Rice books London berth

Triple Olympic champion Stepha­nie Rice shrugged off a nagging shoulder injury to book her ticket to London by roa­ring to the Australian 400 metres individual medley title in Adelaide on Thursday. 

Stephanie Rice celebrates her win on Thursday.

After trailing Samantha Hamill at the turn of the first butterfly leg, the 23-year-old world record holder assumed control in the backstroke and powered home to post a world class time of four minutes 33.45 seconds at the South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Rice, who also holds the 200M IM Olympic title, finished more than four seconds in front of runner-up Blair Evans and was brimful of confidence after sealing her sixth straight national title. "(It's) the biggest relief, the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders," she told reporters after pumping both her arms in the air upon seeing her winning time.

"I guess (it's) the toughest preparation I've had to date, I had to really just get my head around the fact that I couldn't do the sessions that I was doing in the leadup to Beijing."

Rice's time was just four seconds shy of her world mark set at the Beijing Games and the second fastest this year behind Britain's Hannah Miley who posted a 4:32.67 at the British championships earlier this month.

It sets an impressive marker ahead of London, as Rice continues her recovery from arthroscopic surgery on her troublesome shoulder in December. "It's still torn which is why I've had a bit of trouble with it," added Rice.

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