By Ian Hanson
CAIRNS, Australia, May 26. AUSTRALIA'S world champion butterflyer Petria Thomas has started her preparation for eight events at this year's Commonwealth Games with four wins from four swims at the opening Telstra Grand Prix Meet in Cairns.
Thomas, 27, will attempt to become the first female to win three consecutive gold medals in one event when she tackles the 100 meter butterfly – one of five individual events she will contest in Manchester.
The girl from Mullumbimby on the NSW north coast began her Commonwealth Games career in Victoria, Canada in 1994 with gold not only in the 100m butterfly but also the 4x100m medley relay.
She repeated the gold medal effort in Kuala Lumpur in 1998 when she defeated Susie O'Neill in the 100m butterfly and joined Madame Butterfly – in the 4x100m medley gold medal effort.
In Manchester, Thomas will contest the 50, 100 and 200m butterfly and the 100 and 200m freestyle as well as the three relays the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle and the 4x100m medley.
Thomas remains undaunted about the eight events, after dropping the 50m backstroke from her repetoire, saying: "After consulting with Mark Regan (my coach) and Peter Blanch (my physiotherapist) we decided to drop the backstroke.
"But the work load of eight events doesn't really daunt me – I've swum a lot of events over the past 12 months and I've actually handled it OK. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Times generally were unremarkable in Cairns, though today's events did produce some good swims. Thomas won two events swum only 20 minutes apart: the 200m fly in 2:12.82 and the 200 free in 2:03.01.
Brooke Hanson upset Leisel Jones to win the 50m breast in 32.17. Yesterday Jones won both the 100 and 200m breast.
Fifteen year-old Alice Mills won the 200 IM in a fine 2;17.75.
On the men's side, Justin Norris won his third and fourth events, taking the 200 breast (2:20.29) and 400 IM (4:28.85) with only a few minutes between them.
Ashley Callus, surprise winner of the 100 meter free at the Short Course World Championships in Moscow, won the 50 here in 22.78, while Geoff Huegill took the 100 fly in 54.18.
TELSTRA GRAND PRIX ONE
Trinity Anglican School
Australia Green v Australian Gold:
50m freestyle multi disability: Ben Austin (Green) 28.63 (hand-time) 1, Alex Harris (Gold) 2, Shane Walsh (Gold) 3.
100m butterfly: Geoff Huegill (Green) 54.18 1, Adam Pine (Gold) 2, Shane Fielding (Green) 3.
200m breaststroke: Justin Norris (Gold) 2:20.29 1, Jim Piper (Gold) 2, Regan Harrison (Green) 3.
50m freestyle: Ashley Callus (Gold) 22.78 1, Brett Hawke (Green) 2, Adam Pine (Gold) 3.
400 IM: Justin Norris (Gold) 4:28.85 1, Grant McGregor (Gold) 2, Trent Steed (Gold) 3.
100m backstroke: Matthew Welsh (Gold) 56.92 1, Ray Hass (Green) 2, Ethan Rolff (Gold) 3.
800m freestyle: Grant Hackett (Green) 8:11.35 1, Craig Stevens (Gold) 2, Andrew Affleck (Green) 3.
50m freestyle multi disability: Dianna Ley (Gold) 33.00 1, Chantel Wolfenden (Green) 2, Kate Bailey (Green) 3.
200m butterfly: Petria Thomas (Green) 2:12.82 1, Heidi Crawford (Gold) 2, Felicity Galvez (Gold) 3.
50m breaststroke: Brooke Hanson (Gold) 32.17 1, Leisel Jones (Green) 2, Tarnee White (Gold) 3.
200m freestyle: Petria Thomas (Green) 2:03.01 1, Clementine Stoney (Gold) 2, Heidi Crawford (Gold) 3.
200 IM: Alice Mills (Gold) 2:17.75 1, Leisel Jones (Green) 2, Jennifer Reilly (Green) 3.
50m backstroke: Dyana Calub (Green) 30.04 1, Fran Adcock (Green) 2, Melissa Morgan (Gold) 3.
100m freestyle Multi Disability: Dianna Ley (Gold) 1:10.32 1, Chantel Wolfenden (Green) 2, Kate Bailey (Green) 3.
Mixed 4x50m freestyle relay: Gold A 1:38.04 1, Gold B 2, Green A 3.
Australia Gold 315.5
Australia Green 272.5