Salter warns swim squad
By BOB ANTHONY
KINGSCLIFF swim coach Greg Salter has warned that Australian swimmers will need to improve rapidly if they are to maintain their standing on the international stage.
While Kingscliff's Tayliah Zimmer claimed bronze in the 50m backstroke at the World Swimming Championships in Melbourne last night, American sensation Michael Phelps has led an international charge this week with a series of spectacular swims.
In a pool already regarded as particularly fast, Phelps notched his third world record of the meet last night in the 200m individual medley. His effort taking the total for the championships to 10.
Salter, who is working with squad members Zimmer, Lara Davenport and Hayden Stoeckel at the championships, said the performances at the meet were some of the finest he had seen.
"Swimming is going through something very special at the moment and to be part of it just over a year out from the Olympics is exciting for both swimmers and coaches," he said.
"To think that the girls who were in the final of the 200m freestyle final all posted times which would have won Olympic or World Championships since 1994 indicates just how high the bar has been raised.
"From a coach's point of view, it is certainly keeping us on our toes."
Salter said there had been early indications that the American and European swimmers would produce some outstanding performances in Melbourne but the magnitude of their efforts still amazed.
"The profile of swimmers overseas is now very high and we are seeing that when the bar is raised in terms of times to beat, people are clearing that bar," Salter said.
Zimmer clocked 28.05 seconds to finish third behind world record holder Leila Vaziri (28.16) and Aliaksandra Herasimenia (28.46) respectively in last night's final.
The performance came after she posted a near personal best in the 100m backstroke final, finishing eighth behind American star Natalie Coughlin who eclipsed her own world mark to claim the gold.
Stoeckel, competing in his first world championships, struggled with nerves in the 100m backstroke but Salter expects the youngster to rise to the occasion later this week when he contests the 200m and 50m backstroke events.
The third member of the Kingscliff squad competing at the world championships, Davenport, was part of the Australian team that finished fourth behind America last night in the 4x200m women's freestyle relay.
"It is a great learning curve for these swimmers and the standard of swimming is among the