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Olympic Swimming Trials: Form Guide

14 March 2012

Ian Thorpe, Australia's most successful Olympian with nine medals returns...
Geoff Huegill sheds 45kg and the effervescent Libby Trickett joins the comeback trail...
Michael Klim jumps back in to try and go with Leisel Jones and Adam Pine to make history as the first Australian swimmers to qualify for four Olympics...
World Champion James Magnussen lines up for his first Olympic campaign...
Beijing golden girl Stephanie Rice battles shoulder injuries to vye for qualification...
Over seven days in Adelaide, the athletes representing Australia in our strongest Olympic sport will be decided.

It's the stuff of a movie, but the script is real. The 2012 Australian Olympic Swimming Trials will be filled with high drama as athletes battle for Olympic qualification. Unlike most other sports, the swimming team is selected based solely on performances at Trials. There are no second chances and athletes will be pushed to their limits. This is the sport where Australia has won the most Olympic medals including 20 medals in Beijing.

Finals begin at 7pm each night in Adelaide (7:30 AEDT) from 15-22 March. Scroll down to see details about broadcasts and qualification, otherwise enjoy our preview of the must-watch finals events below or in the digital gallery here>>>

NIGHT 1 Thursday 15 March

Women’s 400m IM: Rice VS The Chasers

Stephanie Rice says the Beijing Olympics exceeded her expectations when she won three gold medals and three world records, but a small tear in her shoulder has hampered her London 2012 preparations. Expect challenges in Rice's pet event from Blair Evans, Beijing Olympian Samantha Hamill and Ellen Fullerton who missed out on an Olympic spot in 2008 after placing third at Trials. 

NIGHT 2 Friday 16 March

Women’s 100m Butterfly: The darlings of butterfly

Alicia Coutts won five gold medals at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games, listing the 100m butterfly as one of her most treasured events, and Coutts writes that a “program fairy” will keep her in the mix for a potential four individual Olympic spots in London.

With a sensational ten Olympic medals between them, comeback queen Libby Trickett and Jessicah Schipper, will be fighting for their third Olympic berths. 16-year-old Yolane Kukla was inspired by such athletes, and is a genuine contender to knock her idols off.

Men's 100m Breaststroke: The great Aussie duel

The showdown that never dissappoints, world record holder Brenton Rickard versus Christian Sprenger. Little ever separates the two.

Women's 400m Freestyle: An impressive double

Close friends Bronte Barratt and Kylie Palmer go head-to-head with Melissa Gorman who has already qualified for the 2012 Olympic Team for open water swimming. Gorman says qualifying for a spot in the open water and pool events would be a great achievement.

NIGHT 3 Saturday 17 March

Men's 200m Freestyle: Thorpedo launches

Australia's most successful Olympian Ian Thorpe is hoping to dive in for the men's 200m freestyle final, needing a top six finish to be considered for a relay position. His rivals include Thomas Fraser-Holmes, young superstar Cameron McEvoy, Ryan Napoleon and Kenrick Monk.

Women's 100m Breaststroke: Jones eyes history

Australia has watched Leisel Jones grow from a 15-year-old at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games into the reigning Olympic Champion. Jones feels honoured to attempt to become the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics- which Michael Klim and Adam Pine are also attempting. If Jones can overcome Leiston Pickett and Samantha Marshall among the rising stars, she could also overtake Thorpe as Australia's most successful Olympian. Jones needs only one more medal to match Thorpe's nine Olympic medals.

Women's 100m Backstroke: Seebohm's sub 59

Emily Seebohm eyes a coveted sub 59-second time in her pet event, but Beijing team-mates Belinda Hocking, Meagen Nay and Sophie Edington are also jostling for backstroke positions. Hocking won a silver medal at the 2011 World Championships in the 200m backstroke, while youngsters Grace Loh and Rachel Goh are hunting a first Olympic berth.

NIGHT 4 Sunday 18 March

Women's 200m IM: Clash of the pool queens

Olympic Champion Stephanie Rice's attempt to defend her title has been thrown a curve ball with the rise and rise of Alicia Coutts and Emily Seebohm. Coutts says this event is closest to her heart, as it is for Rice.

Women's 200m Freestyle: Aussies on the rise

The strength of Australia's female 200m freestyle ranks shone when the 4x200m freestyle team defeated the USA for the first time in Olympic history in 2008. Front runners for the individual spots Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt were 0.01 seconds apart in what developed as arguably the race of last year's Australian Championships. Palmer was then edged out by the world record holder at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai to take silver.

NIGHT 5 Monday 19 March

Men's 100m Freestyle: Missile versus

The race that needs no introduction. World Champion James "the missile" Magnussen chases Cesar Cielo's world record while fortified challengers Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett, Matt Abood, James Roberts, Cameron McEvoy and possibly Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim chase him. Top six will be in contention for relay positions. An event not to miss.

NIGHT 6 Tuesday 20 March

Women's 100m Freestyle: Speedsters race off

The race that doubles as Libby Trickett's best hope of qualifying doubles as an attainable ticket to London for world championship for Olympic representatives Coutts, Melanie Schlanger, Cate Campbell, Marieke Guehrer and Merinda Dingjan. In a red-hot field the pace will be quick.

NIGHT 7 Wednesday 21 March

Men's 100m Butterfly: Skippy's chance

Geoff Huegill admits the likes of Sam Ashby, Chris Wright, Jayden Hadler and Andrew Lauterstein make his road to London tough.

Men's 50m Freestyle: Individual glory

The World Champion 4x100m freestyle boys hope to replicate that performance in London but James Magnussen, Matt Targett, Matt Abood and Eamon Sullivan also want to race in an individual event in London. The splash and dash will be a thriller.

NIGHT 8 Thursday 22 March

Women's 50m Freestyle: The final shot

The female freestyle likes of Cate Campbell and her sister Bronte, Olivia Halicek, Emma McKeon, Yolane Kukla and possibly Libby Trickett will have a final chance to qualify for the Team. Campbell won bronze in the event at the 2008 Games, Kukla is the reigning Commonwealth Champion and Trickett is a former world record holder.

Fast facts:

-    Dates: Thursday 15-22 March
-    Venue: South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Adelaide
-    Telecast: All finals sessions will be broadcast by Network Ten. For the full guide click here: http://tv-guide.ten.com.au/
-    Making the Olympic Team: The top two in each event qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games if they meet qualifying standards. The top six in 100m and 200m freestyle events are considered for relay selection.
-    Olympic Team Announcement: The final Team will be announced at the end of the final night’s competition on Thursday 22 March. Check Olympics.com.au for the latest information.

AOC with AAP

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