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Jones has chance to make statement

30 May 2012

Leisel Jones has the opportunity to show her Olympic title defence is on track at the Santa Clara international swim meet in California this week.

The gold medallist in the 100m breaststoke at the Beijing Olympics is set to clash with world record holder Jessica Hardy at the four-day competition, starting Thursday.

Jones has a fastest time this year of one minute and 7.64 seconds from the Olympic trials in Adelaide which places her 16th in the world rankings.

The 26-year-old's build-up to the trials in March was disrupted by illness and she will be keen to post a fast time less than two months out from the London Games.

The triple Olympic champion will miss out on the chance to take on American Rebecca Soni who edged out the Australian in the two lap event at last year's world championships. Soni, who trains with Hardy at the University of California, is not listed to compete at Santa Clara.

Jones will become the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics in London and has the chance to become the nation's biggest Olympic medal winner.

She has picked up eight medals - one less than Ian Thorpe's record tally of nine podium finishes at the quadrennial sporting spectacular.

Since bursting onto the scene in the lead-up to the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Jones has enjoyed a stranglehold on a spot in Australia's 4x100m medley relay.

However she faces a legitimate threat to her relay spot from youngster Leiston Pickett, who defeated Jones at the trials in Adelaide.

Triple Olympic champions Stephanie Rice and Libby Trickett will also be in action.

The Australian team showed some good form by picking up a total of 24 individual medals across the three days of competition at a meet in Vancouver last weekend.

AAP

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