Australian Olympic Trials: Full Slate of Olympians Chosen; Libby Trickett Earns Third Olympic Bid

ADELAIDE, Australia, March 20. WHILE most of the comeback stories have fizzled this year, Libby Trickett punctuated her return successfully by earning a relay spot tonight at the Australian Olympic Trials for her third consecutive Olympic bid.

FINALS
Women's 100 free
Melanie Schlanger (53.85) and Cate Campbell (54.01) each cleared the FINA A cut to earn individual swims at the London Olympics in the sprint freestyle event. Schlanger, who took a break in 2010 and returned to the sport in 2011, fell short of her third-ranked season best of 53.74 from February. Only Ranomi Kromowidjojo (53.30) and Fran Halsall (53.57) have been faster than her this year. Campbell went faster in semis with a fourth-ranked 53.84.

Brittany Elmslie and Yolane Kukla tied for third with matching 54.08s. to secure relay spots in London, and move to sixth in the world rankings.

One of the few comeback stories to conclude successfully this year, triple Olympic gold medalist Libby Trickett snared a relay spot with a fifth-place 54.21. Trickett, 27, also took off 2010 before returning to competition last year earned her third Olympic Games bid.

“I'm just so proud… I'm speechless, it's amazing to see just how far I've come over the last 18 months,” Trickett said. “With fifth place here now, I'm just so excited to be representing my country and with that sort of depth we're putting the world on notice.”

Alicia Coutts, the defending champion in the event, finished sixth in 54.25, while Emma McKeon (54.35) and Emily Seebohm (54.89) placed seventh and eighth.

Men's 200 back
Mitch Larkin cruised to victory in the distance dorsal to punch his ticket to the 2012 Olympic Games with a 1:57.90. That swim improved him to fourth in the world behind Ryosuke Irie (1:54.02), Matt Grevers (1:57.59), and Sebastiano Ranfagni (1:57.85).

Matson Lawson, meanwhile, earned the second spot on the Olympic roster with a 1:58.32 to stand fifth in the world rankings, cutting nearly two seconds from his lifetime best in the process.

“Ever since the 2000 Olympics it's been my dream to represent Australia, I can't believe it! I swum my PB at this meet by nearly two seconds which is amazing,” said Lawson. “This is going to take a while to process, my dreams have come true.”

Joshua Beavers (1:58.58), Ashley Delaney (1:58.87), Hayden Stoeckel (1:59.01), Travis Mahoney (1:59.58), Braiden Camm (2:00.14) and Jared Goldthorpe (2:02.89) also vied for the title in the event.

Men's 200 IM
Daniel Tranter, the 400 IM runner-up, secured the national title in the 200 IM with a second-ranked time of 1:58.19. Only Joseph Roebuck has been faster this year with a 1:58.16 from British Trials. Jayden Hadler took the second spot on the Olympic roster with a 1:58.99 to rank sixth in the world, while 400 IM champion Thomas Fraser-Holmes placed third in 1:59.02 for seventh in the rankings. Kenneth To took fourth in 1:59.57 for ninth in the world this year.

Stephen Parkes (1:59.88), Leith Brodie (2:00.47), Travis Nederpelt (2:02.24) and Justin James (2:02.58) completed the top eight.

Women's 200 breast
Tessa Wallace, 18, emerged triumphant from the distance breaststroke finale with a 2:26.31 to make the Olympic squad. She edged Olympian Sally Foster (2:26.51) for the top spot, after missing eight months of training due to illness. However, both swimmers cleared the FINA A cut of 2:26.89 to earn spots on the roster. The duo now stand sixth and seventh in the world rankings.

Taylor McKeown, 16, wound up third in 2:26.90, while legend Leisel Jones wound up fourth in 2:27.62. Sarah Katsoulis (2:27.83), Rebecca Kemp (2:30.27), Lorna Tonks (2:30.63) and Karlene Pircher (2:31.55) also vied for the title.

SEMIFINALS
Men's 100 fly
Christopher Wright (51.83) and Nick D'Arcy (52.21) led the way into the finale, posting the top-ranked and fourth-ranked performances in the world this year. Matt Targett placed third heading into finals with a 52.31 to grab seventh in the world rankings, while Sam Ashby picked up fourth in 52.53 for 12th in the rankings.

Olympic silver medalist Geoff Huegill, 33, moved into finals as well with a fifth-place 52.57, which ranks him 13th in the world, while Jayden Hadler (52.81), Daniel Lester (52.82) and Grant Irvine (53.12) rounded out the championship heat.

Michael Klim, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who had been on the comeback trail at 34 years old, missed the finale with a 14th-place 53.72.

“You want to be up there in the finals swimming for Olympic selection, so from that point of view it's a little bit disappointing,” Klim said. “But I'm healthy, 34 [years old] and still competitive, so from that point of view it's definitely been worth it.”

Men's 50 free
Defending 100 free world champion James Magnussen continued to impress this week, as he charted a pair of personal bests. First, with a 22.19 in prelims before clocking a 21.87 to lead semis. That swim shot him to second in the world, behind only Cesar Cielo's 21.85 from the South American Championships this weekend.

Olympic silver medalist Eamon Sullivan (21.88) and Matthew Abood (21.92) also cracked 22 seconds for second and third, as well as third and fourth in the world rankings, respectively.

“I saw Eamon get a 21.8 [seconds] before our heat and I thought I don't know if I can match that but I'm still on a high from last night and it's just coming pretty easy at the moment,” Magnussen said,

Cameron McEvoy (22.32), Andrew Abood (22.34), James Roberts (22.39), Cameron Prosser (22.46) and Matt Targett (22.54) also earned spots in the finale.

Women's 200 back
Belinda Hocking, the Australian record holder in the event with a 2:06.06 from last year, posted an easy speed 2:07.79 to lead the way in the semifinals. That effort pushed her to the top of the world rankings, ahead of Elizabeth Simmonds' 2:07.92 from the British University Championships. Olympian Meagen Nay took a distant second in 2:09.30, but still finished below the FINA A cut to position herself for another Olympic bid. Nay finished just off her sixth-ranked season best of 2:09.14 from February.

Mikka Sheridan (2:11.12), Amy Forrester (2:13.33), Ellen Fullerton (2:13.47), Jenni O'Neil (2:13.58), Jackie Staples (2:15.46) and Hayley White (2:15.67) finished third through eighth to make the finale.

Men's 50 breast
Christian Sprenger topped the sprint breast semis with a 27.66 for third in the world rankings. Felipe Silva (27.39) and Hendrik Feldwehr (27.62) hold the top two times. Brenton Rickard (28.24), Max Ireland (28.42), Varoy Westgaard (28.49), James Stacey (28.49), Joshua Palmer (28.50), Nikolas Pregelj (28.71) and Karl Wurzer (28.74) also swam their way into finals.

Women's 50 fly
Jessicah Schipper, already locked in for the Olympics in both the 100 and 200 fly, eased through semis with a 26.59 for 11th in the world. Brianna Throssell, 16, placed second in 26.61 for 12th in the world, while Stephanie Rice qualified third in 26.98 after topping the 200 and 400 IM events. Alice Tait took fourth in 27.11, while youngster Lucia Lassman, 13, qualified fifth in 27.13. Nicole Mee (27.29), Celeste Astorino (27.51) and Emily Nicol (27.53) completed the top eight.

MULTI-CLASS FINALS
Taylor Corry topped the women's 50 back in the S14 division with a 32.64, while Esther Overton clocked a 1:13.06 in the S1 division. Maddison Elliott led the S8 division with a 38.55.

Tim Antalfy clocked a 28.20 to lead the S13 division in the men's 50 back, downing the world record in the event. Sean Russo set the previous standard with a 28.95 earlier this month. Russo finished second tonight in the S13 division with a 29.13. Michael Anderson earned the top S10 division time with a 28.60.

Kayla Clarke won her ninth Australian national title with a 2:33.00 in the women's 200 IM S14 division. Katherine Downie led the S10 division with a 2:34.21, while Beijing Paralympian Jacqueline Freney clocked a 2:57.19 to pace the S7 division.

Paralympic gold medalist Matthew Cowdrey checked in with a 2:14.76 in the men's 200 IM S9 division. Fellow Paralympian Matthew Levy clocked a 2:39.11 for the top S7 division time, while Rick Pendleton turned in a 2:16.00 out of the S10 division.