SYDNEY, March 26 (Reuters) - Eamon Sullivan came agonisingly
close to breaking the 100 metres freestyle world record at the
Australian Olympic trials on Wednesday.
The 22-year-old from Western Australia stopped the clock at
47.52 seconds, just 0.02 outside the world record set by Alain
Bernard of France at the European championships last weekend.
Sullivan now owns two of the fastest three times in history
after winning his semi-final in 47.55 on Tuesday but said he was
Disappointed not to claim the record.
"It is hard to get so close," he told reporters.
"I guess it has been playing on my mind the past 24 hours.
It was hard to sleep I was so excited and ready to race.
"I was really hoping just to find a little bit more. It is a
bit of a shame."
Sullivan, who lost his 50 freestyle world record to Bernard
on Sunday, was 0.06 outside the Frenchman's mark at the halfway
stage of Wednesday's final but made a powerful surge on the last
lap before fading in the last few metres.
Matthew Targett finished second in 48.36 as the first four
finishers all broke 49 seconds to provide Australia with renewed
hope of winning the relay at the Olympics after the retirements
of Ian Thorpe and Michael Klim.
"I think I started to tire a little bit near the end and
ended up spinning my wheels but still I'm very happy with it,"
"But you can't complain when you swim two 47s in 24 hours.
He's only two-hundredths in front of me now."
Jessicah Schipper also weakened on the last lap to fall 1.42
short of her own world record for the women's 200 butterfly,
blaming her failure on the controversial new swim suits credited
with helping produce the latest spate of world records.
The 21-year-old Queenslander was under world record pace at
each of the three turns but ran out of energy on the last length
after her swimsuit filled with water to win in 2:06.82 from
17-year-old Samantha Hamill (2:07.61).
"The second I dived in the back just filled up and it felt
like I was swimming in a drag suit," she told reporters.
"I was pulling myself through and was actually getting
really dizzy and had to keep my head down so then I ended up not
breathing as much as I should have."
Brenton Rickard won the 200 breaststroke final in 2:09.51,
becoming the third fastest man in the event, while world record
holder Leisel Jones topped the qualifiers for the women's event
by winning her semi-final in 2:25.00.
World champion Libby Trinkett (nee Lenton) decided not to
wear her new suit in the 100 freestyle semi-finals and had to
settle for second fastest behind 15-year-old Cate Campbell but
said she was saving her best for the final.
"I felt really good and comfortable out there tonight so
that gives me a lot of confidence going into tomorrow," Trinkett
"(Campbell) swam well. She did a personal best and that is
obviously exciting but having said that there were some girls
out there I think will have a lot left for tomorrow night."