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Swimming royalty ready to shine

20 March 2012

Comeback queen Libby Trickett will be shooting for her place on the Australian Olympic Team when she takes to the pool in the 100m freestyle final tonight at the National Championships in Adelaide.

Trickett, who returned with two gold medals from Beijing in 2008, is seeking a place on her third Olympic team after coming out of retirement in September 2010, with the 50m and 100m freestyle her remaining chances after missing out on the 100m butterfly.

However, her selection is anything but assured with Beijing bronze medallist Cate Campbell, world championship relay gold medallist Melanie Schlanger and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Alicia Coutts occupying the middle lanes for the final at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre.

In a night for the returning athletes, long-time butterfly rivals Geoff Huegill (52.79) and Michael Klim (53.45) will continue their quest to make their first Olympic team since 2004 after they both qualified in the top 16 of the men’s 100m butterfly.

Queenslander Christopher Wright will lead out the semi-finals with Huegill qualifying in the fourth fastest time and Klim through in tenth.

The trio will face a quality field with the likes of national 200m butterfly champion Nick D’Arcy (52.56), relay world champion Matt Targett (52.63), and Australian record holder Andrew Lauterstein (53.24) all vying for a place in Wednesday night’s final.

Three-time Olympic gold medallist Leisel Jones looks to add a 200m swim to her 100m at her fourth Olympic Games. She claimed the fifth quickest time of 2:29.21 after winning her semi-final. Sally Foster has booked Lane 4 for the final of the 200m breaststroke after recording a semi-final time of 2:27.92. Foster, who led the quicker of the two semi-finals, finished ahead of 16-year-old young gun Taylor McKeown and world championship silver medallist Sarah Katsoulis who finished equal second in 2:28.61.

The men’s 200m Individual Medley final will come down to the wire. Commonwealth Games representative Jayden Hadler (1:59.69) posted an A-qualifying time in his semi-final. Daniel Tranter (1:59.88), who is already off to London following his second placing in the 400m IM, also went under the two-minute barrier to qualify second.

Commonwealth Games relay gold medallist Thomas Fraser-Homes (2:00.12) clocked the third fastest time ahead of Youth Olympic Games representative Kenneth To (2:00.87). Commonwealth record holder for this event, Leith Brodie (2:02.47), and dual Olympian Travis Nederpelt (2:02.53) will also be hard to beat.

Victorian teammates Matson Lawson (1:58.53) and Josh Beaver (1:59.03) have recorded the two quickest times in the men’s 200m backstroke leading into Tuesday night’s final. Australian record holder Ashley Delaney was only a fraction off the pace in 1:59.20 with hometown hero Hayden Stoeckel (1:59.53) also making it through in an effort to secure his fourth Australian title in the event.

In other semi-final action, sprint king James Magnussen will back up from hi 100m final win on Monday night and his personal best in the 50m morning heats.

Magnussen lived up to his ‘Missile’ moniker by powering through to the semi-finals in a time of 22.19, to “blow out some cobwebs” from last night’s performance and clock a personal best time by more than 0.2 seconds.

Fellow world championship relay gold medallist Matt Abood (22.44) will look to erase the disappointment of missing out in last night’s 100m after claiming the second fastest time, while Targett (22.47) and Eamon Sullivan (22.62) are also comfortably through to the next round.

Commonwealth record holder Belinda Hocking was the fastest in the 200m backstroke heats. Hocking, who is already London-bound following her second place in Saturday’s 100m backstroke final, qualified in a time of 2:10.22 in her pet event. Former Commonwealth record holder Meagan Nay (2:11.57) and Junior World Championships bronze medallist Mikkayla Sheridan (2:12.44). Junior World Championships silver medallist Ellen Fullerton, who finished third in the weekend’s 100m event, is through fourth in 2:14.59.

Swimming Australia

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