By Stephen J Thomas
CANBERRA, Australia, February 27. THE 2000 Olympic 100 fly silver medalist, Michael Klim, will swim his first major race over his signature distance in over two years when he returns to his old training pool at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) this weekend.
The 26-year-old former world record-holder for both 100 free and fly will put both mind and body to the test after spending much of the past two years rehabilitating from serious injuries to his back and shoulder. There will be little time this weekend for Klim to reminisce about the glory days of the late 90’s where here, with training partner Alex Popov, they were the dominant force in world men’s swimming under Russian born coach Gennadi Touretski.
Klim will be given a good test by Canadian Olympic fly finalist Mike Mintenko and Aussie teammate Adam Pine. Unfortunately Geoff Huegill, the Olympic bronze medalist pulled out of the meet earlier in the week.
A strong Canadian team has been in hard work in a training camp on the Queensland coast for most of the month, experiencing a somewhat warmer climate than their homeland for most – with temperatures often in the high 90’s. Of particular interest will be the performance of 16-year-old Brittany Reimer, the Canadian record-holder over the 400-800-1500 freestyle. Reimer will compete in the 200-400 free with most of the best Aussie swimmers entered in those events. The likes of Petria Thomas, Elka Graham, Giaan Rooney, Kasey Giteau, Linda Mackenzie and rising star Melissa Mitchell.
Canadian Comebacker Joanna Malar will compete along with another IM’er Brian Johns and breaststrokers Morgan Knabe and Mike Brown.
Other leading Aussies competing include Olympic 200 fly bronze medalist Justin Norris, breaststrokers Jim Piper and Regan Harrison and backstrokers Matt Welsh and Ray Hass.
Italian “permanent resident” Massi Rosolino will also make the trip up from Melbourne and freestylers sprinters Todd Pearson and Brett Hawke will also be racing at the meet.
In addition, Great Britain Head Coach Bill Sweetenham is visiting home with a small squad headed by dorsal world champ Katy Sexton.
All up this will be a very interesting meet, particularly as this is the last competition for most Aussie swimmers before facing Olympic selection trials in just four weeks.