Story and Photo by Stephen J. Thomas
BRISBANE, Australia, December 15. OUR Miss Jones might have won Swimming World Magazine's female World Swimmer of the Year for 2005 earlier this month, but there has been no resting on her laurels for the dual World Champs breaststroke gold medalist.
Last night, in her home city of Brisbane, she took the 100m breaststroke in a very swift 1:06.90. It was the sixth time Jones has gone under 1:07 and the first time in Australia. Only three other swimmers have ever broken the barrier, world record-holder Jessica Hardy, China’s Luo Xuejuan and the retired South African legend Penny Heyns.
Another outstanding performance in the race last night was the effort of the world record-holder over 50 meters, Jade Edmistone. The 23-year-old Australian Institute of Sport-based swimmer clocked a PR 1:07.62 to finish second behind Jones – seventh fastest global performer in 2005 – and edged past Sam Riley to third on the Aussie all-time list.
In just over four weeks, Jones will be up against arguably the toughest global domestic breaststroke competition when she competes at the Aussie Long Course Nationals against the likes of Edmistone, Brooke Hanson and Tarnee White. Up for grabs will be places in the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Games, meets that will be held in March and August, respectively. Her performance was particularly impressive given that Jones had just come out of a two-week training camp that included the highest volume of work in her preparation for the trials according to her coach Stephan Widmer.
Coach Widmer was also very impressed with his other ‘golden girl’, Libby Lenton. Given that both Lenton and Jones had been in hard work and were quite fatigued coming into the meet, he decided they would only have to compete in one event at the meet. Lenton chose to swim the 100 freestyle and produced a sizzling 54.19, not far outside her best for the year of 53.72, clocked at the Dual in the Pool. She defeated Alice Mills (54.62) and world record-holder Jodie Henry (55.32) in a swift race. Only two swimmers other than Mills and Henry have clocked a faster time this year. Henry holds the global standard at 53.52, set in Athens in 2004.