Story & Photo by Stephen J. Thomas
CANBERRA, Australia, June 11. WORLD record-holder Leisel Jones produced the outstanding swim of the first day of the Grand Prix meet held at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. After clocking an impressive 1:08.40 in the prelims of the 100 breaststroke, the 19-year-old splashed a very swift 1:07.73 to easily defeat Sydney Olympic finalist Tarnee White (1:08.99) and Brooke Hanson (1:09.20).
Athens 100 fly finalist Jessica Schipper also impressed with a sharp 58.73, beating Libby Lenton (59.35). Both women have the top time in the world this year after clocking 58.18 at the Aussie Nationals in March. Aussie record-holder Giaan Rooney also looked in good form taking the 50 back in 28.97 (prelim: 28.87) ahead of Sophie Edington 29.65 (prelim: 29.58).
Lenton had a win in the 50 free clocking, 25.33 from Jodie Henry (25.84) and Sophie Edington (25.95). Aussie champ Alice Mills did not swim due to a cold.
Linda Mackenzie took the 200 freestyle in 2:00.78 from two-lap world record-holder Jodie Henry (2:00.90) and 16-year-old Bronte Barratt (2:01.33). Mackenzie later backed-up with a solid win in the 800 free (8:45.03) from Melissa Gorman (8:46.30).
Athens finalist Lara Carroll easily took the 200 I.M. in 2:15.28 from Brooke Hanson (2:20.39).
In the men’s events, former world record-holder Michael Klim easily took the 100 freestyle in 50.04. Mark Riley (28.89) beat world champs teammate Brenton Rickard (28.92) in a closely fought 50 breast. Rickard went 28.85 in the prelims. Aussie champ Jim Piper had an all-the-way win in the 200 breast, clocking 2:15.73.
In the absence of Grant Hackett, teen Nick Ffrost won a closely fought 400 free in 3:59.12 from Kiwi Bob Voss (3:59.21) and former Canadian champ Kurtis MacGillivary (3:39.28) and Nicholas Sprenger (3:59.49). Ethan Rolff took the 100 backstroke in 55.91, from an off-color Matt Welsh (56.61).
New Zealand brought a strong contingent across the Tasman and had some success despite a late arrival to the meet. The experienced Dean Kent was an easy winner of the 400 I.M. in 4:24.62, ahead of Aussie Adam Lucas (4:30.55). Moss Burmester (1:59.66) scored a narrow victory over Aussies Andrew Richards (2:00.05) and Josh Krogh (2:03.04) in the 200 fly. Corney Swanepoel won the 50 fly in 24.61 from Aussie champ Brett Hawke (24.87) and former world record-holder Matt Welsh (24.93). On the women’s side 23-year-old Hannah McLean won the 200 backstroke in 2:13.92. The Aussie champ Tay Zimmer missed the race due to a virus.