Sydney University sprinter Matt Jaukovic has returned to swimming to beat his own Commonwealth record in the 50 metre butterfly on night four of finals at the Telstra Australian Short Course Championships in Hobart tonight, crashing into the wall in 22.28 to take 0.12 off the old record.
Less than six weeks ago the Law student was in quarantine in a Serbian hospital suffering from Swine Flu and pneumonia which saw him have to withdraw from the University Games in Belgrade as a result.
Tonight he was in lane four at the Hobart Aquatic centre needing less than five breaths to cover the 50m short course and set a new Commonwealth mark, just 0.10 short of the world record held by Frenchman Amaury Leveaux.
A former world record holder in the event, Jaukovic said the win was a good reward for missing out on competing in Belgrade.
“I’m more than happy. It was a great personal achievement for me considering six weeks ago I was in a hospital with swine flu and bronchial pneumonia taken out of the athlete’s village in Belgrade at the World University Games, and I missed the entire Games,” Jaukovic said.
“At that point I don’t think I actually even considered racing here at nationals so it was a great achievement for me just to bounce back and do the work that I could possibly have done in the four weeks I had left.
“It’s a PB for me, I defended the title, I was just 0.1 off the world record. A Commonwealth record it is but I was secretly hoping I could get under the 22.18 mark which is the world record but I’m more than happy with my swim and I don’t think I could ask for more, especially considering my preparation or lack thereof.”
The 23-year-old Jaukovic out touched New Zealand’s Corney Swanepoel (22.60) in silver and fellow NSWIS scholarship holder Geoff Huegill (22.80) in bronze.