in the 200 IM last night when she was next best in a PR 55.03. Veteran Sarah Ryan folllowed in 55.62.
Look for some very fast semifinal times in this event.