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Ten rookies give national squad new look

22 March 2009

Australia's swim team has come up with a cure for the post-Olympic blues - an injection of fresh blood.

Australia named 10 first-timers in its 41-strong squad for July's world titles in Rome and that pleased Australian head coach Alan Thompson.

The year after an Olympics is notorious for the big guns of the sport struggling to come out firing with another three years to go before the main event rolls around again.

But the likes of Ellen Fullerton, Blair Evans, Matthew Abood, Tommaso D'Orsogna and Ryan Napoleon are sure to energise the Dolphins in the long lead-up to 2012 London Olympics.

"About a quarter of the team of rookies, this is a good sign this early in the quadrennium," Thompson said.

"I think if you had that later in the quadrennium that would be a bit of a worry but it gives a great chance to give some young guys some experience.

"We have the majority of Olympians who have also made themselves available back on the team.

"Most of them are a bit off their best times but they have been solid.

"I think we can look forward to in Rome later in the year to them being back to their absolute best."

The biggest loss since last year's Beijing Olympics was team captain Grant Hackett (retirement) and that is very much being felt in the distance events.

Leisel Jones has put her beauty school commitments in front of her country's needs this year after storming to victory in the 100m breaststroke. But the upside is that she can still produce such impressive efforts off minimal training.

And on the whole, there are more positives than negatives with the Australian team having medal contenders in each stroke in Rome.

The likes of Eamon Sullivan and Stephanie Rice, having entered the national titles with fitness concerns, should be primed to be at their very best in Italy. The brighter the spotlight the more Rice tends to shine and Sullivan is itching to take down Alain Bernard after the Frenchman trumped him at last year's Olympics in the 100m freestyle.

Olympic bronze medallist Andrew Lauterstein is shaping up as a genuine title contender in the 100m butterfly with superfish Michael Phelps taking his time getting back in the pool.

In a frightening thought for her rivals, triple Olympic gold medallist Libby Trickett has found another gear in freestyle while her butterfly looks like it needs some fine-tuning. Her move south to Sydney to a new coach in Grant Stoelwinder looks to be working out as does Jess Schipper's to Trickett's old mentor Stephan Widmer.

The former 200m butterfly world record holder looked to have rediscovered her zip with her powerful performance in winning the 100m this week.

2009 Australian World Championships Team

Male: Athletes Matthew, Abood, 22, Kingscliff, NSW Leith, Brodie, 22, Albany Creek, QLD Nick, D'Arcy, 21, Maroochydore, QLD Ashley, Delaney, 22, Nunawading, VIC Tommaso, D'Orsogna, 18, West Coast, WA Nicholas, Ffrost, 22, Southport Olympic, QLD Robert, Hurley, 20, Wests Illawarra Aquatic, NSW Andrew, Lauterstein, 21, SOPAC, NSW Kenrick, Monk, 21, St Peters Western, QLD Patrick, Murphy, 25, Melbourne Vicentre, VIC Ryan, Napoleon, 18, St Peters Western, QLD Kirk, Palmer, 22, Barker Aquatic, NSW Stephen, Parkes, 20, St Peters Western, QLD Adam, Pine, 33, Ginninderra, NSW Kyle , Richardson, 21, Commercial, QLD Brenton, Rickard, 25, Brothers, QLD Christian, Sprenger, 23, Commercial, QLD Hayden, Stoeckel, 24, Norwood, SA Eamon, Sullivan, 23, SOPAC, NSW Matthew, Targett, 23, Melbourne Vicentre, VIC Christopher, Wright, 20, Commercial, QLD

Female Athletes Bronte, Barratt, 20, Albany Creek, QLD Cate, Campbell, 16, Indooroopilly, QLD Merindah, Dingjan, 18, Southside Wesley, WA Sophie, Edington, 24, Commercial, QLD Blair, Evans, 17, City of Perth, WA Sally, Foster, 23, Central Aquatic, WA Ellen, Fullerton, 16, Pro-Ma Miami, QLD Felicity, Galvez, 24, SOPAC, NSW Melissa, Gorman, 23, Redcliffe Leagues, QLD Marieke, Guehrer, 23, Melbourne Vicentre, VIC Samantha, Hamill, 18, Kawana Waters, QLD Belinda, Hocking, 18, Albury, NSW Sarah, Katsoulis, 24, Nunawading, VIC Meagen, Nay, 20, St Peters Western, QLD Shayne, Reese, 26, Nunawading, VIC Stephanie, Rice, 20, St Peters Western, QLD Jessicah, Schipper, 22, Commercial, QLD Emily, Seebohm, 16, Brothers, QLD Libby, Trickett, 24, SOPAC, NSW Tarnee, White, 27, Chandler, QLD

Tom Wald
AAP

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