O'Neill Breaks Oldest Swimming Record

Published May 17th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

Olympic champion Susie O'Neill shattered the oldest record in swimming when she went under Mary T. Meagher's 200 meter butterfly world record in a new time of 2min 05.81secs at the Australian Olympic trials in Sydney Wednesday. 

O'Neill sliced 0.15s off the American 'Madam Butterfly's' record of 2:05.96, which had stood since August 13, 1981. 

It was the fifth world record at the trials following Ian Thorpe's three efforts in the 200m and 400m freestyle and Geoff Huegill in the non-Olympic 50m butterfly. 

Urged on by a vociferous capacity crowd at the Olympic pool, O'Neill was under record pace throughout the splits and hit the wall to a thunderous roar. 

"I could hear the crowd the whole time, the whole race I felt really good, I felt strong in the water," said O'Neill. 

"I knew I was going to touch and when I heard the reaction from the crowd I knew I had done it finally. 

"I was starting to wonder whether I would get the record and going into tonight's race I was not expecting to get it so not to disappoint myself again. 

"It's something I've wanted for a long time, it will make giving up swimming a lot easier. 

"I've still got a lot to do before the Olympics." 

The much-loved 26-year-old swam 28.51s for the first 50m under Meagher's pace by half a second. 

Pushed along by 100m national butterfly champion Petria Thomas she was 1:00.24 at halfway compared with the record's 1:01.41 and at the 150m she was 1:32.71 (1:33.69). 

She looked to be tiring in the final 15m but the crowd urged her for one last effort to which she responded. 

Going into the final she had been around half a second off the mark four times as she steadily closed in on one of the great world records. 

Thomas finished second in 2:07.21 with Nicole Hunter third in 2:13.78 - (AFP) 


© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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