SYDNEY, Australia, February 10. SEVERAL Australian Olympic swimming legends, as well as a few Asian standouts, raced today at the New South Wales state long course championships at the site of the 2000 Olympic swimming competition, posting many world-ranked times.
Tae-Hwan Park of Korea, the reigning Olympic and world champion in the men's 400 free, won that event today with a 3:45.57. The time is third in the global standings in 2012 so far, behind the Chinese duo of Sun Yang (3:42.89) and Li Yunqi (3:45.49). Placing second in the event was Australia's David McKeon with a 3:48.20, and third place went to Australia's Matthew Stanley with a 3:50.81.
Marieke Guehrer, rebounding after a subpar 2011, won the women's 50 fly in 26.55. Guehrer won this event at the 2009 world championships. A tie for second place was shared by Tao Ling of Singapore and Australia's Yolane Kukla with matching times of 26.73.
Nick D'Arcy's legal battles in 2011 kept him out of international competition in 2011, but in his first race of 2012, the Australian put up a winning 200 fly time of 1:56.90. That time vaulted him to the top of the world rankings, and is the only swimmer to crack 1:57 so far this year. In his last major international meet, D'Arcy raced Michael Phelps head-to-head at the Pan Pacific championships, winning a silver medal. Christopher Wright was a close second to D'Arcy today with a 1:57.34, putting him second in the world. Well back in third was Daniel Tranter with a 2:00.35.
Leiston Pickett won the women's 100 breast in 1:07.36, putting her second in the world behind Rebecca Soni's 1:06.88. Sarah Katsoulis placed second in 1:07.80 for fourth in the world rankings. Miku Kanasashi of Japan was third with a 1:08.24 for sixth in the 2012 global rankings. Reigning Olympic champion Leisel Jones placed seventh in the race with a 1:09.00.
Glenn Snyders of New Zealand got to the wall first in the men's 50 breast with a time of 27.99, beating out Australian Brenton Rickard's 28.20. Third place went to Australia's Luke Westgaard with a 28.81.
Australian Olympic medalist Melanie Schlanger, enjoying a successful return to the sport after about two years away, won the 100 free in 53.74. She continues to lead the world rankings in the event, after first posting a 53.87 two weeks ago at the Victorian state meet. Brittany Elmslie was a distant second with a time of 55.02, and Angie Bainbridge was third in 55.04. Notably, Olympic silver medalist Libby Trickett placed seventh with a 55.54.
Reigning world champion James Magnussen won the 100 free today in 49.05, well off the world-leading time of 48.05 he posted a couple of weeks ago. "I will have to see what coach Best thought of that swim, but it's definitely not fun going that slow", said Magnussen after the race. Second place went to Cameron McEvoy with a 49.44, and Tommaso D'orsogna was third in 49.46. Park was fourth in 49.65 not too long after his swift 400 free race. Notably, Michael Klim, who is one of many Aussies on the comeback trail, was eighth with a 50.29.
Samantha Hamill took down reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Rice in the women's 400 IM with a 4:40.21, the sixth-fastest time in the event so far this year. Rice was second in 4:42.29, racing for the first time since undergoing extensive shoulder surgery late last year. Natalie Wiegersma of New Zealand took third in 4:46.66.
Belinda Hocking, the silver medalist in the 200 backstroke at the world championships, battled compatriot Megan Nay throughout the race, touching first in 2:09.04 to Nay's 2:09.14. The two now stand third and fourth in the world behind Americans Missy Franklin and Elizabeth Pelton. Well back in third place today was New Zealand's Melissa Ingram with a 2:12.66.
Daniel Arnamnart of Australia took down a couple of backstroke heavy-hitters in the men's 50 backstroke, winning with a 25.09 ahead of New Zealand's Gareth Kean (25.28) and Australia's Hayden Stoeckel (25.46).
Australia's Remy Fairweather won the women's 800 freestyle in 8:31.69. Second place went to New Zealand's Lauren Boyle, a former standout at UC-Berkeley in the United States, who swam an 8:32.45. Australia's Jessica Ashwood was third with an 8:36.73.