Kenneth To dominated night 2 at the Australian Short Course Championships in Perth, Western Australia. After pulling out of the 50 free semi to concentrate on the 100 fly, Kenny brought his A-game and then some. Out in 10.61 then 23.64 at the 25 he was already well ahead. The only question was whether the Qualifying Times for Worlds of 50.54 would be a problem.
Known at times for fading, there was some tiring but the QT proved to be no issue. To finished with a 50.54 putting him second in the world this year only 0.04sec behind the recent effort by Kaio Almeida in Brazil.
Very impressively, the stroke count on To’s 25s were 5/6/6/7. He does a lot of work in this area and it shows. There has been talk that he might have something special up his sleeve for the 100 IM on Sunday night. He has been by far the most exciting swimmer at this meet and looks to be in fantastic form.
Earlier, Travis Mahoney showed everyone the way in the mens 400 IM. Not an event Australia can claim too much credibility in at present, Travis pulled out a 4:09 to finish 4 secs in front of his nearest rival. Missing the Worlds QT by 3 seconds shows exactly how far behind Australia is.
A fairly flat womens 50 breast followed with Sarah Katsoulis taking the prize in 30.68. That time significantly slower than Leisel Jones’ winning effort from last year (29.92). This does seem to be en event struggling in the post Olympic haze.
Bobby Hurley did everything he could to win the mens 100 back tonight. A swimmer that has struggled at times to find his forte (has swum impressive butterfly, backstroke and 400/1500 freestyles over the years) he seems very comfortable on his back. Hurley has great underwater work. Ashley Delaney is a renowned long course backstroker and is a very fast swimmer. What followed was a ding-dong battle of Hurley launching underwater only to have Delaney fight back to even terms at the turn. Rinse and repeat three times. The last lap had Hurley just hold on as his underwater work almost failed. Heres the kicker, QT – 50.98. Hurleys time – 50.98… by the barest of margins.
The nights other finals were predictable results. The womens 100 back was won by Grace Loh (57.52) with Rachael Goh (57.92) in second (the commentators get confused too). Both swimmers qualified for Worlds in the only event so far with 2 representatives. Christian Sprenger (58.70) then gave a breaststroke lesson for 75 metres only to tighten at the end. Winning convincingly was unlikely to soften the blow of missing the team by 0.23 sec. He very wittily leaned on the selectors to pick him anyway in his post race interview. Time will tell if they agree. It would be interesting to see who would get the breatstroke leg in the relay if he didnt go. The chances of Sprenger not seeing Istanbul by years end are very slim.
Lastly the womens 800 was won convincingly by Laura Crockart. A bizarre QT of 8:16.73 was well out of reach though with Laura coming in with an 8:21.93.
The swimming has been only half the story so far at this meet. In a country that devours news about swimming, the percieved lack of performance has focused the magnifying glass. Stories are rife on deck about administration, behaviour, blame and general unease. The media are all over rumours about disharmony and cover-ups. There are many just hoping that this clears quickly but that does not seem likely. It is amazing how so few individuals can have such a resounding effect on swimming in this country.
Live results can be found here: http://www.clubsonline.com.au/uploads/swimresults/National/2012SC/index.htm