Mare Nostrum - Barcelona: Leisel Jones fell just 0.04sec shy of her own world record at the second round of the Mare Nostrum Tour in Spain, sending a reminder to rivals of just how far they have to travel if they are to threaten the Aussie ace in Beijing.
Jones clocked 2:20.58 off splits that were always a touch outside her best: 32.85 (32.19), 1:08.71 (1:08.52), 1:44.55 (1:45.02), 2:20.58 (2:20.54). When Jones broke the world record she came home in 35.51, compared with 36.03 in Barcelona. Jones now has nine of the top 10 fastest times ever:
A model of excellence and consistency if ever there was one. Behind Jones, who also won the 50m in 30.84, in Spain were Mirna Jukic (AUT), on a national record of 2:24.20 and Sally Foster (AUS), in 2:25.80.
Australians dominated the action in Barcelona. For the second time in a week, Jones's teammate Stephanie Rice, on 4:35.42 in the 400m medley, swam faster than any time she had ever done prior to breaking the world record. Second went to Mireia Belmonte Garcia (ESP), in 4:39.09, a national record 0.08sec inside her own previous best, third to Zsuzsanna Jakabos (HUN), in 4:40.53.
The winner's boyfriend Eamon Sullivan (SWE) beat Stefan Nystrand (SWE) in the 100m freestyle, 48.46 to 49.36, with Andrew Lauterstein (AUS) on 49.55 and Cesar Cielo (BRA) on 49.61. There is more to be revealed in the sprint freestyle events before eight men line up for the Beijing final.
Emily Seebohm (AUS) took the 100m backstroke in 1:00.58 ahead of teammate Belinda Hocking, 1:00.65, and former Russian Nina Zhivanevskaya (ESP), on 1:00.74. Three-times world short-course champion Felicity Galvez clocked a 57.60 in the 100m butterfly but won't be in the fight in Beijing, having finished third at Aussie trials.
In 1:57.22 to 1:57.80, Ashley Delaney (AUS) kept Olympic bronze medallist Razvan Florea (ROM) at bay in the 200m backstroke. Patrick Murphy(AUS) gave the Green and Gold shoal a final win of the day with a 3:51.97 effort in the 400m freestyle ahead of Andrew Hurd (CAN), 3:52.44, and Dragos Coman (ROM), 3:52.46.
Things didn't all go the way of the Dolphins. Wendy Trott (RSA) defeated Erika Villaecija Garcia (ESP) with a national record of 8:26.88, to 8:28.38 for the Spaniard, in the 800m freestyle, both ahead of Linda Mackenzie (AUS), on 8:29.73. Mackenzie won the 200m in 1:58.82 ahead of Josefin Lillhage (SWE), on 1:59.46.
Alexander Dale Oen (NOR) beat Brenton Rickard (AUS) in the sprint breastststroke, 1:00.72 to 1:00.98, with Igor Borysik (UKR) on 1:01.26. Sprinter Alice Mills (AUS) continues to struggle in terms of matching faster times gone by, a 25.47 leaving her third in the 50m free behind Lillhage and Flavia Cazziolato (BRA), on 25.35 and 25.39.
Mirna's little brother Dinko (Jukic) continues to get stronger, claiming the 200m butterfly in 1:55.94 ahead of Kaio Almeida (BRA) 1:56.80 and Sebastien Rousseau (RSA), on 1:59.17. Almeida's teammate Thiago Pereira was the easy winner of the 200m medley in 1:59.47.