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Titles For Treffers & Hocking; Seebohm Woe

Apr 3, 2011  - Craig Lord

Sydney - Australian Championships, day 3 finals and semis:

Five defending champions took to their blocks in Sydney today but only two retained their crowns, Melissa Gorman in 16:06.98 over 1,500m freestyle and Leisel Jones, in 1:06.18 in the 100m breaststroke. 

Defending champion Hayden Stoeckel lost his crown by 0.15sec as the title passed to Benjamin Treffers, 19, in 53.72, and Emily Seebohm lost her crown in the same event for women as Belinda Hocking cracked the minute for the first time in a textile suit, on 59.55.

That Seebohm managed silver in 1:00.08 inside the Shanghai cut says much about her strength of character. The 18-year-old recently suffered a debilitating bout of swim flu [actually, that's what all of us covering endless trials and 8-day meets are suffering from ... what Seebohm had was swine flu, of course - and thanks goes to the good colleague who pointed the typo out while nursing her own swim flu...]. After the race, Seebohm was attended to by medical staff, given oxygen and placed in a wheelchair. Coach Matt Brown told reporters that she had "knocked herself into the ground" and would now withdraw from the rest of the meet. 

"Basically she’s exhausted herself to the point where she collapsed at the end of the race," Brown said. "The whole face, the whole body, the whole everything, was absolutely red and blown out. When you look at the history of the last four or five weeks, she’s obviously not in great nick, we all knew that and we tried to nurse her through. The great thing about it is she is through, she gets to go, but she’s in a pretty ordinary way."

Seebohm told reporters: "You know me, I don’t like to do little things I like to come here and do something. The last thing I remember is walking down and turning the corner and then I woke up on oxygen and in a wheelchair,” Seebohm said. "My mum was in tears and I think the first thing I said (when she recovered from collapse) was can I go get my medal now? I really just wanted to get up there and show Belinda she did and awesome job and it was an amazing race."

Meanwhile, check out  the depth and quality of this 200m free qualification line-up for the final tomorrow: Angie Bainbridge  1:57.43; Bronte Barratt 1:57.54; Kylie Palmer; 1:57.56; Jade Neilsen 1:57.66; Alicia Coutts 1:57.99; Blair Evans 1:58.31; Merinda Dingjan 1:58.51; and last in Olympic triple gold winner Stephanie Rice, 1:58.55.

Race reports

Men's 200m freestyle

Thomas Fraser-Holmes, 18, took the title in 1:47.19, a lifetime best and inside the cut for Shanghai. Kenrick Monk, on 1:47.53, claimed silver but will be confined to the relay in China under Australia's tough time standards policy. The same fate awaits defeated defending champion Nick Ffrost, 7th in 1:49.17 and probably even out of relay action. The top six: Fraser-Holmes, 1:47.19; Monk, 1:47.53; Ryan Napoleon, 1:47.68; Tomasso D'Orsogna 1:48.49; Jarrod Killey, 1:48.50; Ned McKendry, 1:48.96.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium plus 1: 1:47.50; 1:47.66; 1:47.83; 1:48.30
  • 2011 podium: 1:47.19; 1:47.53 
  • AUS record: 1:44.06 Ian Thorpe 2001

Best AUS podium result at world titles: gold, three times - Michael Klim, 1998; Ian Thorpe, 2001, 2003

Women's 100m backstroke

Belinda Hocking, coached by Shannon Rollason of Albury, produced the sole sub-minute effort, her 59.55 victory ahead of defending champion Emily Seebohm, on 1:00.08 and also inside the cut for a place in the race at world titles in Shanghai come July. The bronze went to Commonwealth 200m champion Meagan Nay, on 1:00.51, that effort locking out Grace Loh, on 1:00.55, and Sophie Edington, 1:00.70 and the other sub 1:01 swimmers in the final.

Hocking turned in fourth place on 29.44 before producing what was by far the best homecoming split on the field, a 30.11. Seebohm was first through in 29.04, ahead of Edington and Loh. Hocking's time is fastest in the world so far this year, 0.01sec ahead of 15-year-old American Melissa Franklin. Hocking's new best time marks a breakthrough for the 20-year-old: her best last year was a 1:00.11, while her only other previous sub-minute efforts were sum in non-textile suits now banned.

Seebohm won the crown in 59.21 a year ago, that effort, the best ever by an Australian woman racing in a textile suit, ending the year as third fastest in the world. She won the Pan Pacific crown in 59.45 and the Commonwealth crown in 59.57. Her recent bout of swine flu served to floor Seebohm today and her 2011 championships are over.

How they measure up:

  • 2010 podium: 59.21; 1:00.11; 1:01.20
  • 2011 podium: 59.55; 1:00.08; 1:00.51
  • AUS record all suits: 58.88 Emily Seebohm 2009
  • AUS textile best: 59.21 Emily Seebohm 2010

Best AUS podium result at world titles: bronze - Emily Seebohm in 2009 behind Gemma Spofforth (GBR) and Anastasia Zueva (RUS)

Women's 1500 freestyle

Defending champion Melissa Gorman retained the crown in 16:06.98 after establishing a 5sec lead over 17-year-old Jessica Ashwood and 15-year-old Bonny MacDonald in the first 400m freestyle of the race. 

Gorman, 25 and coached at Redcliffe League by Ken Wood, went through the 500s in 5:20.77 and 10:44.56 on her way to victory over Ashwood, on 16:14.47, and MacDonald, on 16:16.58. Gorman's time is fourth best in the world so far this year after Kristel Kobrich (CHI), 16:02.01, Kerri-Anne Payne (GBR), 16:06.67, and Lotte Friis (DEN), 16:06.74

How they measure up

  • 2010 podium: 16:03.24; 16:16.41; 16:46.58
  • 2011 podium: 16:06.98; 16:14.47; 16:16.58
  • AUS record: 16:01.53 Melissa Gorman 2010

Best AUS podium result at world titles: no medals

Men's 100m backstroke

Defending champion Hayden Stoeckel lost his crown by 0.15sec as the title passed to Benjamin Treffers, of Burley Griffin and coached by John Fowlie in Canberra, in 53.72, fourth best in the world so far this year. The bronze went to Ashley Delaney, on 54.17. All three swam inside the cut for Shanghai world titles but just two will go.

Treffers, 19 and the son of Mark Treffers, Commonwealth 400m medley champion for New Zealand at the Christchurch Games in 1974, is making terrific progress in his transition from junior to senior waters: after claiming gold in the 50m and silver in the 100m backstroke at the World Youth Championships in 2008, he took two bronze medals in the same events at senior nationals a year ago - and now has a senior crown in a treasury set to grow.

"I’m absolutely stoked and it’s still hitting me now," Treffers said. "To win the 100m backstroke and take off over a second in the last year is incredible. I’ve had a lot of change with my coaching and adjusting my training program and it’s beginning to pay off. I’ve missed two senior teams by 0.01 seconds in the 50m so this makes it all the better now."

How they measure up

  • 2010 podium: 53.61; 54.07; 55.00
  • 2011 podium: 53.72; 53.87; 54.17
  • AUS record all suits: 52.97 Hayden Stoeckel 2008
  • AUS textile best: 53.61 Hayden Stoeckel 2010

Best AUS podium result at world titles: gold - Matt Welsh claimed the crown at Fukuoka in 2001

Women's 100m breaststroke

Olympic champion Leisel Jones, coached by Rohan Taylor at Nunawading in Melbourne, is queen of Australian breaststroke  yet again, a 1:06.18 victory keeping at bay Sarah Katsoulis, on 1:07.24, the bronze going to Leiston Pickett, in 1:07.32. Pickett, 19, had clocked 1:06.92 in the semis and while she swam inside the cut for Shanghai today, only the top 2 make the trip. The 50m in which she is a Commonwealth champion is not an Olympic event and does not count for selection to Shanghai. As such, it could be that one of the world's best 50m swimmers will not be in in the world-title race this summer. Also locked out was Samantha Marshall, on 1:07.85.

How they measure up

  • 2010 podium: 1:05.79; 1:07.45; 1:07.89
  • 2011 podium: 1:06.18; 1:7.24; 1:07.32
  • AUS record: 1:05.09 Leisel Jones 2006

Best AUS podium result at world titles: gold, four times - Linley Frame, 1991; Samantha Riley, 1994; Leisel Jones in 2005 and 2007


Men's 50m breaststroke

Chris Sprenger led the way into the final on 28.33 and tomorrow will have Karl Wurzer, 28.66, and Brenton Rickard, 28.69, either side of him.

Women's 200m freestyle 

Few nations in the world are capable of producing a top 8 from semi-finals of a domestic 200m free championship like the one that unfolded in Sydney today: 

Angie Bainbridge  1:57.43; Bronte Barratt 1:57.54; Kylie Palmer; 1:57.56; Jade Neilsen 1:57.66; Alicia Coutts 1:57.99; Blair Evans 1:58.31; Merinda Dingjan 1:58.51; and last in Olympic triple gold winner Stephanie Rice, 1:58.55. A scorcher of a final in prospect, for solo and relay berths in Shanghai this July. 

Men's 200m butterfly

Travis Nederpelt claimed lane 4 for the final in 1:57.45. Either side of him tomorrow will be Jayden Hadler, on 1:57.48, and Grant Irvine, on 1:59.27.