Friday, 10 February 2012
Libby Trickett says she feels like "less of a fraud" after taking the biggest step yet in her swimming comeback at the NSW championships.
Trickett's chances of reclaiming a place on Australia's team for the London Olympics received a significant boost on Friday as she finished second fastest in the heats of the 100m freestyle.
Trickett clocked 54.87 seconds, shaving a full second off her best time since returning to the pool set at last month's Victorian Championships.
The 27-year-old's time was seven seconds quicker than when she swam at Sydney's Summer Swim Series in January last year and she said she felt she'd now proved herself a serious contender again.
"The fact that I've put together a sub-55 swim, that's competitive," said Trickett of the time, which ranks her 11th in the world this year.
"But really for me the biggest thing I just feel like less of a fraud.
"I feel like I am actually mixing it with these top girls in Australia now and I'm not just like 'hey I used to be really fast at swimming, I'm going to try it again and see how I go but not really swim very fast.'
"I feel like people might believe that I actually might make the Olympic team again and hopefully might be interested to see how that's progressing."
Trickett said her confidence had always been high ahead of next month's Olympic trials in Adelaide.
"It's really nice to see the results but at the end of the day I know what I've been doing in training and that's really all that matters in five weeks time," she said.
Melanie Schlanger topped the 100m freestyle heats in 54.60.
Another comeback swimmer, Michael Klim (50.39), also progressed to the men's 100m freestyle heats behind the clear pace-setter, world champion James Magnussen (49.14).
Magnussen hoped to post another time in the low 48s in Friday night's final after clocking a scorching 48.05 seconds at last month's South Australian championships.
"That (heat swim) was pretty cruisy," Magnussen said.
"This week's been pretty hard at training. We've stepped it up a bit even since Adelaide, so I wasn't exactly sure how I was going to feel out there today but I got through pretty comfortable and backed off a bit at the end there."
Eamon Sullivan was disqualified in his heat for breaking the start, losing a subsequent appeal of the decision.
Triple Olympic gold medallist Stephanie Rice (4:49.93) went through to the 400m individual medley final in her first meet since having shoulder surgery while controversial butterfly swimmer Nick D'Arcy (1:59.10) topped the heats of the men's 200m butterfly in his return from back and hip injuries.