Australian Long Course Championships: Ryan Napoleon, Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt Impressive in 400 Free; Women’s 100 Fly Semi Features Aussie Stars

SYDNEY, Australia, April 1. THE first day of competition at the Australian world championship trials featured some top-flight racing in long course meters swimming.

Ryan Napoleon won the meet's first event, the men's 400 freestyle in 3:45.16, catapulting him from seventh to second in the 2011 world rankings, only behind Yannick Agnel's 3:43.85 from last week's French nationals. Thomas Fraser-Holmes stayed at Napoleon's feet throughout the race, placing second in 3:46.54. That time is third in the world. Taking the bronze medal in the event was Robert Hurley with a 3:49.66.

The women's 400 free saw Kylie Palmer also shoot up the world rankings list with a winning time of 4:04.29. That places her second behind a 4:02 effort by Rebecca Adlington. Palmer just missed the Australian record of 4:04.16 by Bronte Barratt, who paced Palmer stroke for stroke and touched second in 4:04.36. That puts Barratt third in the world in the event.

Semifinal races saw some of the country's notable names jockeying for spots in tomorrow's finals. It took a sub-1:00 swim to make the final of the women's 100 butterfly, with Tessa Wallace placing eight in 59.97. Placing first through seventh for the star-studded final were Alicia Coutts (58.32), Jessicah Schipper (58.62), Yolane Kukla (58.63), Stephanie Rice (58.76), Emily Seebohm (59.34), Alice Mills (59.78) and Amy Smith (59.83). With the exception of Smith and Kukla, all swimmers in the 100 butterfly final have competed in the Olympics or world championships.

Coutts, Wallace and Rice returned later in the session to qualify for the final of the 200 IM. Coutts led the way with a 2:13.35, with Ellen Fullerton qualifying second with a 2:13.66. Wallace and Rice tied for the third qualifying spot with matching times of 2:13.90.

Matt Targett will take lane four in tomorrow's 50 butterfly final with his semi time of 23.34. Geoff Huegill qualified second with a 23.63 and Joseph Carty was third with a 23.76.

Christian Sprenger and Brenton Rickard will highlight tomorrow's final in the men's 100 breaststroke. Sprenger qualified first with a semifinal time of 1:00.67, the third-fastest time in the world this year. Rickard qualified second with a 1:01.96. Nikola Pregelj was third in 1:02.45.

Melbourne took the women's 400 free relay in 3:46.41, with Carlile placing second in 3:48.00. Rounding out the podium was the foursome from Nunawading with a 3:49.49.

The men's 400 free relay was won by the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Club with a 3:21.75, with Sydney University placing second in 3:22.62, paced by a 49.36 leadoff leg by Matthew Abood that ties him with brother Andrew for the 10th-quickest 100 free in the world this year. Finishing third in the relay was Melbourne with a 3:23.23.

In multi-class disability events, K. Clarke was listed first in the women's 100 backstroke with a time of 1:11.02. Ellie Cole (1:10.99) and Porter (1:25.48) rounded out the top three. B. Patterson is listed first in the men's 100 backstroke, with a time of 1:56.42. Matthew Cowdrey is listed second with a 1:03.26 and Pasterfield was third in 1:02.01.