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Daily wraps from Australian Swimming Championships

9 April 2015

SWIMMING: The Australian Championships are being held at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre with the new breed of stars like Mack Horton and Emma McKeon sharing the spotlight with triple Olympian Grant Hackett. Swimmers are chasing World Championship selection as a big step on their way to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. See the day by day finals wraps below:

Magnussen pips McEvoy for gold: Day 7 Wrap

The fastest men in Australia sent the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre into whitewash tonight with James Magnussen taking an emphatic win in the men’s 50m freestyle final at the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships.

Magnussen ducked under 20 seconds to touch in 21.98 and take his third Australian title in this event, equalling his number of 100m freestyle titles.

“I felt like I probably had a little more speed than that. But it felt alright, it just took a while to wind up. I was concentrating on trying to stay light and not muscle it too much. I just got on the wall in the end. It’s good to get a win,” Magnussen said.

“Even though I lost that 100, it didn’t really knock my confidence,” Magnussen said of his training plan.

“I’m still in early stages with the boys and I know we’ve got a lot to work on…I’m pretty confident that that’s the team I need to get the three-peat [three consecutive World Titles].”

Gold medallist from the 100m free Cameron McEvoy added a silver medal to his 2015 haul, clocking 22.03, missing the chance to take the freestyle sprint treble by just 0.05 of a second. Matthew Abood grabbed bronze in 22.30.

Completing what McEvoy couldn’t, Emily Seebohm demonstrated her dominance with a win in the women’s 200m back final tonight, taking her title tally to three from the meet. Seebohm stopped the clock in 2:06.69, just 0.01 of a second outside the all comers record to complete a clean sweep of the backstroke events.

The silver medal went to Melbourne Vicentre’s Hayley Baker who’s time of 2:08.21 was quick enough to secure her a spot on her first senior Australian team. The bronze medal went to Madison Wilson who was a touch behind in 2:08.57.

In other events…

Men’s 100m Butterfly

After seeing a new personal best in the semi-final last night, Tommaso D’Orsogna edged close to that time again tonight to win the final and take the Australian title in the men’s 100m butterfly. The 24-year-old swam 51.92, just outside the FINA World Championships qualifying time, but was happy with both his time and the win.

Jayden Hadler, who won the 50m butterfly earlier in the week, backed up over the two-lap race to take silver. Hadler had also set a new personal best time of 51.66 in the semis and came close in the final, touching in 51.96. David Morgan rounded out the medals winning bronze in 52.03.

Women’s 800m Freestyle

Defending Champion Jessica Ashwood blitzed the field in the women’s 800m freestyle final, finishing almost five seconds clear of her closest rival to take the championship title in a time of 8:26.09. Ashwood, who also won the women’s 400m freestyle earlier in the meet, successfully dipped iunder the qualifying time and was too strong for TSS Aquatics swimmer Kiah Melverton (8:31.01)and West Coast’s Tamsin Cook (8:34.31).

Women’s 50m Butterfly

St Peter’s Western swimmer Brittany Elmslie won her first title of the meet with a win in the women’s 50m butterfly final. Joining her on the podium was Emma McKeon (26.15) with the silver medal and Marieke D’Cruz (26.38) with the bronze.

Women’s 200m Individual Medley Multi Class

The women’s 200m Multi Class individual medley title was awarded to Teigan Van Roosmalen (SM13) who narrowly took the crown ahead of Madeleine Scott (SM9). Van Roosmalen hit the wall in a time of 2:42.57 for a total of 783 points while silver medallist Scott finished in a time of 2:40.45 for 782 points. Taylor Corry (SM14) backed up from the 200m freestyle earlier in the meet to pick up the bronze medal in 2:36.76.

Men’s 200m Individual Medley Multi Class

Matthew Levy (SM7) won the men’s 200m individual medley 2:37.13 (925 points). Thirty-year-old Rick Pendleton (SM10) was second in 2:14.59 while Jeremy Tidy (SM10) from Nunawading was third in 2:17.55.

Men’s 150m S3-S4 Individual Medley

The final event of the night was the men’s 150m S3-S4 individual medley – with two crowd favourites taking to the pool. Grant Patterson, better known as Scooter raced his friend Ahmed Kelly with each swimmer looking for the gold and bragging rights. Patterson went in as the defending champion in the event and held his title, taking five seconds off his time from 2014. He swam 3:10.37 to win with 636 points ahead of Kelly’s 3:01.50 and 520 points.

Women’s 200m Freestyle Multi Class

Paralympian Maddison Elliott (S8) got the better of her teammate Taylor Corry (S14) to take top spot in the final of the women’s 200m Multi Class freestyle. Elliott hit the wall in 2:28.12 to grab the gold medal and relegate Corry to silver in 2:15.19 while Teneale Houghton (S15) bagged the bronze in 2:17.86.

Men’s 50m Backstroke Semi-finals

Ben Treffers from Burley Griffin was the top qualifier the men’s 50m backstroke in a time of 24.76 seconds. Treffers edged out the 100m and 200m champion Mitch Larkin who will move through ranked second in 25.40, followed by London Olympian Daniel Arnamnart in 25.49.

Women’s 50m Freestyle semi-finals

Australian champion from the 100m freestyle Cate Campbell will be looking to complete the freestyle double when she dives in for the splash and dash 50m free final tomorrow night. After cruising through the semi-finals in a time of 24.19, Cate will go through as favourite ahead of younger sister Bronte and Olympian Melanie Wright (24.93).

Women’s 50m Breaststroke semi-finals

The women’s 50m breaststroke final will see Sweden’s Jennie Johansson progress as the fastest qualifier after clocking a 31.01 to take out her semi-final tonight. The fastest Australian qualifier was Sally Hunter in 31.14 with Lorna Tonks (31.23) and Leiston Pickett (31.36) moving through in third and fourth place respectively. With less than one second separating the top eight, the gold medal and Australian title is anyone’s for the taking.

World class Cate set for title defence: Day 6 Wrap

Reigning World Champion Cate Campbell has picked up her third Australian title in the women’s 100m freestyle final, overcoming a shoulder injury and limited training to book a spot in the Australian Dolphins Swim Team and the chance to defend her world title in Russia.

After turning in second place behind her younger sister Bronte, Cate stormed home in the final 50 metres and hit the wall in a time of 52.69; the equal top time in the world for 2015.

“Yeah I’m very, very happy with that,” Cate said of the race.

“It was a smart swim more than anything else. I used every bit of the training I had done and that’s what got me that time. I just swam my own race and made sure I attacked all the things that I needed to attack and I’m very, very pleased with that result. I knew I was in for some mega-pain but you know what, you’ve just got to embrace it.

Bronte was always going to make that very tough for me and she absolutely did, she swam like an absolute champion tonight and I really have to give her a lot of credit. She’s there by my side every step of the way and I wouldn’t be the swimmer I am without her and without Simon, my coach.”

Bronte was just a touch behind and will retain her spot at number two in the world rankings for 2015 after clocking a 53.04 to secure the silver medal and an individual swim in Russia.

The sister act, who are fierce competitors in the water, are inseparable out of it with Bronte praising Cate’s efforts.

“I am so unbelievably thrilled for Cate because she’s had a really, really tough year, she’s been racing with an injury for over a year and then had to come back from surgery so I’m so glad she could get up and do that tonight,” Bronte said.

The bronze medal went to Melanie Wright in 53.50 with Brittany Elmslie (53.66), Emma Mckeon (53.68) andAlicia Coutts (54.56) rounding out the top six.

In the Multi Class events, Daniel Fox (S14) broke a world record in the men’s 100m Multi Class freestyle, taking the title in 53.53 with 1039 points. The 23-year-old from Chandler spoke with confidence after his race of heading to the IPC World Championships in Glasgow where he hopes to lower the record even further. Joshua Alford (S14) was second in 55.79 with Matthew Levy (S7) taking bronze in 1:02.67.

The corresponding women’s event saw Taylor Corry (S14), take the Australian Multi Class title in the 100m free after putting together an impressive race in 1:01.72. Paralympians Jacqui Freney (S7) and Maddison Elliottcollected the silver and bronze medals with their times of 1:09.58 and 1:06.84 respectively.

In other events…

Men’s 200m Backstroke

St Peters Western swimmer Mitch Larkin grabbed his second national title and second individual World Championship berth when he won the final of the men’s 200m backstroke. His time of 1:55.52 was just a fraction outside his own Australian record which he set at this event last year.

“When I tried to force it a bit my stroke bounces a bit,” Larkin said of his final 25 metres that lacked the smooth style most of his race boasted.

“It’s something to improve on. I’ll get another crack at it at Worlds.”

Larkin, the 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, will be accompanied in Russia by the Glasgow silver medallist Joshua Beaver who was second in 1:56.48. Ashley Delaney took home bronze in 1:58.84.

Women’s 200m Backstroke semi-final

Dual silver medallist from the meet so far Madison Wilson could upgrade to gold tomorrow night after qualifying fastest for the women’s 200m backstroke final, two seconds clear of her closest rival in 2:08.27. Both Emily Seebohm (2:10.36) and Hayley Baker (2:11.01.) will be looking to go faster in the final tomorrow night and dip under the qualifying time, set at 2:09.84.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke

The women’s 200m breaststroke final came down to the touch with London Olympian Tessa Wallace stealing the win at the wall in a time of 2:23.34. Wallace was too strong in the final stages of the race, extending her stroke to get over the top of the defending champion Taylor McKeown (2:23.77) and dual Olympian Sally Hunter (2:24.38).

Men’s 50m Freestyle Semi-Finals

The men’s 50m freestyle will see Cameron McEvoy and James Magnussen go head to head once again with the regular rivals first and second respectively for tomorrow’s final. McEvoy was the fastest qualifier in 22.24 whilst Magnussen also won his semi-final in 22.34.

Matthew Abood who won the title in 2009 and 2011, will be looking to upset the two front-runners. The 28-year-old clocked the third fastest semi-final time in 22.34. With just 0.44 seconds separating first from eighth in the semi-final standings – tomorrow night’s final is set to be a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ scenario.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke

Youth Olympian Nicholas Schafer won his first Australian title, taking out the men’s 200m breaststroke. The 23-year-old who has been training with the Wisconsin Badgers in the USA, won gold in s time of 2:12.47. West Australian Lennard Bremmer was second in 2:13.63 just a fingernail ahead of Joshua Tierney in 2:13.66.

Men’s 100m Butterfly Semi-Finals

Olympian Jayden Hadler from Commercial in Queensland was the fastest qualifier for the final of the men’s 100m butterfly. His time of 51.66 seconds was a new personal best and if he can repeat that in tomorrow’s final, will qualify him for World Championships. His training partner Tommaso D’Orsogna also set a new personal best time when he qualified second fastest in 51.90.

Women’s 50m Butterfly semi-final

Brittany Elmslie could step up to the top of the podium tomorrow night and pick up her first Australian title of the meet when she takes on the final of the women’s 50m butterfly. Elmslie’s time of 26.32 was the fastest from the semi-finals followed by Emma McKeon in 26.69 and Marieke D’Cruz in 26.80.

Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay

Grant Hackett anchored Miami to gold in the 4 x 200m club relay in a record time of 7:10.24. The time would have broken the 1998 world record and made the final at the 2012 Olympic Games. Dan Smith led Miami out, followed by Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Jordan Harrison. Melbourne Vicentre were second in 7:29.86 with Nunawading third in 7:33.79.

McEvoy victorious in sprint showdown: Day 5 Wrap

Yet another chapter was written in the epic battle for the top of the podium in the men’s 100m freestyle, at the 2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships.

The fifth night of finals had the crowd on the edge of their seats at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre as sprint sensations Cameron McEvoy and James Magnussen went head-to-head in a battle for bragging rights.

It was the gold medallist from the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships, McEvoy who emerged victorious, defending his title in a time of 48.06.

“I’m really happy with the win,” McEvoy said. “I do take pride in always trying to be consistent when I step up to the big competitions and so far I have been able to do that. It’s something that me and my coach really work on and make it one of the number one priorities, so I’m happy that I can do that.

Getting up and racing Maggie, I could be racing a bunch of 10-year-olds at a local meet – I am still going to try and hit my own race and do what I can do best. It doesn’t really matter who I race as long as I keep my race plan consistent I’ll get the outcome consistently.”

Magnussen had to settle for silver in 48.18, securing his ticket to Kazan where he will have the opportunity to take out the world title for the third time after winning the event in Shanghai 2011 and again in Barcelona 2013.

“It’s pretty disappointing,” Magnussen said. “I’ve been feeling a bit off with my swim so tonight I wanted to go after it. I’m really happy with the way I swam it I just died pretty bad at the end.”

Olympian Tommaso D’Orsogna was third in 48.54 while surprise packet, 16-year-old Kyle Chalmers set a new Australian age record to finish fourth in 48.69. The 2011 World Championship 4x100m freestyle relay gold medallist Matthew Abood was fifth in 49.33 and backstroke specialist Ashley Delaney was sixth in 49.37.

With four men under the 49-second mark, the relay team for Kazan will be a force to be reckoned with.

In the corresponding women’s event, the depth in the women’s 100m freestyle semi-final was also world class.

Seeing the Campbell sisters ranked first and second fastest in is a regular occurrence, but it’s not often you see Bronte get the better of Cate.

Bronte, the younger of the two at 20, took out the first semi-final in a time of 53.05 to get the better of older sister Cate, 22, who won the second semi-final in 53.08.

“It was a little bit of a role reversal but its okay I see that every day in training now days so, it’s not too much of a surprise to have it official,” Cate said.

With both girls over a second clear of the qualifying time it will be a battle for sprint supremacy between the siblings in the final.

With relay spots also up for grabs tomorrow night, the competition will be fierce after five semi-finalists including, Emma McKeon (53.61), Brittany Elmslie (53.72) and Melanie Wright (53.73), all went under the 54-second barrier tonight.

“It just goes to show the depth of this event in Australia, it’s so exciting to see everyone stepping up and performing and like I said this is only going to be good news for the relay team, so it will be exciting!” Cate said.

The gold medallist from the 100m backstroke Emily Seebohm set a blistering pace in the final of the women’s 50m back, hitting the wall in a time of 27.47 to set a new Commonwealth, Australian and all-comers record in the event.

Just a touch behind and taking home the silver medal was Madison Wilson in a time of 27.90 with 14-year-old Minna Atherton making her way onto the podium for third in 28.32.

In other events…

Men’s 200m Individual Medley
The move to North Baltimore to train with Michael Phelps under American coach Bob Bowman has paid dividends for Daniel Tranter, winning the 200m individual medley in a time of 1:58.73

“It was a tough one,” Tranter said. “I knew that I probably didn’t have as much fitness that I needed to be able to back end it like I usually do and what that meant was I had to try and get out there a little bit faster with that natural speed that I have and try and hold on,” Tranter said.

“I know if I can go 1:58-mid with two and a half months of solid training, then I’ll be able to rock it come Russia.”

Tracey Menzies coached Justin James was second in 1:58.86 with Thomas Fraser-Holmes rounding out the medals for bronze in 1:59.55.

Women’s 200m Butterfly
The women’s 200m butterfly final saw defending champion Madeline Groves and rising star Brianna Throssell in a tussle for the title. Groves, who won silver in the 100m butterfly earlier in the meet managed to upgrade to gold tonight in 2:05.41, knocking almost two seconds off her previous personal best and setting a new all-comers record, previously set by Susie O’Neill before the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

World Short Course representative Brianna Throssell secured the silver medal and a spot on her first long course senior team with a time of 2:07.29, while the bronze medal was awarded to Keryn McMaster in 2:12.07.

Women’s Multi Class 50m Backstroke 
Paralympian Maddison Elliott (S8) picked up her first Australian Multi Class title of the meet with a win in the women’s 50m backstroke. Elliott set a new world record in her classification with a time of 38.23 to get the better of Lakeisha Patterson (S8) in 38.75 and Ashleigh McConnell (S9) in 36.11.

Men’s Multi Class 200m Freestyle
Chandler’s Daniel Fox (S14) won gold and the Australian title in the men’s 200m freestyle multi class. Fox touched the wall first in 1:59.32 to earn 947 points, the highest in the field. Brendan Hall (S9) won the silver medal in 2:01.34 while Joshua Alford (S14) was third in 2:01.65.
Timothy Disken (S9) defended his title in the men’s 50m backstroke multi class, touching in 30.75 seconds, just shy of his 2014 time. Michael Anderson (S10) was second in a time of 29.13. Timothy Hodge (S9) rounded out the medals for bronze in 31.16.

Women’s 200m Breaststroke semi-final
The women’s 200m breaststroke semi-finals saw Taylor McKeown one step closer to completing the breaststroke double when she took out her heat in 2:24.51 and recorded the top time for tomorrow night’s final. London Olympian Tessa Wallace was the next best, stopping the clock in 2:25.30 with Sally Hunter ranked third in 2:27.30.

Men’s 200m Breaststroke Semi-Finals
With 2014 champion Christian Sprenger not competing in the men’s 200m breaststroke, the field in the semi-finals was wide open for some new stars. Youth Olympian Nicholas Schafer took out the first semi-final by a body length in a time of 2:13.21 and will head into the final as the fastest qualifier.

Sixteen-year-old Matthew Wilson took line honours in the second semi in a new Australian age record time of 2:13.33. Buster Sykes was the third fastest qualifier in 2:14.04.

Men’s 200m Backstroke Semi-Finals
Mitch Larkin set a blistering time of 1:56.81 in his semi-final of the men’s 200m backstroke. The 21-year-old from Brisbane was nearly three seconds clear of the next fastest qualifier with Joshua Beaver touching in 1:59.29 and Robert Gerlach third fastest in 2:00.88.

Check out some of the great images from the Championships here

 

McKeon wins 200m as men prepare for 100m showdown: Day 4 Wrap

The women’s 200m freestyle headlined the fourth night of finals at the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships with the Commonwealth Games gold medallist in this event Emma McKeon securing top spot on the podium for the second time at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre this week.  

“It hurt a lot," McKeon said of the race. “Yesterday, it took me a bit to get going so tonight I took it out fast in the first 100, well faster in the first 100 so I could come away with a good time…I think that’s the right speed to go out in, I just need to be able to do it easier.” 

McKeon was too strong for the rest of the field and stormed home to secure the championship crown in a time of 1:55.88; the second fastest time in the world this year behind Femke Heemskerk from the Netherlands and almost a full second ahead of her closest rival. 

“I’d like to go 1:54, that’s the fastest time in the 200 free this year so I want to be up with that,” Mckeon said.  

In a comeback of a different kind, Olympian Kylie Palmer hit the wall in second place, securing a spot on the World Championship team and an individual swim in this event in Russia. 

Palmer, who clocked 1:56.68 for the silver medal, struggled at last year’s Australian Championships and missed out on a spot on both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championship teams in 2014. 

“Oh man, it’s been a very, very tough year for me, probably more so mentally than anything,” Palmer said. 

“I’ve made some really awesome changes which has led to me being really happy so, yeah, I’m very stoked right now. 

"So I moved clubs, new coach – I’ve got a coach who trusts in me and wants the best for me and I’ve got a squad around me who are a little bit younger, still up and coming, who are very determined to make the team and I think for me that’s been a really awesome step for me in this stage of my career – just to get me excited about the sport again and love training every day and it’s obviously paid off.” 

The bronze medal went to Brittany Elmslie in 1:56.91 with Melanie Wright (1:57.37), Bronte Barratt (1:57.46) and Leah Neale (1:57.46) rounding out the top six who could be eligible for relay selection. 

Cameron McEvoy, the defending champion of the men’s 100m freestyle Australian title goes into Tuesday night’s final as the fastest qualifier, having won his semi-final tonight in a time of 48.60. 

“I swum my two races today how I would have liked to swim them, so that’s really good to know that I had that control over my speed,” McEvoy said. 

“I’ll have the full morning off tomorrow to relax, do whatever and take my mind off the final.” 

The title defence won’t come easy. A slightly lethargic James Magnussen was fourth fastest in 49.11 but a day’s rest is sure to see the World Champion firing to challenge for top spot.

Both Magnussen and McEvoy will need to watch out for 16-year-old Kyle Chalmers. The South Australian teenager, who represented Australia at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in China, was second fastest in 48.89 and will have his eye on a podium finish. 

“He’ll be a good ally to have for me and James,” McEvoy said of Chalmers’ result. 

“After that swim I would have full faith in him coming out, even next year, and challenging us big-wigs.” 

Olympians Tommaso D’Orsogna, Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Ashley Delaney rounded out the top six qualifiers. 

In the 200m butterfly, Grant Irvine swam 1:55.98 to win gold just a fingernail ahead of David Morgan who swam a massive personal best of 1:55.99 with both swimmers qualifying for the World Championship team. 

After missing selection to the 2012 Olympic Team by a fraction of a second, Irvine’s retribution came when he made the team for the 2013 World Championships. Now heading to his second Worlds, Irvine is focused not on retribution but success. 

“I took it out fast tonight. It was all about just trying to get out there and put it all on the line really and just hold on and see what we could do,” Irvine said. 

“Trying to get on the medal dais and the top five in the world,” he said of his plans for Worlds. “So dropping my time down to 1:54 by worlds would be my goal.” 

Keiran Qaium, 22, rounded out the medals with third in 1:57.85. 

Swimming Australia Release (modified)

Hackett back on team as McEvoy makes quantum leap: Day 3 Finals Wrap

After six years out of the pool and just six months back in it, Grant Hackett has beaten all the odds to qualify for the Australian Dolphins Swim Team for the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia. 

In a stacked final of the 200m freestyle at the 2015 Australian Swimming Championships, it was Cameron McEvoy who emerged victorious. The 20-year-old stormed to the wall in 1:45.94 to secure the national title as well as a coveted berth on the World Championships team. 

“I had a lot of expectation on what time it would take to win it and also a lot of expectation of the depth that would happen here and that it would be pretty much anyone’s race,” McEvoy said.

“Everyone had their opinion on who might come out on top and what might have happened but Einstein didn’t believe in quantum mechanics and he ended up being wrong…we are not reformulating physics in the pool, we are just swimming four laps.” McEvoy a budding physicist said. 

“There were four or five different tactics in that race. You had my front-end speed being a sprinter, and Tom, Dave and Grant’s back-end speed being long distance and middle distance swimmers. It’s good for the relay team coming up.” 

McEvoy narrowly edged out David McKeon who was second in 1:46.33, adding to his 400m individual berth in the 200m for Kazan. Pan Pacific Championship gold medallist Thomas Fraser-Holmes was third in 1:46.83 ensuring his relay spot and Hackett was fourth in 1:46.84. 

“It’s a different sort of achievement,” Hackett said. “If you’d asked me 10 years ago about making a relay team and that being the only thing I was on the team for, I would have been bitterly disappointed but now it’s like one of the biggest achievements of my life to make that team.” 

World Short Course representative Daniel Smith and Kurt Herzog who were fifth and sixth respectively will await the selectors’ decision on their relay call up.

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Mitch Larkin and his fellow teammate Ben Treffers also locked in their tickets to Kazan, finishing first and second respectively in the men’s 100m backstroke final.

Larkin put together a strong race to set a new personal best time of 53.10, taking him up to equal second on the Australian all time rankings and just a touch off Australian record pace.

“It relieves the pressure a little bit – making the team,” Larkin said. “I can focus on the other races later in the week. I knew I had to be out quick if I wanted to make the 53 which was a goal of mine and I’ll see what time I was out and hopefully be able to get that point-one at Worlds.”

For Treffers, selection onto the team is all the more meaningful after a long career marred by near-miss moments. The 23-year-old Canberran missed selection for the 2013 Worlds by 0.4 seconds, the 2009 Worlds by 0.01 and the London Olympics by 0.11 seconds. There was no such near-miss tonight, setting a new personal best of 53.77 to see him on the plane to Russia. 

In the corresponding women’s event, the final of the 100m back came down to the touch with the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championship gold medallist Emily Seebohm and rising star Madison Wilson going stroke for stroke as they approached the wall. 

It was Seebohm who stole the win in a time of 58.91, just 0.03 of a second ahead of Wilson who finished in a new personal best time of 58.94. 

Defending champion Seebohm was hoping for a close race in the women’s 100m backstroke but she wasn’t expecting it to be quite as close. 

“That was really hard,” Seebohm said. “Obviously there is great competition which is good and that will help leading into Russia going those times here.“ 

The bronze medal went to Melbourne Vicentre’s Hayley Baker in 1:00.23 and at just 14-years-of-age Minna Atherton from Brisbane Grammar finished fourth in an impressive 1:01.18 – a promising sign for the future. 

Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championship representative Taylor McKeown was the surprise packet in the women’s 100m breaststroke final, touching ahead of defending champion Lorna Tonks (1:07.46) to grab the gold medal in a time of 1:07.07. 

McKeown surprised herself with her speed that saw her qualify for an individual swim in this event at the 2015 FINA World Championships. 

“That was very unexpected! I’ve never, ever seen myself as being a sprinter I guess,” McKeown said. 

“I knew coming into this meet that my front end speed was better than it has ever been so I guess that gave me some confidence for the 100. I just gave it my best shot and I’m super stoked with that, a PB [Personal Best] and to get under that qualifying time is such a big bonus now.” 

The bronze medal went to Sally Hunter who hit the wall in a time of 1:07.63.

Swimming Australia Release (modified)

McKeon flying to Russia with first class time: Day 2 wrap 

It was a super-charged Saturday at the 2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships highlighted by Emma McKeon in the women’s 100m butterfly final at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre. 

Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in this event, McKeon produced an effortless win in the 100m fly final, clocking 57.31 seconds to take the Australian title and book a spot on her second World Championships team alongside brother David, who qualified last night. 

“I was aiming to go a bit faster than that tonight as that was almost the same time as my semi, but I’m happy to get the win and be on the team,” McKeon said. 

“I did 100 fly when I was younger but I fell behind a little because I wasn’t strong enough to keep up with the other girls, but the gym work that I have been doing has improved my strength so I can keep up now.” 

Keeping up is definitely an understatement – with McKeon’s time rocketing her up to fourth on the Australian all-time top ten rankings and third fastest in the world for this year so far. Touching for second in 57.44 and also securing a ticket to her debut World Championship team was 19-year-old Madeline Groves from St Peters Western. Alicia Coutts rounded out the top three, taking home the bronze medal in a time of 57.77. 

Indooroopilly’s Jake Packard grabbed the title in the men’s 100m breaststroke, touching in a time of 1:00.37. The 20-year-old, who made his first senior team at the 2014 Hancock Prospecting Pan Pacific Championships, was thrilled with his win as he goes from strength to strength in the event. 

“I’m really happy to come away with the win, it’s excellent,” Packard said. 

“I’m learning about keeping relaxed during the race and not worrying about the overall time.” 

Reigning World Champion Christian Sprenger looks unlikely to get the chance to defend his world title over the distance, having missed the qualifying time by 0.75 of a second. The London Olympic silver medallist came into the meet off the back of revolutionary shoulder surgery which saw him out of the pool for the last six months following the Commonwealth Games in 2014 and only start training breaststroke six weeks ago. 

“I had to get out there quick. It was really just a matter of how long I could hang on. The fitness obviously kicked in - I was probably on target for a 59 and then the piano fell,” Sprenger said. 

“But I can’t really complain. I have only had six weeks of breaststroke. For the first few weeks I only did freestyle. I kept very positive throughout my preparation. But the reality is that what I swam is pretty good.” 

West Australian Tommy Sucipto rounded out the breaststroke medals with bronze in 1:01.13. 

Just 15 minutes after her 100m backstroke semi-final, Emily Seebohm was back in the water in the 200 individual medley. The 22-year-old won the event in 2:11.37 ahead of Melbourne’s Kotuku Ngawati (2:11.96). Keryn McMaster took bronze in 2:12.71. 

Swimming Australia Release (modified)  

Mack on track for stellar week at Trials: Day 1 Wrap 

The opening night of the 2015 Hancock Prosecting Australian Swimming Championships saw young-gun Mack Horton and David McKeon became the first swimmers to secure their place on the Australian Dolphins Swim Team for the upcoming FINA World Championships in Kazan, taking gold and silver respectively in the highly anticipated final of the men’s 400m freestyle. 

The spotlight may have been on Grant Hackett, but it was 18-year-old Horton’s race at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC). 

The talented teenager swam a personal best time of 3:42.84 to secure his first Australian title over this distance as well as set an unofficial Junior World Record and book his ticket to Russia. The time boosts Horton into third place on the Australian all-time top ten, just behind Hackett and Ian Thorpe – who was also poolside tonight. It was also quick enough to take him straight to the top time in the world for 2015 and is better than any time in the same event for all of 2014. 

McKeon led for the majority of the race with Horton hot on his heels and veteran Hackett doing everything in his power to reel his young rivals in.

At the last turn however it was Horton who surged out front to win ahead of McKeon (3:44.28) and Hackett (3:46.53). 

“Focusing on the 1500m is what gives me a good time in the 400,” said Horton who favours the longer distance. 

“Last year was a good stepping stone getting into the team with Comm Games and Pan Pacs…World Champs is a step up and a stepping stone to the Olympics. So it’s all building in to next year.” 

Hackett’s time was well within the FINA qualifying cut-off and beyond his own expectations. 

“I can’t believe I can do that in six months, I’m really surprised…Who knows what I can do in another six months,” Hackett said. 

His results have forced the humble 34-year-old to concede that despite his dislike of the term, this was now a ‘comeback’. 

“I can’t really avoid it can I, but I hate the word,” Hackett said of the comeback. 

“That’s not what the intention was [of starting to swim again]. I’m doing it for fun and that’s the way I am going to keep doing it. It’s technically a comeback if that’s what you want to call it but it has nothing to do with trying to get the glory back or fill a void in my life - I’m just enjoying swimming,” he said. 

In the corresponding women’s event, there was little separating the field for the majority of the race but it was Chandler’s Jessica Ashwood who sped away in the final laps to steal the win at the wall.  

Known for her distance ability, Ashwood has proved her potential in the 400m free with a FINA qualifying time.  The 21-year-old was too fast for the rest of the field and picked up her first medal of the meet in a time of 4:05.58. 

With her pet event still to come, Ashwood said swimming fast tonight had eased the pressure for the rest of the meet. 

"It’s very exciting. I was hoping to be able to make the team tonight with this race so I’m very happy with it. I put a lot of pressure on myself so it’s nice to get it done tonight,” Ashwood said 

“I’ve been doing well in the 400. We figured if I could make my 400 faster it would improve my 800 so hopefully that’s the way it goes!"

Ashwood will swim in the 800m freestyle heats on Wednesday 8 April. 

The silver medal was awarded to Leah Neale, who after making her debut at the World Short Course Championships last year, joined Ashwood on the podium and only narrowly missed the selection time (4:06.02) with a time of 4:06.84. The bronze medal went to 16-year-old Junior Pan Pacs representative Tamsin Cook in a time of 4:07.14.

Swimming Australia Release (modified) 

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