Sophie joins our golden girls

KINGSCLIFF teenager Sophie Edington capped off a memorable world swimming championships with a golden performance in the Australian women's all-powerful 4x100m medley relay team in Montreal yesterday.

Edington and compatriots Leisel Jones, Jess Schipper and Libby Lenton combined to win gold in a time of three minutes and 57.47seconds, just 0.15secs outside the world record set by Australia in Athens last year.

Edington (1:1.48), who displaced world 50m backstroke champion Giaan Rooney, launched Australia's medal assault in fine style and touched the wall third behind the USA and Germany.

Leisel Jones then set about chasing down American Jessica Hardy, the girl who had taken her world 100m breaststroke record earlier in the week.

Jones not only caught Hardy but passed the American on the way to recording a 1:5.73, the fastest 100m breaststroke split in history, and doing her part to earn her third gold medal of the meet.

By the time Jones put Schipper in the water Australia was never going to lose, Schipper (57.13) and Lenton (53.13) posting the third fastest butterfly and freestyle relay splits in history. The US won silver in 3:59.92 and Germany bronze in 4:2.51.

Kingscliff Swimming Club coach Lea Speachley said Edington would be "stoked" with the result.

"She has been fighting to get on the team and now to seal a gold medal ... it's great," Speachley said yesterday.

Speachley, who spoke with Kingscliff head coach Greg Salter - part of the Australian coaching staff in Montreal earlier in the week, said Salter and Edington were both delighted with the 19-year-old's form.

Edington also made the finals in the 50m and 100m backstroke events.

Things didn't turn out so well for Edington's Kingscliff training partner Tayliah Zimmer who failed to make the 200m backstroke finals after a disappointing performance in her semifinal.

Zimmer, one of the rookies on the Australian team, had qualified sixth fastest for the semis but fell off the pace mid-race.

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