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Libby Trickett after the 100m freestyle final. Picture: Getty Images
Libby Trickett after the 100m freestyle final. Picture: Getty Images

Libby Trickett ensured a happy ending to one of swimming's comeback stories after booking her ticket to London at the Olympic swimming trials in Adelaide tonight.

Needing a top-six finish in the 100m freestyle to be considered for selection as a relay swimmer in London, Trickett finished fifth in 54.21 seconds behind race winner Melanie Schlanger (53.85) in the decider.

Schlanger, 25, capped a return of her own after she briefly walked away from the sport after failing to make the 2010 Commonwealth Games team.

Cate Campbell (54.01) was second, to seal the other individual berth for London while Yolane Kukla (54.08), Brittany Elmslie (54.08) and Alicia Coutts (54.25) also earned a shot at relay selection.

Trickett now appears certain to be included in the Australian team when it is announced on Thursday night.

"It's unbelievable," a tearful Trickett said.

"This whole journey for me has been probably more challenging emotionally and spiritually and mentally than it has been physically.

"I got through this whole two years with my family and my friends and (husband) Luke, and I get to the share that with them now.

"It's hard to describe. I'm just so over the moon that I have the opportunity to represent my country at a third Olympic Games."

The 27-year-old has bucked the trend of comeback attempts falling flat in Adelaide though Trickett's hope of a return always appeared more realistic, given she spent only around 18 months out of the pool following the 2009 world championships.

Five-time Olympic gold medallist Ian Thorpe failed to secure a place in the 100m and 200m freestyle while Michael Klim's hopes ended on Tuesday night when he was only 14th fastest in the 100m butterfly semi-finals in 53.72.

"I'm disappointed. I wanted to have another swim in the final," said Klim, who confirmed it was the last swim of his career.

"But from an effort point of view, I've done everything right in the last 18 months.

"I think it's just the realisation of that's where my ability is at 34 and probably that's as hard as the truth is that's what I've had to come to terms with."

Geoff Huegill's hopes of carrying his long-running return all the way to London remain alive after he qualified in 52.57 behind fastest qualifier Chris Wright (51.83).

Nick D'Arcy (52.21), Matt Targett (52.31) and Sam Ashby (52.53) also went through.

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20-03-12 2102

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