Swimming: Australians signal Olympics intent with records rampage

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The Independent Online

Look out Beijing, the Australians are coming. With five months to go, the swimmers from Down Under are smashing world records for fun in trials for the main event.

Eamon Sullivan and Libby Trickett reclaimed records at the Olympic trials here yesterday to lay their claims as the world's premier sprinters.

Six world records have been set at the Australian trials this week, matching the total from the European Championships, with two days still to go. Sullivan regained the 50 metres freestyle record he lost to the Frenchman Alain Bernard last weekend when he stormed down one lap of Sydney's Olympic pool in 21.41 seconds.

Less than an hour later, Trickett reclaimed the 100m freestyle record from Germany's Britta Steffen when she stopped the clock in 52.88 seconds.

Trickett, who held the world record in 2004 and 2006, cut 0.42 seconds from Steffen's mark of 53.30, set in 2006.

The Australian thought she had broken the record and the 53-seconds barrier at last year's "Duel in the Pool" against the United States when she was timed at 52.99. But it was later ruled that the record would not count because she was racing in a mixed relay against Michael Phelps.

"I cannot say how much I wanted to do that," Trickett said. "Ever since "Duel in the Pool" last year, I've just wanted it so badly and to see it officially up there is just amazing. With all the talk about me dragging off Michael Phelps, well I've gone 0.1 faster without him in the pool."

Sullivan wiped 0.09 off the record Bernard set last Sunday at the European Championships in Eindhoven. Sullivan had broken the previous record, held by Russia's Alex Popov, in Sydney last month and was distraught when Bernard snatched it from him so quickly.

Sullivan came close to breaking the 100m record on Wednesday, missing it by just two-hundredths of a second, but made amends in the single-lap sprint. "I wanted that record really badly and I'm very, very pleased with myself," Sullivan said. "It's sort of sweet to get this back after missing it last night."