Australian SC Champs

Five World Records In Canberra


Nick J. Thierry

Just a couple of days after the conclusion of the Pan Pacs, Australia held a short course nationals that were also the trials for the World SC Championships next March.

Five world records were established as the "high" from the week before continued - even though the Pan Pac swimmers were tired.

On September 1, to set the stage, an Australian selected team tackled the men's world record in the 4x200 free relay. This is the event in which Australia was disqualified last April in Hong Kong when they swam the wrong order in the water from that indicated on the entry card during the prelims of the world short course championships.

The team was composed of Michael Klim 1:43.81, Matthew Dunn 1:46.53, Todd Pearson 1:45.06, and William Kirby 1:46.20 for a time of 7:01.60, bettering their existing record of 7:02.72 from 1997.

Michael Klim than put on a virtuoso performance with two more record swims in butterfly.

During the semi-finals of the 100 fly his 50.99 shaved 3/100ths off the old record of 51.02 by James Hickman.

Another world record fell to Susie O'Neill in the 200 fly, with 2:04.43 bettering her previous record of 2:05.37 from last February.

In the 50 fly Klim posted times of 23.35 in the semis and 23.45 in the finals.

But in between the semis and the final he swam the 100 free, cruising to an easy win in 48.05.

But that was when things began to turn bizarre. The meet was running well ahead of schedule, and Klim was back on the blocks less than an hour later. The rapid schedule caught Geoff Huegill and Bill Kirby by surprise. Neither made the start - Kirby was getting a rubdown, Huegill was sitting in the stands - as the final went ahead without them.

Klim again failed to break the world mark, clocking 23.45.

The trio appealed to officials, who agreed to allow them to time-trial after the final event - Huegill and Kirby together, Klim solo, as the FINA rules stipulate for world record attempts.

And with the crowd waiting around to watch his third attempt, Klim delivered, 23.21, his second world record of the meet, and his fourth in the past two weeks. "I knew it was within my grasp, it was just a matter of nailing the start and the turn," Klim said. "I knew I was capable of getting the record. I won't be in this sort of condition until the Olympic trials, so I wanted to have another go at it after what happened in the final."

Backstroker Matt Welsh was spectacular. On the opening evening he equalled the world mark in the 50 backstroke with 24.13, then he smashed the Commonwealth record in the 100, clocking 51.77.

Lori Munz was a standout in the women's events with four wins. She won the 100 free in 54.00, the 200 free in 1:57.79, the 100 IM in 1:01.34, and the 200 IM in 2:10.64.

A 'B' team of 25 (12 men and 12 women) was named for the SC Worlds, without any of the record setters.