Paralympic swim world records tumble at Australian championships
Saturday, March 24, 2012
Thirteen world records were broken byat this week's in , which also acts as the national selection trials for the forthcoming and .
Seven of the records were in freestyle events, three in breaststroke, two in butterfly, and one in backstroke. The week also marked a changing of the guard in Australian swimming, with a handful of Olympic champions coming out of retirement, but with the exception of , failing to qualify.
Five swimmers set seven freestyle world records between them.broke the 50m and 100m records, with times of 25.66s and 55.20s respectively. In the 100m he was beaten by Daniel Fox who set a record in the S14 class with a time of 54.38s. The 50m race also saw a second record fall, with setting the new mark of 24.84s in the S14 class. now holds the S9 400m record, with a winning time of 4:14.67. won the women's 100m in a time of 68.03s, an record. took the 50m event in 28.66s, an S14 record.
In the other strokes, three swimmers set six world records between them.dominated the men's breaststroke, winning both the 50m and 100m, and setting records for his S8 class of 36.73s, and 79.06s. Tim Antalfy set S13 records in two disciplines, winning the 50m backstroke in 28.20s, then twice breaking the 100m butterfly record (55.31s in the preliminaries then 54.92s in the final), beating his nearest competitor by over six seconds. capped the record breaking run on the final night of competition, setting the women's S13 50m breaststroke mark at 36.27s.
For national championships, disabled events are combined into "multi class" races which include competitors with a range of disabilities. They compete according to a point scoring system, with their performance measured against the world record for their classification. Thus not only have these swimmers qualified for London and written their names into the record books, they have also raised the bar for themselves in future competitions.
In the able-bodied championships, all eyes were on the ex-champions attempting to return to the top level from retirement., , and all missed qualification. Responding to their disappointments: Thorpe intends to continue swimming; Klim announced his retirement; and Huegill will discuss his options with his family. scraped into the 4x100m relay team, placing fifth in the women's 100m final.
A new generation will take national titles with them to their first Olympic competition.will be a serious contender in two individual and two relay events, after winning both the 50m and 100m freestyle. David McKeon won the 400m and 800m freestyle. took the 200m freestyle and 400m , and took the 200m medley. secured the 200m backstroke title. Chris Wright won the 50m and 100m butterfly. , winner of the 200m butterfly, now has a chance at Olympic redemption. He was originally selected for Beijing, but was kicked off the team for assaulting a fellow team-member.
Three women have also booked their Olympic debut wearing the mantle of national champion. Alice Tait won the 50m butterfly title. former world record holder and world champion in the event, to fourth. edged out Jones to take the 100m breaststroke title.won the women's 200m breaststroke, relegating , a
Many of Australia's top performers from thehave secured a place on the team heading to London. Among the women, , , , , , , , , , and all booked their trip with wins this week. Although Jones missed out on Olympic selection in the 200m, second place in the 100m was enough to secure a berth to her fourth Olympic Games.
In the men's events, Olympic silver medallists, , , , and will all get another shot at gold. missed out on the finals of the 200m freestyle in Beijing, but will contest the event again in London.
Two national title winners did not qualify for the Olympics. Jarrod Poort won the men's 1500m freestyle, but finished outside the Olympic qualifying time. Benjamin Treffers won the mens 50m backstroke, which is not on the Olympic program.
After the meet, Swimming Australia named the Olympic team. Along with those mentioned above, the men on the team are, , Jayden Hadler, Matson Lawson, Cameron McEvoy, Ned McKendry, , and James Roberts. Completing the team for the women are Olympic newcomers Jessica Ashwood, Bronte Campbell (Cate's sister), Brittany Elmslie, , Samantha Hamill, , and Jade Neilsen, and veterans , and .
The Paralympic team has not yet been announced. Alongside the record-setters, favourites for Games selection include disability class winners, , Grant Patterson, Taylor Corry, Esther Overton, Maddison Elliott, Katherine Downie, , , Amanda Fowler, and . Ahmed Kelly, abandoned as a baby with severe deformities in an Iraqi orphanage, and rescued by an Australian charity, qualified in the 50m breaststroke.
The eight day meet was held during the period March 15-22 at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre, in. It was run by , with as the principal sponsor.
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