Dual Olympic champion Kieren Perkins was third fastest in 1500 metre freestyle heats in Sydney Friday as he attempts to make the Sydney Games and defend his Olympic crown.
He was ranked behind current world champion Grant Hackett and Craig Stevens on times.
Perkins, who needs a top two finish in Saturday's final to make his third Games, clocked 15 minutes, 35.99 seconds in his heat at the Australian Olympic trials.
In the second qualifying heat, Hackett touched the wall in 15:19.86, ahead of Stevens in 15:35.67.
But Perkins was satisfied with his time and said he was feeling comfortable in the water.
"It was alright, I wanted to get in there and get out in the front and hopefully in the middle lane for the final," he said.
"Tomorrow's another day, we have got a long time between now and then and a lot of things are going to happen for all of us, it's just a matter of who's going to be mentally prepared."
However, he admitted he had received a confidence boost from the withdrawal of two of the biggest threats to his Olympic team chances, Ian Thorpe and Daniel Kowalski.
"With Daniel not swimming, and Thorpey as well, I'd be lying if I didn't say that relieves some of the pressure," he said.
Hackett, the clear favourite for Saturday's final, said he was putting all his effort into Olympic selection rather than times.
"I don't think I have got anything to prove," he said. "I have no expectations beyond those top two spots" - (several sources)
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