Clements loses medley by hair

Limpert fourth

November 27, 2003|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,SUN STAFF

SYDNEY, Australia - Michael Phelps was the only American to win at the Qantas Skins, but his training partner had the closest call among the rest of the visitors.

Kevin Clements finished second in the Mystery Medley, just 0.33 of a second behind Australian Olympian Justin Norris in a race designed to feature an ebb and flow.

The customary order of an individual medley is butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle. Norris drew an order of fly, breast, back and free. Clements opened with the breast - slowest of the four strokes - surged through the free and fly, and finished with the back, in which he couldn't hold off Norris.

"That's still a pretty good swim for Kevin," North Baltimore Aquatic Club coach Bob Bowman said.

Clements, a former Auburn athlete, moved into Phelps' home last spring when he began training with the North Baltimore Aquatic Club. At the Summer Nationals last August, Clements became the second-fastest American ever in the 200 IM.

Marianne Limpert, another newcomer to the NBAC, finished fourth in the women's Mystery Medley, 0.17 behind runner-up Amanda Beard. Limpert, a silver medalist in 1996, is looking to make her record fourth Canadian Olympic team.

"I swam in the first two Qantas Skins, in 1996 and '97," Limpert said. "I told that to all the girls in the ready room. One said, `That's before our time.'"

Emily Goetsch and Jamie Barone, meanwhile, didn't survive the first round of their events.

Goetsch, a reigning national titlist, was the slowest of the six competitors in the first round of the women's 50 butterfly sprint.

Barone was eliminated in the first round of the men's 50 breaststroke sprint, even though he was only 0.11 behind former world record-holder Ed Moses.

Moses, of Virginia's Curl Burke Club, finished second in the four-race event behind Australia's Brenton Rickard.

Phelps wasn't the only double winner. Petria Thomas, a 27-year-old Australian recovering from her third reconstructive shoulder operation, took home $10,000 as she won the women's middle-distance freestyle and butterfly sprint.

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