By John Lohn
MELBOURNE, Australia, March 27. LOOKING for his second title of the World Champs, Brendan Hansen landed the top qualifying position in the 50 breaststroke, thanks to a personal-best swim of 27.51. Hansen won the 100 breaststroke last night and appears to be building with each race.
Seeded third heading into the semifinals, Hansen shot off the blocks and allowed his pure speed to guide him to the wall. Two years ago, Hansen bypassed the 50 breast in Montreal and focused solely on the 100 and 200 distances. This time, he's looking for a sweep.
If Hansen is to win the 50, he'll have to fend off the European tandem of Oleg Lisogor (Ukraine) and Alessandro Terrin (Italy). The world-record holder, Lisogor touched in 27.53 while Terrin was timed in 27.55. The fourth position was taken by Japan's Kosuke Kitajima in 27.89.
"That race showed that I'm getting better," Hansen said. "I'm loving it and having a blast with everything right now. The 100 was definitely a confidence booster and I'm riding that wave into the rest of the meet. It's just grip and rip it."
Other finalists include the Ukraine's Valeriy Dymo (27.97), Australia's Brenton Rickard (27.98), South Africa's Cameron van der Burgh (27.99) and Israel's Michael Malul (28.08).