Jones breaks 200m breaststroke record - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jones breaks 200m breaststroke record

By Todd Balym 01/02/2006 09:58:24 PM Comments (0)

Meet the new Leisel Jones. Charming, mature and a world record annihilator.

And if you don't like it, she doesn't care.

Jones had a massive falling out with herself following the 2004 Athens Olympics and it has led to a raft of personal changes that included switching coaches, to Stephan Widmer, and making an attempt to find friends away from the pool.

Those changes started delivering last year with two world titles and a 200m world record by almost a second, and again on Wednesday as she absolutely obliterated her own 200m breaststroke world record at the Commonwealth Games trials.

Jones produced a remarkable final 50m to come from half a second behind her Montreal record time to stop the clock in 2 minutes 20.54 seconds - a massive 1.18s faster than her world title winning effort last year.

It was the third world record at the new pool in as many days after Jade Edmistone (50m breaststroke) and Libby Lenton (100m freestyle) earlier set new benchmarks.

Jones is still the same unashamedly honest girl who declared "maybe I am just not ready to win yet" when she claimed a bronze medal at Athens, but now she does it with a smile and the satisfaction of knowing she is no longer the spoilt brat Australia thought she was.

Jones, who left school early to concentrate on swimming, admits the makeover was a horrible process to go through and that she started to hate swimming, but she feels she is much stronger because of it.

"You start hating swimming and it makes it so hard on you and you get pressure and you feel every minute of it," she said.

"It is just a horrible thing to go through. I am very lucky to be a young person, to grow up very quickly to learn these things at (the) age of 20. I am a very mature swimmer."

Her 200m breaststroke record is Thorpesque, over two seconds in front of the rest of the world.

The only regret Jones has right now is that she lowered her mark by such a massive margin, making a repeat performance even harder in six weeks time.

"I probably should have gone a bit slower so I could break it gradually, but you never know how in front of it you are so if I back off it a bit you might miss it by 0.01s," she said.

"I knew my backend was a lot faster than in Montreal because I am a lot tougher swimmer now."

In other women's races Libby Lenton (53.67s) claimed her first 100m freestyle national title in beating Olympic champ Jodie Henry (53.85) while NSW's Tayliah Zimmer (1:01.03) set a new Australian record in the 100m backstroke.

In the men's trials, Ian Thorpe got his groove back by producing a scorching 100m swim.

The five-time Olympic gold medallist put in a tardy effort by his lofty standards in the 200m freestyle on Tuesday but rebounded in impressive fashion.

He touched the wall in 48.86 seconds - just 0.3s outside his personal best time - to easily lead qualifying for Thursday night's 100m final in Melbourne.

The result was the strongest endorsement that his move to focus on the 100m and 200m would pay dividends in the blue-ribbon event.

Thorpe, renowned for his mesmerising relaxed stroke, looked like he had clearly lifted his stroke rate in a move to improve his first 50 - his weakness in the sprint event.

Head coach Alan Thompson said Thorpe would take a little time to fully fire following a one-day year break from competition.

Thorpe is the not the quickest 100m swimmer on paper for the March Games with South African speed machines Roland Schoeman and Ryk Neethling both capable of swimming in the low 48s.

However Thorpe's form suggested his best time of 48.56s is on borrowed time and he is expected to give an even better showing of himself on Thursday.

Thorpe has dominated the 200m and 400m events for the best part of a decade but the 100m crown is the one he wants the most.

He was able to win medals in the 100m, 200m and 400m at the Athens Olympics - a remarkable performance considering the varying demands of the three races.

He has also held the 200m, 400m and 800m world records during his career.

But it is the 100m that he wants.

If he was able to break the world record and win the 100m crown at the 2008 Beijing Olympics there could be no disputing his status in the sport.

He would have to be declared the best freestyler of all time.

In other events, Ephraim Hannant won the men's 200m backstroke while backstroke king Matt Welsh faded to sixth.

Brenton Rickard claimed victory in the 100m breaststroke in strong time of 1:00.97.

Michael Klim also booked his berth for an appearance in his home-town Games in March by winning the non-Olympic event 50-metre butterfly in 23.90 seconds

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