Robert Hurley proved his backstroke prowess tonight on day 4 at the Australian Short Course Championships in Perth, Western Australia, swimming a near perfect race. In the 50, he was out in 11.52 he proved once again to be almost unbeatable under water off the turn finishing in 23.49. His time was only 0.2 outside his Australian record. Second place was fought out between Ben Treffers and Ashley Delaney with Treffers pipping Delaney by 0.01 (23.83 to 23.84).
Grace Loh and Rachael Goh seem set for another intriguing showdown in the final of the women’s 50 back tomorrow night. Goh (27.32) has had the upper hand over Loh (27.48) in the 50s through prelims and tonights semis and just has to finish the job tomorrow night.
Cam McEvoy goes into a very competitive final tomorrow night in the 100 free as favourite. He will have a queue of people making him work for it though. The Abood boys, Kyle Richardson and Tommaso D’Orsogna will all be going for the win. Throw into that mix Kenneth To who could do anything and it looks set to be a great race. In the semis all 6 of these guys were only split by 0.6 sec (47.23-47.84).
That guy, Kenny To, rocked the pool in the semis of the 100 IM tonight. Not looking quite as sharp as earlier on in the week, he still tore into a 52.32. His free leg was only a 12.96 so there is hope for more speed in the final tomorrow. D’Orsogna popped in for a quick IM too in the first semi pulling out a 53.67 putting him second. It is always a fun event, the 100 IM, so you will often see random entrants from other strokes trying to hijack the event. Looks like Tommaso might be the guy for the job this year but his best effort will only get him into second at best.
The womens 100 breaststroke final looked to be a foregone conclusion but the race built into an exciting contest. Sarah Katsoulis, fresh off her 50 victory, took the race out fast. She ended up dragging Samantha Marshall along for the ride and the two fought tenatiously for the whole hundred only to touch equal on a 1:06.42. Sally Foster had a booming last 25 to almost join the party on 1:06.79.
There have been a lot of youngsters put their hands up this meet in lieu of the stars. Every final seems to be littered with 15, 16, 17 year olds all getting in on the act. The two that seem to be profitting most are Nicholas Groenewald (15) and Jemma Schlicht (15). Both have been mainstays for years on the Australian Youth team but now are making significant gains in the open arena.
Jemma has put together some awesome swims this week: 100 free 55.12; 50 fly 26.96; 50 free 25.71; 100 fly 59.29. Groenewald has put up some equally impressive times: 100 back 54.92; 400 IM 4:25.67; 200 IM 2:01.46; 100 IM 55.98. These 2 swimmers along with many other teenagers will feature heavily in Australian swimming in the next few years as they will be the ones looked at for Rio in 2016 and the Olympics in 2020.