Five from five for relay clean sweep
17 December 2012
The Australian Team have wrapped up proceedings at the 11th FINA World Short Course Championships in Istanbul with a podium finish in every relay event entered for both men and women.
With six from six in 2008, this was the only other time in swimming history that an Australian senior team has won medals in every relay event entered, sealed on the final night when the men’s 4x100m medley team took bronze behind the USA (3:21.03) and Russia (3:22.86).
Over the course of the meet the women’s team took two silvers, in the 4x100m freestyle relay and the 4x200m medley relay while the men came away with a silver medal in the 4x200m freestyle, and a bronze in both the 4x100m freestyle and the 4x100m medley relays.
Coach Leigh Nugent said the success of the relay teams is a reflection on the positive character and culture within the larger Australia Team here.
“I think our relays were a feature of this team and they play a role in not only getting small groups together but, I believe they play a role in pulling our whole team together,” Nugent said.
The bronze medal winning medley relay team had Australian record holder Robert Hurley leading off in the backstroke, silver medallist Kenneth To swimming an unfamiliar breaststroke, new-comer Grant Irvine in only his second senior international final in the butterfly, and London Olympian Tommaso D’Orsogna to bring the team home.
Prior to the relay swim, To was just a touch away from de-throning the short course king Ryan Lochte (51.21) in the final of the men’s 100m individual medley, securing the silver medal in a new Australian record time of 51.38.
D’Orsogna and Irvine also did a double, with D’Orsogna starting the session with a silver medal winning swim in the 100m freestyle and spoiling a Russian one-two in a time of 46.89.
Russian speedster Vladimir Morozov (45.65)cruised to victory with D’Orsogna and Morozov’s teammate Evgeny Lagunov fighting for second spot.
The 21-year-old finished the meet with four medals and said it was his concentration on race execution over results that gave him the win.
“I went into the final aiming to swim my best race, I knew there were a few changes I had to make from earlier in the week so I put my head down for the last ten metres and really concentrated on my touch, and that was where I and came away with the silver, right at the wall,” D’Orsogna said.
Prior to his relay swim, Irvine raced in the gruelling 200m butterfly, finishing in a time of 1:54.11 for seventh.
Australia’s backstrokers weren’t as lucky on the final night with all four finishing outside the top three.
Beijing Olympian Ashley Delaney (1:51.51) and training partner Travis Mahoney (1:52.09), touched in sixth and seventh in the men’s 200m backstroke, while Rachel Goh (26.91) and Grace Loh (27.45) finished in sixth and eighth respectively.
Seventeen-year-old Queenslander Jordan Harrison (14:43.62) and his training partner Matt Levings (14:40.05) both came away with a top eight finish at their first senior international meet.
Harrison was ranked eighth after the final while Levings moved into fifth place from his morning swim.
Angie Bainbridge topped off her week with another narrow miss, finishing fourth in the women’s 200m freestyle final in a time of 1:54.66.
The AIS based swimmer made finals for all of her events including the women’s 4x100m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay teams as well as the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle events.
Short course specialist Marieke Guehrer stopped the clock at 24.36 to take fifth in the final of the women’s 50m freestyle.
At the end of the five day meet Australia finished on nine medals, one gold, five silver and three bronze.