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Swift Signposts From Gandy & Park

Feb 12, 2012  - Craig Lord

A day after cracking 58sec in the 100m butterfly, Melbourne-based Brit Ellen Gandy set the pace at the helm of the early 2012 world ranks over 200m with a 2:05.95 [27.76; 59.13 (31.37); 1:31.76 (32.63); 34.19] victory at NSW State titles in Sydney. 

The session also saw Michael Bohl-coached Park Tae Hwan (KOR) take third in the 50m free dash before going a 2012 world-leading lifetime best in the 1500m free: 14:47.38, the first sub 15mins of the year.

Gandy's effort leaps over the 2:06.76 at which Cammile Adams (USA) had held the No1 spot ahead of a 2:07.39 effort last month by Jemma Lowe, the Swansea-based ace aiming for Olympic selection with Gandy at trials in London next month.

In Sydney today, Gandy, coached by Rohan Taylor, was a pool apart from those who followed, Sam Hamill on 2:10.99, Amy Smith on 2:11.06, Australians facing their own trials a couple of weeks after the Brits next month.

Bronte Barratt, Melanie Schlanger and Angie Bainbridge had a tussle in the 200m free after Yolane Kukla led them through the 100m in 56.51. Barratt, fourth at the half-way mark on 57.48, took the lead down the third lap and went on to a 1:56.92 victory, Schlanger second in 1:57.32, Bainbridge third in 1:57.93 and Kukla on 1:58.76. The B final went to Carlile's Ami Matsuo, 15, in 2:00.58.

Emily Seebohm clocked 2:11.55 to win the 200m medley ahead of Olympic champion Stephanie Rice, on 2:13.84, with Natalie Wiegersma third in 2:14.81. Seebohm was back in the water soon after for a second win, a 27.90 in the 50m back keeping her 0.08sec ahead of Sophie Edington, third going to China's Zhao Xinyu, 28.43.

Matthew Abood got the better of James Magnussen in the 50m free, 22.34 to 22.65, with third place going to 400m Olympic champion Park Tae-Hwan (KOR), on 22.74 on his way to taking on the 1500m in the same session. All to the good for that last lap against the likes on Sun Yang (CHN) come London 2012.

The 30-lap test produced a terrific 14:47.38 from Park (56.69; 1:56.18; 3:55.11; 4:54.68; 7:53.33; 9:53.24; 13:52.51 (29.81) 14:21.46 (28.95) and 14:47.38 (25.92). The time is a Korean national record, the best of Park's career inside the 14:55.03 he clocked back in 2006. 

Gandy's fellow Australia-based Brit Kate Haywood also had the edge on Aussie opponents: after a 30.95 in 50m breaststroke heats, she just held off Sarah Katsoulisin the final, 31.43 to 31.49.

After a swift 52.71 (24.71, 27.99) in heats, 18-year-old Jayden Hadler could not quite replicate his morning speed in finals, a 53.09, off a 24.59 split, providing valuable lessons. Chris Wright had the better pace and got the touch, his 52.60 off a 24.88 split that left him able to return in 27.72.In third today was Nick D'Arcy, on 53.33, while Sam Ashby, on 53.52, stayed ahead of the 2000 Olympic medallists on the comeback trail, Michael Klim, 53.53, and Geoff Huegill, 53.57.

In the 200m breaststroke, Craig Calder overhauled Kazuki Kohinata (JPN), 17, on the last lap to win in 2:13.87 to 2:14.05, third going to Nikolas Pregelj in 2:15.09. Daiya Seto (JPN) dominated the 400m medley in 4:13.78 ahead of Mitch Larkin and Daniel Tranter, on 4:23.04 and 4:23.42 respectively.

Kiwi Gareth Kean held off Aussie opponents in the 100m backstroke, on 54.17 to 54.34 and 54.78 for Hayden Stoeckel and Ashley Delaney respectively.