BRISBANE, Australia, December 4. MATT Welsh continued his amazing decade-long career by moving into sole possession of first place on the Australian National title list with his 50th crown when he claimed the 50 fly on Sunday. That total broke his tie with Aussie great Susie O'Neill at 49 all. Plenty of other fast racing highlighted the Telstra Australia Long Course Championships at the Chandler Aquatic Center.
Men's 100 Breaststroke Finals
Brenton Rickard qualified for his third World Championship team by claiming the 100 breast title in 1:00.77. Meanwhile, Jim Piper finished second in 1:02.72, while Christian Sprenger took bronze in 1:03.27.
Women's 100 Butterfly Finals
In a tactical come-from-behind steal, Jessicah Schipper overtook Libby Lenton in the final few meters of action to defend her title in the event. Schipper touched in 57.48, while Lenton came in just behind in 57.62. Felicity Galvez placed third in 59.00.
"There's always a great fight between the two of us and it's always exciting to get out there and just be standing next to Libby and having the nerves pumping – it's just great," Schipper said. "It's definitely a great start (to the week) and it's looking good. That's a fast time for me and I'm very happy with it and I can't really wait for the 200."
Men's 50 Butterfly Finals
Matt Welsh set an Australian record with his 50th career national title by winning the 50 fly in 24.15. That effort broke a tie with Susie O'Neill at 49 a piece to stand alone at the top. To get there, Welsh had to beat out his training partner Matthew Targett. Welsh hit the wall in 24.15, while Targett placed second in 24.24. Adam Pine rounded out the top three in 24.47.
"I was just reminded that it was the first win for me in that event which was kind of an odd feeling as well but it's good that my first Championship was here and it was a 50 (backstroke) and my 50th is here too," Welsh said. "It was good to get it on the first go too. I had three chances to get it, so to get it on the first takes the pressure off."
Women's 200 IM Finals
On the other end of the spectrum, Stephanie Rice cruised in to win her first national title with a 2:13.09 clocking in the 200 IM. She beat out second-place finisher Shayne Reese's 2:14.87. Meanwhile, Alicia Coutts garnered bronze in 2:15.32.
Men's 100 Backstroke Semi-Finals
Ashley Delaney set a personal-best time to earn the top spot in finals with a 55.16. Hayden Stoeckel (55.37) and Daniel Arnamnart (55.93) will join Delaney in the top three as they posted the second and third-fastest times, respectively.
Women's 100 Breaststroke Semi-Finals
Leisel Jones clocked the third-fastest time in history with a 1:05.79 to post the fastest time out of semis. Tarnee White (1:07.95) and Sally Foster (1:08.70) were the next best swimmers and will have the best seats in the house as Jones looks to pull off a world record in finals.
Women's 100 Backstroke Semi-Finals
Tay Zimmer looks to be in position to defend her title after stopping the clock in 1:01.01, while 14-year-old Emily Seebohm finished second in 1:01.63. Meagen Nay completed the top three with a third-place 1:02.51.
Seebohm's time broke the Australia Age Group record, and made her the fifth-fastest Australian all-time in the event.
Men's 200 Freestyle Semi-Finals
Andrew Mewing notched a personal-best 1:48.29 to earn the top qualifying berth in finals, while Nick Ffrost turned in the second-quickest time of semis in 1:49.28. Grant Hackett came in third in 1:49.39 as they all vie for Ian Thorpe's national title in the event.