Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Australian Championships - Day 1 Finals

Women's 200 LC Meter Freestyle Final

Blair Evans, 18, won a tight 200m Free in a time of 1:57.38 after a great duel with Bronte Barratt (1:57.46) and Kylie Palmer (1:57.69). Evans showed tremendous back end speed coming home with the fastest final 50 of the race in 29.38. This allowed her to overhaul Barratt who had led for most of the race. Evans is now the fastest in the world this year taking over from Federica Pellegrini's 1:58.13 set earlier this month in Berlin.

Stephanie Rice took the 4th relay spot in 1:58.13. Felicity Galvez (5th in 1:58.23) and Megan Nay (6th in 1:58.62) make up the reserve members of a very strong looking Australian 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay.

Great Britain has a team that could challenge the Australians (Rebecca Adlington, Joanne Jackson, Caitlin McClatchey and Jazz Carlin), however at the Commonwealths this team will be split up with Adlington and Jackson swimming for England, McClatchey swimming for Scotland and Carlin swimming for Wales. There is strength in depth in the 200m Free in Britain but I'm not sure one home nation can put together a team of 4 women at or under 1:58. We will have a clearer picture after the British Championships later this month where we will get to see what sort of progress Fran Halsall, Lizzie Simmonds, Rebecca Turner (all England), Hannah Miley and Lucy Ellis (both Scotland) have made in this event.

Men's 50 LC Meter Backstroke Semi-Final

2008 World Youth Champion Ben Treffers, 18, showed that he has made the jump to senior level qualifying equal first for tomorrow's final in a time of 25.18. Hayden Stoeckel joined him on the same time with Ash Delaney qualifying third in 25.37.

Women's 50 LC Meter Butterfly Semi-Final

Marieke Guehrer leads the field into tomorrow's final with her effort of 26.34. Most exciting from the semi-finals though was the second fastest qualifier, Yolane Kukla, who at only 14 is a huge talent for the future. Kukla carved 0.5 seconds off her heats effort with a time of 26.51. Emily Seebohm, Alica Mills, Jessicah Schipper, Felicity Galvez (after just swimming the 200m Free final), Ellese Zalewski and Amy Smith make up a stacked final.

Men's 400 LC Meter Freestyle

Robert Hurley continued his good 2010 form with victory in the 400 Free. Hurley's time of 3:47.67 was 2 seconds faster than his effort at the NSW Champs and brings him closer to the world's fastest time this year, Tae Hwan Park's rapid 3:45.03. Ryan Napoloen and Patrick Murphy took second and third with 3:48.70 and 3:49.43 respectively to move up to third and fourth in the world this year.

Canada's Ryan Cochrane, Wales' David Davies and South Africa's Jean Basson should be in Delhi to challenge Hurley and the Australian's for the Commonwealth title.

Women's 200 LC Meter IM

Stephanie Rice proved that she is back to her best with a superb 2:10.07 in the 200m IM. After Ariana Kukors impressed in the Austin Grand Prix with her world leading time of 2:10.34, all eyes were on Rice to see how she could respond and she didn't disappoint. Rice didn't have it all her own way though with Emily Seebohm, 17, announcing herself as a real threat to both Kukors and Rice in the event. Seebohm has taken her swimming to a new level in 2010 and is consistently beating her techsuit times this year. Take a look at the splits of the three women below:-

Kukors v Rice v Seebohm splits

Kukors 28.80 - 1:01.87 (33.07) - 1:39.56 (37.69) - 2:10.34 (30.78)
Rice 27.85 - 1:01.17 (33.32) - 1:39.45 (38.28) - 2:10.07 (30.62)
Seebohm 27.21 - 59.89 (32.68) - 1:39.17 (39.28) - 2:10.75 (31.58)

Seebohm has the beating of the Rice and Kukors over the first 100m. She is a full 1.28 seconds clear of Rice and 1.98 seconds ahead of Kukors. However, she suffers on the back half of the race. With an improved breast and free she may be able to get the upper hand on the other women.

Rice and Kukors are superb all around swimmers and have no real weaknesses, although it is interesting to see the difference in the Butterfly and Breaststroke. Rice seems to have more early speed whereas Kukors has the stronger Breaststroke.

2010 is shaping up to be a vintage year in the Women's 200m IM with Yanyan Wu's tainted textile best time of 2:09.42 under serious threat.

Men's 200 LC Meter Butterfly

Nick D'Arcy booked his ticket to Delhi with an impressive victory in the 200m Fly. D'Arcy's time of 1:54.61 just missed his Aussie record of 1:54.46 set in 2009 (and a techsuit). The time also puts him fastest in the world this year clearing Yuta Kimura's previous leading time by over 2 seconds. Chris Wright was second in 1:56.23 and talented youngster Jayden Hadler, 16, took an impressive third in 1:57.07. Hadler certainly is one to watch over the next few years.

South Africa's Sebastien , England's Michael Rock and New Zealand's Moss Burmester will challenge D'Arcy for the Commonwealth crown.

Women's 50 LC Meter Breaststroke

Leisel Jones paced the field in the 50 Breast with the fastest qualifying time of 30.99. Jones becomes the first woman in 2010 under 31 seconds. Sarah Katsoulis, Leiston Pickett, Samantha Marshall and Sally Foster all came in under 32 seconds.

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