Aussie swimmers treading water - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Aussie swimmers treading water

By Janelle Miles 28/07/2003 05:40:17 AM Comments (0)

Three years after the Sydney Olympics, world swimming has moved on but Australia has kept treading water.

Australia won six gold medals at the 10th world championships which ended in Barcelona on Sunday, compared with five at the Sydney 2000 Games.

But two of the Australians' titles in Spain, Grant Hackett's in the 800m freestyle and Matt Welsh's in the 50m butterfly, were in non-Olympic events.

Just a year out from the Athens Games, the Americans resumed their rightful place on top of the gold medal tally with 11, while Australia was easily the best of the rest.

Australia declared itself the world's number one swimming nation at the last world championships in Japan two years ago with 13 gold, compared to the Americans' 10 - a meet that ended Don Talbot's 12-year reign as head coach.

His successor, Scott Volkers, said the Fukuoka meet was never a good litmus test of world swimming supremacy with big names like Russian great Alexander Popov missing.

"The worlds after an Olympic year, it's really play-time for a lot of people," he said.

"This one's a lot more serious. There's really no comparison. The times are much faster.

"I certainly think there's a much closer representation of the truth here at this meet than there was in 2001."

The Barcelona championships have also given triple Olympic champion Ian Thorpe a reality check as he prepares for Athens.

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