Top swimmers miss cut for world titles - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Top swimmers miss cut for world titles

By Tom Wald and Laine Clark 10/12/2006 09:47:42 PM Comments (0)

It was the night of the long knives at the world championships trials in Brisbane.

Olympic relay gold medallist Alice Mills, world record holder Jade Edmistone and Olympic silver medallist Brooke Hanson all missed out on selection for next year's world titles in Melbourne.

However Mills's cut was the deepest with the 20-year-old failing to make the team by one hundredth of a second to long-time training partner Jodie Henry in the 50m freestyle.

Libby Lenton (24.63seconds) rounded out a storming meet by creaming the field in the one-lap dash with Henry (25.01s) defeating Mills (25.02s) by the finest of margins.

Mills had earlier in the meet finished seventh in the 100m freestyle final, missing a guaranteed relay berth.

Lenton felt Mills' absence would be a massive blow to the national team and has dented Australia's chances of the women's 4x100m relay toppling the mighty Germans next March.

"I am incredibly sad that she didn't make it, not only for the fact that it is a huge, huge blow for our relay team but for the fact that she is a genuinely nice person," she said.

"I really enjoy her company on the team so it is a loss not only for our relays but the entire team.

"I hope she can use this to make her a stronger person and an even stronger trainer and even stronger competitor."

A devastated Mills, who rarely brushes her commitments, opted not to talk the media after missing the team for the first time since the 2001 worlds in Fukuoka, Japan.

Henry had mixed emotions, she was delighted she had earned the berth but felt for her teammate.

"There is nothing that can be said that is going to make her feel any better," said Henry.

Asked if she would consider stepping aside in the event for Mills, Henry said: "I don't think Alice would like to do that."

Lenton said the task of the Australian women's 4x100m relay, the reigning Olympic and world champion quartet, had been made more difficult without Mills against the world record-holding Germans.

"We have set ourselves a tough task," she said.

"I don't think it is going to be impossible but if there is one thing that Australians have proved time and time again, we are pretty tough and we will take on the challenges as best as we can. Ultimately this is not the main priority and maybe it will give a couple of other girls an opportunity."

Meanwhile Grant Hackett (14:56.00) finished off his taxing week by winning the 1500m but it was a case of close but no cigar for Craig Stevens (15:00.59) who just missed out on cracking the 15-minute barrier.

Reigning 50m breaststroke world champion Edmistone (31.01), who moved back home to Queensland following this year's Commonwealth Games, said she would plan her next move soon after finishing second to Leisel Jones (30.60s) and outside the qualifying time.

"I have to take some time and have a think about it obviously I want to make the Olympic team so I will probably knuckle down and do some work for the 100m," she said.

Hanson (32.19s) missed the cut after finishing fourth in the 50m breaststroke event but has vowed to swim on in an attempt to make the 2008 Beijing Olympics team.

In the last individual event of the night, Jennifer Reilly (4:38.62) peeled more than two seconds off her national record in the 400m individual medley.

The 23-year-old West Australian has fought back after missing last year's Montreal worlds championships with illness and seemingly being overtaken by youngsters Stephanie Rice and Lara Carroll.

"I made my first team in 1998 and everyone has their ups and downs in that time and luckily I am back on an up," she said.

"I am really happy and changed coaches and changed training methods and I lost a little bit of weight, it has all paid off."

In other events, WA's Adam Lucas (4:18.68) won his third national title in the 400m IM.

Backstroker Matt Welsh won his third race of the week by claiming the 50m backstroke in 25.48s.

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