The start list for the Sydney (AUS) leg, the third of the 2007 FINA/ARENA Swimming World Cup on November 2-3, predicts the competition will be an exciting international showdown. The Australian swimmers, who just finished collecting 43 medals at the second meet of the series in Singapore, will surely be focused on continuing to dominate at home. However, they will face intense pressure from a range of big name foreign competitors, including top-seeded French freestyler’s Alain Bernard and Alena Popchanka, as well as Sophie Huber and Coralie Balmy. American Randall Bal, for both the 50 and 100m backstroke, is formidable opponent for Australian’s Robert Hurley and Matt Welsh in the same events.
Nevertheless, racers in the women’s pool must contend with Australia’s regular record-breakers Lisbeth Lenton (top-seeded in three events) and breaststroker-to-beat Leisel Jones, as well as teenagers Kylie Palmer and Barratt Bronte, both favourites for several of the freestyle events. But the presence of Finland’s Hanna-Maria Seppala, top-seeded in the 100m IM, is another force to be reckoned with. Not to be forgotten are the British, including well-ranked Fran Halsall, Elizabeth Simmonds (as yet only 16 years old), freestyler Joanne Jackson, and breaststroker Kirsty Balfour, who are never far behind.