Originally created 04/01/04

Australian swimmer set world record in 100 women's freestyle



SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian teenager Libby Lenton set the women's world 100-meter freestyle record at the Olympic swimming trials Wednesday, clocking 53.66 seconds at the Sydney International Aquatic Center.

Lenton's time in a semifinal swim beat the 53.77 set by Inge de Bruijn of the Netherlands on Sept. 20, 2000 in the same pool at the Sydney Olympics.

Jodie Henry won the other semifinal Wednesday and equaled de Bruijn's former time - five minutes after Lenton's swim.

Lenton, 19, held both hands over her face in shock after the race as her mother Marilyn watched in the stands.

"I want to thank ... mostly my mom. She's just done everything for me," said Lenton, whose mother raised four children as a single parent.

Lenton will have to wait until Thursday night's 100 final to confirm her place on her first Olympic team for Australia at Athens in August.

Asked her reaction, Lenton said: "It was complete and utter disbelief. I knew I felt good but I did not realize I felt that good."

Australia's last women's Olympic 100-meter freestyle gold medalist was Dawn Fraser at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. She was poolside watching Wednesday's race.