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Olympic Trials – Event by Event Wrap

22 March 2012

The 26 individual events on the Olympic program for swimming were contested over eight days of racing in Adelaide with the Australian Olympic Committee officially selecting a 44-strong team for London 2012.

The following is a wrap of every event at the Olympic Trials and the athletes who excelled.

Men's 100m Freestyle:
Arguably the hottest property in international sprinting, James Magnussen, who rose from obscurity last year to win the 100m freestyle World Title, stepped it up again at the Trials. His performance in the same event at this week’s trials was the fastest in a textile suit, despite the 19-year-old not being at peak fitness due to illness. The man dubbed “The Missile” is determined to knock a further fraction of his time in the blue riband event in London, with the super-suit world record his goal in addition to Olympic gold.

Keeping Magnussen company is an impressive depth of male sprinters such as teenager James Roberts who also claimed an individual berth in the 100m, touching the wall in 47.63, the same time that Magnussen clocked to win the 2011 World Title. With dual Olympian Eamon Sullivan, powerhouse swimmer Matt Targett and youngsters Cameron McEvoy and Tommaso D'Orsogna rounding out the relay spots, Australia will undoubtedly be the ones to watch in the 4x100m freestyle.

Men's 50m Freestyle:
Magnussen and Sullivan again shone in the splash and dash 50m freestyle event going coming first and second in 21.74 and 21.92 respectively. Magnussen surprised even himself in winning the event that he doesn’t focus on in training, and for Sullivan it is the realisation of a dream in securing an individual berth for London.

Men's 200m and 400m Freestyle:
Over the 200m distance, the men’s freestyle ranks are also strong with Thomas Fraser-Holmes taking the title ahead of Beijing Olympian Kenrick Monk. In the 200m relay ranks will be four Olympic debutants in David McKeon, Ned McKendry, Ryan Napoleon and McEvoy. McKeon, who took up competitive swimming just over a year ago, follows in the footsteps of his father Ron McKeon and uncle Rob Woodhouse both Olympians in swimming. The 17-year-old from Illawarra will also contest the 400m freestyle, after taking the title in 3:46.36 ahead of teammate Napoleon.

Men's 400m and 200m Individual Medley:
Fraser-Holmes secured a second berth in the 400 individual medley ahead of Daniel Tranter. Not his favoured event, Tranter did not even realise he had achieved Olympic qualification until some time after the race. Towards the end of the meet, he ensured he would swim the Olympic double, winning the 200m IM in a hard fought race ahead of Jayden Hadler, with two more swimmers finishing in A-qualifying time.

Men's 100m and 200m Breaststroke:
Swimming the fastest time of the year thus far, Christian Sprenger dominated the 100m breaststroke, breaking the one-minute barrier just ahead of long-time teammate and rival Brenton Rickard. An Australian title came Rickard’s way a few days later with the 28-year-old Olympian taking out the 200m event.

Men's 100m and 200m Backstroke:
The men’s backstroke saw Hayden Stoeckel make his second Olympic team ahead of Daniel Arnamnart in the 100m. The 200m distance saw a big upset in the pool, with favourite Ash Delaney failing to qualify. Mitch Larkin grabbed pole position in a time of 1:57.90 ahead of little-known Victorian swimmer Matson Lawson who finished in 1:58.32.

Men's 100m and 200m Butterfly:
Nick D’Arcy took the 200m butterfly title with a dominant swim that will see him tough to beat in London. Southport swimmer Chris Wright was not far behind D’Arcy, securing the second spot in the event. Wright continued his fly dominance in the 100m, taking the title in 51.67 ahead of Hadler. Comeback swimmer Geoff Huegill missed out, finishing 5th.

Australia’s women look set to reignite the spark which saw them dominate the Water Cube in Beijing four years ago.

Women's 100m and 200m Breaststroke:
Making history as the first swimmer to go to four Olympic Games is breaststroke star Leisel Jones. Although she surrendered her 12-year reign of the 100m national title to Leiston Pickett, Jones secured her individual spot on the team and will go to London with the aim of adding to her current Olympic medal haul of three gold, four silver and one bronze. Jones was also unable to win the 200m, with young-gun Tessa Wallace and 2008 Olympian Sally Foster taking first and second place respectively. Wallace’s win was especially impressive as the 18-year-old after overcoming a serious knee injury and a bout of Ross River fever.

Women's 200m and 400m Individual Medley:
All eyes were on Beijing golden girl Stephanie Rice, whose journey to reach London has been hampered by multiple shoulder surgeries. On the first day of trials, Rice sent a strong message to her doubters and rivals with a convincing 4:33.45 win in the 400m IM making her the first pool swimmer to secure her London berth, ahead of Blair Evans who came second. Rice ensured she would defend both her Olympic titles when she went on to win the 200m IM with Alicia Coutts in second.

Women's 100m and 200m Butterfly:
Coutts, who was the golden girl of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, will also compete in the 100m butterfly after an impressive win ahead of Jessicah Schipper. Heading to her third Olympics, Schipper will also contest the 200m fly which she won in a tough race ahead of Samantha Hamill.

Women's 100m and 200m Backstroke:
Dominant backstrokers Emily Seebohm and Belinda Hocking went one-two in the 100m. Hocking then shone through in the 200m event, winning in 2:06.68 ahead of Meagan Nay in 2:07.83.

Women's 50m and 100m Freestyle:
With heavy focus on the myriad of “comebacks” at the trials, Libby Trickett broke the run of unsuccessful attempts when she qualified as a relay swimmer in the 100m freestyle. Trickett’s 5th place in the final was enough to see her selected for her third Olympic Games where she will be in fine and very fast company.

Melanie Schlanger, who won two relay medals in Beijing, shone at trials, winning the 100m in 53.85. She will be joined in the much anticipated 100m race by Cate Campbell with Brittany Elmslie, Yolane Kukla, Trickett and Coutts also complementing the relay which will be a sensation in London.

In the 50m freestyle sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell went 1-2 on the final night of racing. In a real highlight for London they will be the first Australian sisters to compete in the same event and the first siblings since 1972.

Women's 200m and 400m Freestyle:
The 200m was also very exciting with Bronte Barratt and Kylie Palmer selected as individual swimmers and Schlanger, Elmslie, Jade Neilsen and Angie Bainbridge rounding out the relay spots.

Palmer and Barratt reversed their form in the 400m finishing first and second respectively, meaning they will both swim the 200 and 400 disciplines in London.

Women's 800m Freestyle and Men's 1500m Freestyle:
In the 800m, Palmer ensured she was the most successful swimmer of the meet, qualifying for her third individual Olympic spot by winning convincingly in 8:26.60. Jessica Ashwood qualified for her first Olympic Team by placing second.

The final event of the Olympic Trials was the men’s 1500m. Jarrod Poort did an 11 second PB of 15:13.38 and just missed the A qualifier by two seconds. With his B qualifier he now must wait until Australia is allocated the quota place from FINA in June before he can be selected.

Australian Olympic Committe

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