Jodie Henry Sprints to Victory at Australian Age Group Champs

By Kurt Hanson

SYDNEY, April 11. CHANDLER'S Jodie Henry produced the "swims of the night" on day three of the Australian Age Championships when she posted the second fastest time ever by an Australian to win gold in the 50 metres freestyle in a time of 25.64 – just 0.02 outside Sarah Ryan's national open record.

Henry, who's time leapt past multiple Olympic and world champion, Susie O'Neill in the Australian all-time list, later split 25.33 to anchor the Chandler medley relay team to a silver medal behind Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton.

Next stop – the 2002 Commonwealth and Pan Pacific Championships with the Australian swim team.

It will give her an ideal opportunity to make an impact on a world stage in the individual and relay events after making her Telstra Dolphins Australian team debut as a relay swimmer at the World Championships and Goodwill Games in Fukuoka last year.

Henry's Chandler club mate, Cassie Hunt finished second in a personal best time of 25.92 – her first time under the 26 second barrier to make her the eighth fastest Australian in history.

Bronze medalist, Lisbeth Lenton, from Queensland's Commercial Club touched in 25.93 to grab her spot in history – the ninth fastest Australian over the 50 metre freestyle distance.

In the girls 15 years 100 metre freestyle, another Chandler flyer and Commonwealth Games representative, Alice Mills, picked up her third individual gold medal of the championships to lead home a Chandler trifecta in the event with Nadine Loof winning silver and Clair Barrett taking the bronze.

Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton made a gold medal charge with Ray McDonald showing his strength to take out the boys 17-18 years 50 metre freestyle in 23.23, before dual Olympic Games silver medalist, breaststroker, Leisel Jones turned her hand to individual medley picking up gold in 2:16.58 the ninth fastest time by an Australian in the history of the event.

Jones will start her National Age breaststroke charge when she contests the 100m breaststroke.

Travis Nederpelt kept Western Australia draped in the gold with the City of Perth swimmer notching up two victories tonight, in both the boys 16 years 200 metre individual medley (2:06.66) before backing up to show his immense diversity in winning the 1500 metre freestyle (15:45.29)

World Short Course team members, Brenton Rickard and Felicity Galvez shrugged off the ill effects of jet lag with both taking victory in their respective events tonight.

Rickard put in a tough swim to take victory from lane eight in the boy's 17-18 years 100 metre breaststroke while Galvez touched out her opposition in the girls 100 metre butterfly.

Despite the effects of her illness, their fellow World Short Course team member, Melanie Houghton staged a neck-and-neck struggle with Commonwealth Games team member Jessica Abbott before finishing second in the 100m butterfly.

Houghton, who only arrived into Sydney today after her re-scheduled stopover in Bangkok, clocked 1:02.30 to Abbott's1:02.06.

2002 Commonwelath Games team member, Sarah Kasoulis out-touched her soon-to-be Manchester teammate, Kelli Waite in the girls 17-18 years 100 metre breaststroke.

Kasoulis clocked a 1:10.73 to take out the Australian Age title with Yeronga Park's, Waite second in 1:11.26. Kate Young rounded out the placegetters in a 1:13.03.

Southern Bay Swimming (Victoria) rising star Andrew Lauterstein picked up his fourth gold medal of the championships in the 14 years 100 metre backstroke (1:00.24), while in the 16 years butterfly, it was again Nicholas Sprenger (56.34) taking his second step on to the number one dias, while last night's Australian Age record holder, Nic Donald took out yet another gold in the boys 13 years and under 400 metre freestyle in 4:09.84, just outside the Australian record.

South Australian, Simone Luker continued her breaststroke dominance with another victory, this time in the girls 15 years 200 metre event. Luker touched the wall in 2:36.81 relegating, Rebecca Jones of Yeronga Park and Jacqui Archer of Southern Bay Swimming to the minor medals.

It was the 14 years and under State relays on show tonight with the Queensland boys of Craig McLennan, Daniel Linde, Ben O'Bryan and Rohan Shay defeating arch rivals New South Wales with Victoria third.

In the women it was New South Wales who were the victors with the team of Elise Kennedy, Sarah Sweeney, Sylwia Pasieczny and Melissa Mitchell turning it around to relegate the Queenslanders to second with a great swim by the Northern Territory to take a well deserved bronze.

Other results on night three of the championships include:

Kirk Palmer (Gosford Stingrays, NSW) boys 15 years 100 metre freestyle (52.52)
Zoe Tonks (Saints, QLD) girls 14 years 100 metre backstroke (1:05.56)
Travis Hore (Clovercrest, SA) 15 years 200 metre breaststroke (2:27.85)
Ryan Johnson (Gosford Stingrays, NSW) 14 years 200 metre freestyle (1:56.50)
Lauren Bartlett (SLC Aquadot, NSW) 13 years and under 200 metre individual medley (2:25.88)
Ian Bihancov (Smithfield, NSW) 13 years and under 200 metre individual medley (2:16.37)
Rachel Mitchell (West Coast, WA) girls 13 years and under 400 metre freestyle (4:27.75)
Verity Hicks (New Zealand) girls 13 years and under 400 metre freestyle (4:27.27)
Boys 18 years and under 200m medley relay – BROTHERS (Ewan McGregor, Brenton Rickard, Douglas Campbell, Michael Driver) 1:46.12 (Australian record, Australian All-comers record)
Girls 18 years and under 200m medley relay – REDCLIFFE LEAGUES LAWNTON (Tanya Henderson, Leisel Jones, Jessicah Schipper, Tanya McDonald) 1:58.65.

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