By Phillip Whitten
PERTH, Australia. Aug. 5. FOR eight long years, China's He Cihong held the world record in the women's short course 200 meters backstroke, suspect though that record was. Tonight, that record was shattered – not once, but twice within the space of 90 minutes – by two different swimmers.
First to break the mark was Australia's AIS-trained Clementine Stoney, who clocked 2:05.83 for her first-ever world record. Stoney's splits:
50 meters 0:30.67 (30.67)
100 meters 1:02.29 (30.62)
150 meters 1:34.09 (30.80)
200 meters 2:05.83 (30.74)
Only an hour-and-a-half later, the "B" final was held. Great Britain's Sarah Price, a 22-year-old from North London, attacked Stoney's mark from the start, splitting 1:00.95 at the halfway mark – 1.34 faster than Stoney – then storming home to touch in 2:04.44 – 1.39 seconds under Stoney's still dripping-wet record. (Price swam in the B final because only Australians are allowed to swim in the championship final.)
An overwhelmed Price said after her world record swim: "I saw what Clementine did and I knew the other British girl (Joanna Fargus) would be up there too, so I just had to get out there.
"I wanted to prove that I could swim a good 200m and I'm not just a sprinter…I think I have done that now."
Price admitted that British head coach, former Australian Olympic head coach, Bill Sweetenham had been a major influence on British swimming since his appointment last year.
"There is such a great team spirit at the moment, we all want each other to win as well as ourselves," Price said.
The British squad will head home on Wednesday for their own National Short Course Championships in Norwich, with Price and Fargus set to go head to head in the women's 100m backstroke on the first day.
In this morning's heats Price had signalled her intentions with a new Commonwealth record of 2:06.41, saying she felt really strong and was excited at the opportunity of swimming tonight.
By the end of the evening, Stoney had to settle for a new Australian record.
There waas a pinata-full of records set this evening:
* Sydney's Jim Piper established a new Commonwealth record of 2:06.92 in the 200m breaststroke;
* Triple world champion Petria Thomas set a new Commonwealth mark of 26.43 in the women's 50m butterfly;
* Melbourne's world 100m backstroke champion Matt Welsh lowered his own Commonwealth record to 23.82 in the semifinals of the men's 50m backstroke;
* South Australia's AIS based Olympian Sarah Ryan bettered her own Australian record in the 100m freestyle to 53.47.
Earlier in the evening it was Stoney who had upstaged two of the biggest names in world swimming, Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett, by unexpectedly breaking the world record.
The 400m freestyle was supposed to be the highlight of the night but as the records began to tumble, it was Stoney who took the spotlight, until Price took her own opportunity.
After the race Stoney admitted that the Aussie women's
team was really starting to thrive.
"When one starts to swim well, it pushes everyone along and the women's team doesn't feel like it's second rate anymore," she said after the race.
"I was hoping to do a PB but I was just trying to win the race. I was really surprised with the time. It felt like it was a little too easy."
The men's 400m freestyle final was the race the capacity crowd had come to see.
The two biggest names in world swimming were going head to head. They didn't disappoint.
Thorpe, the undisputed freestyle king over 200, 400 and 800 meters in a long course pool, and Grant Hackett the world record holder over 400, 800 and 1500 meters in the short course format, went stroke for stroke until the last 25m when Thorpe showed his customary turn of speed to pull away from Hackett. Thorpe split the final 100 meters in an amazing 52.52 seconds, to beat out Hackett, whose own final 100m split was a blistering 53.34.
Thorpe took the gold in 3:36.20, over a second outside Hackett's world record, with Hackett taking the silver in 3:37.12 and Craig Stevens, the bronze in 3:45.63.
The splits for Thorpe and Hackett:
100m 0:52.83 (52.83) 0:52.08 (52.08)
200m 1:47.55 (54.72) 1:47.01 (54.93)
300m 2:43.68 (56.13) 2:43.78 (56.77)
400m 3:36.20 (52.52) 3:37.12 (53.34)
Sarah Ryan, having broken the Australian record in the semifinals last night, took a further 0.39 seconds off to set a new mark of 53.47 and win the 100m freestyle national championship.
She admitted after the race that her sights had been set on the Commonwealth record.
"I would have liked to have gone a little faster and get the Commonwealth record but there is always something there to strive for," she said after the race. Petria Thomas took the silver in 54.50 with Elka Graham collecting the bronze
Not to be outdone, Jim Piper, one of the rising stars in Australian breaststroke was just outside Ed Moses's world record in the 200m, but set a new Commonwealth and Australian record of 2:06.92. He took the gold and was almost four seconds clear of the silver medalist, Simon Cowley (2:10.56) and Regan Harrison (2:11.48).
Newly crowed 100m backstroke world champion Matt Welsh, broke his own Commonwealth and Australian record in the semifinal of the 50m backstroke. His time of 23.82 took 0.05 off the previous record to qualify fastest for tomorrow nights final. He backed up in the next event to qualify second fastest for the 50m butterfly with a time of 23.51 behind Geoff Huegill who was just 0.05 outside the Commonwealth record in 23.26.
In other events, Victoria's Lori Munz and Brooke Hanson staged a stroke-for-stroke battle before Munz won her fourth consecutive national 100m individual medley title in a last stroke lunge from breaststroke speacialist Hanson.
Munz touched the wall in 1:01.40 – just 0.09 outside her own national record, with Hanson taking silver in her second PB in two days in the third fastest time by an Australian – 1:01.52. The bronze went to Megan McMahon in 1:03.92.
In the men's 200m individual medley, Sydney Olympian and East Asian Games star, Brisbane's Rob Van Der Zant hoisted himself back on the gold medal dais with a winning time of 1:58.14, to defeat Olympic teammate Justin Norris (1:58.75), with Shane Fielding taking the bronze in 1:59.69.
The men's 50m freestyle saw a sizzling Auburn grad Brett Hawke defend his crown in 21.85, from World Championship teammate Ashley Callus (22.02) and David Jenkins (22.30) while Manly's Elka Graham held on to defeat Amanda Pascoe (Campbelltown) in the women's 400m freestyle.
Graham clocked 4:06.21 to Pascoe's 4:06.25, with Charlene Benzie taking bronze in 4:09.59. The "B" final of that same race saw another tight race, this one dominated by two Brits. Nicola Jackson emerged victorious in a swift 4:05.49, with Karen Legg second in 4:06.90.
2001 Telstra Australian Short Course Championships Perth, Australia
DAY THREE: August 5, 2001
Women's 100m Freestyle
1 Sarah Ryan SA, AUS 53.47 NR
2 Petria Thomas NSW, AUS 54.50
3 Elka Graham NSW, AUS 54.92
4 Giaan Rooney QLD, AUS 55.00
5 Lori Munz VIC, AUS 55.40
6 Jodie Henry QLD, AUS 55.61
7 Cassie Hunt QLD, AUS 55.69
8 Louise Tomlinson WA, AUS 56.43
Women's 50m Butterfly
1 Petria Thomas NSW, AUS 26.43 NR, CR
2 Nicole Irving QLD, AUS 27.23
3 Melanie Houghton QLD, AUS 27.40
4 Julia Ham QLD, AUS 27.55
5 Kate Corkran QLD, AUS 27.83
6 Felicity Galvez NSW, AUS 28.09
7 Marieke Guehrer QLD, AUS 28.20
8 Jordana Webb VIC, AUS 28.25
Men's 50m Freestyle
1 Brett Hawke NSW, AUS 21.85
2 Ashley Callus QLD, AUS 22.02
3 David Jenkins NSW, AUS 22.30
4 Nathan Rickard NSW, AUS 22.51
5 Stephen Goudie VIC, AUS 22.60
6 Todd Pearson WA, AUS 22.62
7 David Carter NSW, AUS 22.72
8 Andrew Dyson VIC, AUS 22.83
Women's 100m Individual Medley
1 Lori Munz VIC, AUS 1:01.40
2 Brooke Hanson VIC, AUS 1:01.52
3 Megan McMahon SA, AUS 1:03.92
4 Jennifer Reilly WA, AUS 1:04.22
5 Shayne Reese VIC, AUS 1:04.53
6 Leisel Jones QLD, AUS 1:04.92
7 Georgie Bartlett VIC, AUS 1:05.39
8 Frances Adcock SA, AUS 1:05.63
Women"s 200m Backstroke
1 Clementine Stoney NSW, AUS 2:05.83 WR, NR, CR
2 Kelly Tucker NSW, AUS 2:09.62
3 Melissa Morgan SA, AUS 2:10.48
4 Karina Leane SA, AUS 2:10.69
5 Kasey Giteau NSW, AUS 2:11.96
6 Tayliah Zimmer VIC, AUS 2:12.15
7 Yvette Rodier NSW, AUS 2:12.52
8 Frances Adcock SA, AUS 2:13.21
Women's 200m Backstroke – "B" Final
1 Sarah Price GBR 2:04.44 WR
2 Joanna Fargus GBR 2:07.75
3 Tamara Leane SA, AUS 2:13.85
4 Kelly Stubbins VIC, AUS 2:15.34
5 Sarah-Louise Paton NSW, AUS 2:15.92
6 Amanda Treleaven SA, AUS 2:16.27
7 Jessica Davis NSW, AUS 2:17.12
8 Jane Keith WA, AUS 2:18.05
Men's 400m Freestyle
1 Ian Thorpe NSW, AUS 3:36.20
2 Grant Hackett QLD, AUS 3:37.12
3 Craig Stevens NSW, AUS 3:45.63
4 Josh Krogh QLD, AUS 3:47.87
5 Stephen Penfold QLD, AUS 3:48.00
6 Jason Cram NSW, AUS 3:52.86
7 Scott Sabotic NSW, AUS 3:55.28
8 Travis Nederpelt WA, AUS 3:55.79
Men's 200m Individual Medley
1 Robert Van der Zant QLD, AUS 1:58.14
2 Justin Norris NSW, AUS 1:58.75
3 Shane Fielding QLD, AUS 1:59.69
4 Ashley Anderson QLD, AUS 2:01.94
5 Mitchell Bacon SA, AUS 2:02.05
6 Louis Paul NSW, AUS 2:02.07
7 Liam Short SA, AUS 2:03.11
8 Adam Lucas WA, AUS 2:03.21
Women's 400m Freestyle
1 Elka Graham NSW, AUS 4:06.21
2 Amanda Pascoe NSW, AUS 4:06.25
3 Charlene Benzie NSW, AUS 4:09.59
4 Cassandra Steer WA, AUS 4:11.69
5 Heidi Crawford NSW, AUS 4:11.80
6 Kate Krywulycz NSW, AUS 4:12.58
7 Briody Murphy QLD, AUS 4:14.12
8 Linda Mackenzie QLD, AUS 4:14.32
Men's 200m Breaststroke
1 Jim Piper NSW, AUS 2:06.92
2 Simon Cowley NSW, AUS 2:10.56
3 Regan Harrison QLD, AUS 2:11.48
4 Brenton Rickard AUS 2:11.72
5 Mark Riley QLD, AUS 2:13.71
6 Jared Church WA, AUS 2:13.94
7 Luke Trickett NSW, AUS 2:15.76
8 Steven McBrien NSW, AUS 2:16.45