Jones Is Hot on Day Two of Queensland Champs, US Juniors Take Two Silvers

By Phillip Whitten

BRISBANE, Qld., Australia, January 5. AUSTRALIAN world record-holder, Leisel Jones, continued to sizzle on Day Two of the Queensland Open and Age Championship at Chandler Aquatic Centre near Brisbane, a meet that has attracted competitors from more than a dozen countries.

Jones, 18, who set a long course world record in the 100m breaststroke (1:06.37) last July, and short course world marks in both the 100 and 200 meters last month, out-duelled Tarnee White, 31.15 to 31.53 to take the 50 meter breaststroke. It was Jones' second spectacular victory here; yesterday she took the 100 meters in 1:07.42.

Both women shattered the Queensland All-Comers mark of 31.88 set by Helen Denman back in 1997. Jones also bettered her own state record of 31.23 set last year, but fell just short of the Aussie record of 31.11 set by Brooke Hanson last year.

Fifteen year-old Whitney Hall, of the US Junior National Team, was fourth in 33.52.

Petria Thomas won her third event in two days, but it wasn't easy. The Olympic silver medalist took the 100m fly in 59.50, edging 17 year-old Jessica Schipper, 59.76. US Junior National Team member Amanda Sims, 14, was fifth in 1:01.67.

The spunky US Junior squad, consisting of swimmers from 14-18, came oh so close to winning its first gold medal when 15 year-old Kate Ziegler came within a fingernail of beating Aussie veteran Linda MacKenzie in the 800 free. It took the electronic timer to separate the two women, but the final outcome went to MacKenzie 8:42.50 to 8:42.52.

Three more Americans scored in the event. Kelsey Ditto, 14, and blake Hayter, 15, tied for fourth place in 8:52.54, while 16 year-old Jennifer Illescas was eighth in 9:02.78.

The US team just missed out on another gold in the men's 50m breast when Aussie vet Rob Vander Zant out-touched 18 year-old American Matt Lowe, 29.26 to 29.46. Lowe was top qualifier in 29.22, a time that would have won the final. Yesterday, Lowe finished a close second behind Regan Harrison in the 100m breast.

The US Juniors picked up a bronze in the 50 breast when Billy Jamerson, 18, touched in 29.58.

Olympian Geoff Huegill breezed to victory in the 100 fly in 53.82 seconds to notch his second gold. Papua New Guinea's Ryan Pini was second in a national record 53.99, while US Junior Mujahid El-Amin, 17, picked up the bronze in 54.60 (54.46p). Another 17 year-old American, Gil Stovall, was fourth in 55.00 (54.73p).

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