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Negative-Split Positive For Palmer

Jul 16, 2010  - Craig Lord

The women's 400m free at Aussie s/c nationals and world championship (25m) trials in Brisbane was a thriller, with Kylie Palmer coming close to cracking her Aussie mark of 3:59.23, her 3:59.92 leaving the minor spoils to those who kept close company throughout.

Katie Goldman, 18, on 4:00.64 and Blair Evans, 19, on 4:00.71. The teenagers led the way at half-way a touch under 2mins, with Palmer on 2:00.14 but on her way to taking the lead at 325m and a negative-split conclusion.

Emily Seebohm, 18, continued to pan for gold, with a versatility that extended to a 53.16sec victory in the 100m freestyle. The time compared to shiny suit best of 53.05. Her heats time of 53.48 had marked a textile pb.

After trailing Marieke Guehrer at the 50m mark, 25.46 to 25.67, Seebohm cracked drew level at the last turn and put in a last lap 0.47sec faster than Guehrer could muster. That difference was decisive to the outcome of the entire final, with silver and 7th place split by just 0.52sec. Emma McKeon, 16, took second in a fine 53.37, bronze going to 'fly champion Felicity Galvez, on 53.51, 0.06sec ahead of Guehrer, in turn 0.01sec ahead of Angie Bainbridge, in turn 0.11sec ahead of Alicia Coutts, Merinda Dingjan the last inside 54, by 0.01sec, Kelly Stubbins closing down the final in 54.26. What a race.

McKeon is the daughter of Olympic swimmer Ron and Commonwealth Games swimmer Susie Woodhouse, and niece of Rob Woodhouse, Olympic bronze medallist in the 400m medley and now an agent with a team list that includes Britain's double Olympic free champ Rebecca Adlington.

Seebohm was back in later to challenge her Commonwealth 100m medley mark of 58.50 from the shiny suits era. Not quite there but not far off was the outcome: the crown was hers in 59.29, a few strokes up on Tessa Wallace, 16 and taking silver on 1:00.36, with bronze going to Chelsea Carpenter in 1:01.43. Seebohm's effort was one of two performances to breach the 1,000-point mark, along with Palmer's 400m free.

Galvez was back in not long after the free final to take the 50m 'fly crown in 25.65, silver going to 14-year-old superkid Yolane Kukla in 25.91, bronze to Coutts, whose 26.13 kept world champion Guehrer at bay by 0.02sec.

The 50m free sprint for men produced an upset 21.62 win for Kyle Richardson, with silver going to Matthew Abood, on 21.75, bronze to Cameron Prosser, on 21.88, which locked the two biggest international hitters off the podium, Ashley Callus on 21.91 and Eammon Sullivan on 22.07.

A close tussle in the 400m free came down on Robert Hurley's side, his 3:41.58 getting the better of Patrick Murphy by 0.44sec, the bronze going to Thomas Fraser-Holmes, on 3:43.38, 0.39sec ahead of Ned Mckendry. Hurley spend the first 350m of the race on Murphy's shoulder before making his move with a penultimate 25m split of 13.50, against 13.94 for Murphy.

The 200m backstroke went to visitor Jess Pengelly (RSA), in 2:08.77, ahead of Shani Burleigh's 2:09.07, the battle for bronze going to Fiona Connell, in 2:09.76, to 2:09.90 for Bridget Taylor. 

A blanket-finish men's 200m medley went to Kenneth To, 18, in 1:57.06, 0.2sec up on with Tommasso D'Orsogna, 19, bronze going to Jayden Hadler, 16, just 0.01sec further back. Locked out of the medals was Aussie record holder (1:52.86 from 2009) Leith Brodie, on 1:57.51.

On breaststroke, Chris Sprenger drew second blood: after winning the 100m, he added the 200m crown in 2:06.47, just 0.30sec ahead of Brenton Rickard in another cliffhanger between the two specialists. At 100m, Rickard had the edge by 0.17sec, in 1:01.00, and he retained the lead 50m later, on 1:33.85 to 1:33.98. At the last turn just 0.02sec split the rivals, Sprenger now with the edge. The last length settled the argument in Sprenger's favour, while bronze went to Craig Calder in 2:07.28.

Teenage talent is everywhere in the pool down in Brisbane this week and Buster Sykes, 16-year-old son of British Olympic swimmers of the 1980s, Susannah Brownsdon and Gareth Sykes was no exception. In 2:12.51 he took the B-final of the 200m breaststrokeand doubtless made mum and dad very proud in the bargain. At 14, Suki Brownsdon raced in breaststroke finals at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow and was back in finals action four years later in Los Angeles, while in 1982 she made the podium at the Commonwealth Games in the same city of Brisbane where she may be found watching in the stands today.

More from Brisbane later.