Sparrow almost takes flight at nationals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sparrow almost takes flight at nationals

By Laine Clark 08/12/2006 05:48:31 AM Comments (0)

The Sparrow spread her wings at the national swimming titles in Brisbane on Thursday night - and only narrowly failed to take full flight.

Pint-sized Jessicah Schipper - affectionately named after the diminutive bird - threatened to notch the first world record of the eight-day nationals before sheer exhaustion clipped her wings in the 200m butterfly final.

The 20-year-old finished just 0.6sec outside her own world mark of 2min:05.40sec to claim her third straight national 200m butterfly title, almost three seconds ahead of AIS-based rival Felicity Galvez (2:08.93).

Schipper teased the Chandler Aquatic Centre faithful.

She was 0.25sec under her mark in the first 50m, 0.16 under in the second and 0.01 under in the third before fading in the final sprint.

But the laidback Queenslander was more disappointed that she had let the fanatical crowd down.

"That was a bit faster than what I expected so I am very happy with it," she said.

"I could hear the crowd going. They were going nuts and getting louder as I was going.

"I tried my best but in the end it was not good enough.

"I just have to work on that back end."

The strong finish that nabbed Schipper the 100m butterfly gold on Monday night abandoned her on Thursday night.

Schipper mowed down sprint queen Libby Lenton in the two-lap event to claim her third straight 100m butterfly crown.

Galvez also booked her spot on the 2007 world titles team at Melbourne in March.

Meanwhile, Leisel Jones may have finished her Christmas shopping on Thursday but may still have one item remaining on her wish list - lowering her 200m breaststroke world record on Friday night.

Jones qualified fastest for Friday night's 200m final by clocking 2:23.94.

It was well outside her world mark (2:20.54) but Jones wasn't ruling out another crack at the record books.

"I probably didn't have the perfect day (lead-up to race). I did my Christmas shopping but it was a bit hectic," Jones said.

"It was good to just get in there and have a good race.

"Tomorrow I am looking forward to pushing myself.

"I will have to talk to my coach (Stephan Widmer) and see what he thinks (about the world record assault)."

The gulf between Jones - who also holds the 100m breaststroke world mark - and the rest of her competition is widening.

And that's a problem according to the Queenslander with the world titles in sight.

"For me it is a disadvantage. I would like someone nipping at my toes," she said.

"I'm just going to training every day and trying to better my PB, that's what spurs me on at the moment," she said.

"But I am sure someone will come up (and threaten) some day."

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