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End of long wait?

May 3, 2013
Drought breaker: Jordan Harrison betters Grant Hackett's 1500 metres time for a 17-year-old, set 15 years ago. Photo: Getty Images

Drought breaker: Jordan Harrison betters Grant Hackett’s 1500 metres time for a 17-year-old, set 15 years ago. Photo: Getty Images

Australia’s search for a new distance hope could nearing an end with Jordan Harrison becoming the first Australian since Grant Hackett‘s retirement to break the 15-minute barrier when he won the 1500 metres freestyle at the national titles in Adelaide.

Harrison, 17, won in 14 minutes 51.02 seconds, a time that bettered Hackett’s 14:51.70 at the same age when he broke the world record at the 1998 world championships.

While he is still almost 20 seconds slower than the standard set by current distance king China’s Sun Yang, the comparison with Hackett’s 15-year-old mark gives promise for his future prospects.

Harrison, who had already secured a place on the team in the 400 freestyle, could hardly describe his feelings on the time, which lowered his previous best by over 20 seconds.

”I was stoked, to be honest … I don’t know, I’m just speechless,” said Harrison, who is trained by Hackett’s former coach, Denis Cotterell.

”I didn’t think I was going to go under 14.55 let along 15 minutes, and then to go well under it’s pretty overwhelming.

”It was pretty painful. At 500, it was starting to hurt and I had 1000 to go. But then, the motivation of getting under the 15 [minutes] overrode the pain. You had to tell your body it’s nothing and just push through. That’s what you train for.

”I think there’s only been something like six guys in Australian history under 15, so it’s a really tough time. It’s a tough event so to break it is pretty awesome. It feels good.”

The hard-luck story belonged to second placegetter Mack Horton, who also broke 15 minutes – recording 14:59.66 – but missed qualification for the team by 1.36 seconds. It was the third time he had missed an Australian time by a small margin. ”I’m devastated. To miss it by 1.3 second just sucks,” Horton said.

Meanwhile, the Campbell sisters, Cate and Bronte, made it a sprinting double by again quinellaing the 50 freestyle final. The sisters, who claimed berths in the team in the 100 freestyle, were too sharp, with Cate winning in 24.27 seconds and Bronte touching in 24.59.

Cate said she had been flat after her 100 freestyle, where she twice swam under the benchmark 53 seconds, and made a number of mistakes, including missing the start.

”I’m just exhausted. It’s been quite a week,” she said. ”I can’t be disappointed with that, but I won’t lie. I’m not over the moon.”

She said she would not be daunted by her new status as a gold-medal contender at the world titles in Barcelona.

”I actually find trials more nerve-wracking then the major meets. I was super-chilled at the Olympics,” Cate said. ”I think the pressure at trials for me is greater because you have to get those one-two placings, whereas [at the] worlds, you’ve made the team. Anything can happen.”

Thomas Fraser-Holmes won the 400 individual medley in four minutes 10.14 seconds. Fraser-Holmes only shifted his focus to the 400IM after he false-started his 400 freestyle heat and was disqualified. It had been such an afterthought that he forgot to tell his parents and they returned home on Wednesday.

But having secured his place in the team in the 200 freestyle and having a spare day in his program, he set his sights on the 400IM and his Australian record of 4:11.81 seconds. He was ordered by coach Cotterell to lead from the front and he opened a five-second gap by mid-race. He won in 4:10.14, a Commonwealth record.

Swedish swimmer Jennie Johansson won the 50 breaststroke final in 30.83 ahead of Leiston Pickett (30.86).

Daniel Arnamnart won the 50 backstroke in 24.90 seconds. Keryn McMaster won the women’s 400IM in 4:40.76. Blake Cochrane (S8) and Amanda Fowler (S14) won the men’s and women’s 50 breaststroke multi-class titles and Brenden Hall (S9) and Kyla Clarke (S14) won the 100 butterfly multi-class titles.

smh

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