Henry shows she has racer's edge - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Henry shows she has racer's edge

By Guy Hand 07/01/2008 09:48:05 PM Comments (0)

After two horror months, swim queen Jodie Henry unleashed the racer within at the Victorian championships to raise hopes her less than ideal preparation may not yet derail her bid to retain her Olympic title.

Henry won a women's 50m freestyle gold medal few expected her to win at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre - swimming 25.39 seconds to edge out fellow Aussie Olympic hopefuls Alice Mills (25.42) and Sally Foster (25.81).

Henry's bungled change of coaches, a lack of race practice not helped by a disqualification at the Queensland titles last month and health problems have dogged her Beijing build-up.

When she withdrew from the 100m freestyle at this meet because of illness, the bubbles were frothing on a possible swimming soap opera ahead of the national Olympic selection trials in March.

But Henry has spent the past two days showing that when she does swim, she does it fast, reducing her 50m times through the heats, the semi-final and Monday night's final.

"It felt really good," Henry said.

"I've been training all this week and I feel the water's slowly coming back to me. Up until this week I hadn't sprinted in a couple of months. It's good to see I've still got the speed.

"It's not a super fast time or anything, but I'm happy I can go back into training and swim fast."

Henry is set to rely on her racer's instincts as she shrugs off the remnants of illness which had caused her stomach pain severe enough to restrict her swimming.

She revealed she would bypass the NSW state titles next month in favour of smaller Queensland meets she hopes will allow her to get much-needed race practice and ease back into peak condition.

"Brisbane swimming usually puts quite a few on, but I'm not sure of the calendar this year," Henry said.

"I'm always a good racer, so it's not that important I get heaps of races under my belt."

American star Natalie Coughlin withdrew from Henry's 50m final - the second time she has withdrawn from a final at this meet after qualifying fastest through the semi-finals.

Up-and-coming NSW swimmer Daniel Arnamnant captured his second gold medal of the championships, adding the 100m backstroke to the 50m he won at the weekend.

AIS swimmer Felicity Galvez gave herself an opportunity to complete a butterfly clean sweep on Tuesday night, qualifying fastest for the women's 50m butterfly final after winning the 100m and 200m earlier in the meet.

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