By Stephen J Thomas
SYDNEY Australia, March 27. IF there were ever any doubt that veteran fly champion Petria Thomas was back to her best, this was definitively resolved tonight. In fact, she was better than her best, taking a huge 0.66 of a second off her previous record, set at the 2000 Olympic trials in this pool, to touch in 57.39.
Thomas split 27.03 (Inge de Bruijn’s WR split was 26.67) in the sixth fastest swim in history and lifted the 28-year-old AIS based swimmer to third fastest all-time performer. Queensland teenager, Libby Lenton became the second fastest Aussie all-time, moving past Susie O’Neill, with a hot 58.60 to win the other semi-final. Another Queenslander, Jessica Shipper, 17, was third fastest into the final with a PR 59.20.
Women’s 50 Backstroke:
Giaan Rooney set a new National and Commonwealth record in the 50 backstroke when she clocked 28.51 to break Dyana Calub’s mark of 28.68 set in 2001. Sophie Edington swam a PR 29.13 to be second fastest qualifier ahead of Queensland teenager Marieke Guehrer PR 29.23 (4th fastest Aussie).
Men’s 100 Breaststroke:
Jim Piper was fastest qualifier for the finals in 1:01.65 – not far off his PR 1:01.59 – ahead of national record-holder Brenton Rickard (1:02.48) and Mark Riley (1:02.49).
Men’s 50 Butterfly:
Not surprisingly, two former world record-holders in this non-Olympic event, Geoff Huegill (23.77) and Matt Welsh (24.32) were among the fastest qualifiers. Sprinter specialist David Carter clocked a PR 24.15 (equal 6th all-time fastest Aussie) to split the two, and outstanding prospect 16-year-old Andrew Lauterstein clocked a PR 24.34 (10th fastest Aussie)to be just off the pace.