Coast trio secure Olympic berths
PELICAN Waters' Tessa Wallace booked her berth for the London Olympics last night by claiming a stunning victory in the 200m breaststroke final at the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide.
On an amazing night when three Sunshine Coast swimmers earned spots in the national team, Wallace caused one of the boilovers of the meet.
The 18-year-old, who has battled back after a series of setbacks, including Ross River virus and anaemia, touched the wall in 2.26.31 to edge Sally Foster (2.26.51) and Taylor McKeown (2.26.90). Leisel Jones finished fourth.
"The Olympics is something I've been dreaming of my entire life. I've never wanted to do something so bad," Wallace had told the Daily leading up to the championships.
Earlier in the night, Buderim's Melanie Schlanger won the women's 100m freestyle final.
The 25-year-old, who had already booked her flight to London by earning a relay spot in the 200m freestyle, won in 53.85 seconds to gain an individual berth and another relay spot at the Games in July.
Cate Campbell snared second place (54.01) and Noosa's Brittany Elmslie finished third, in a deadheat with Yolane Kukla (54.08), to forge her way into her second relay team.
Needing a top-six finish to be considered for selection as a relay swimmer, Libby Trickett finished fifth (54.21).
For Schlanger, the result was a defining moment.
She bagged gold and bronze medals in relays at Beijing in 2008, but was desperate to earn a solo spot this time around.
"The individual spot is the one thing I haven't ticked off on my to-do list and it's something I've always wanted," she said before the start of the trials.
"I'VE had my eye on it for my entire preparation since I've been back in the pool (following a short-lived retirement in 2009)," she added.
Schlanger, who linked with Glen Baker's squad on the Gold Coast in 2010, went into the final full of confidence.
"This season has been the best of my career," she said.
"I had an ideal preparation which went from strength to strength and I've surprised myself with my times in racing and in training."
For Elmslie, the London Games will be her first Olympics.
After leaving the Sunshine Coast early last year to join Nudgee Brothers, the 17-year-old has not looked back - setting the swimming scene alight with some impressive showings.
She will compete in two relay teams at London, having also snared fourth place in last Sunday's 200m freestyle final.
Maroochydore's Nick D'Arcy qualified second fastest for tonight's 100m butterfly final, his time of 52.21sec in last night's semi-final shaded by Christopher Wright's 51.83.
D'Arcy will need to finish in the top two and claim an A-qualifying time to be selected for his second event, after already winning the 200m butterfly last Sunday night.
Fourteen-year-old Coolum Beach talent Remy Fairweather qualified fourth fastest for tonight's 800m freestyle final (see above story).