Dolphins putting the world on notice at World Champs selection trials
11 June 2019
SWIMMING: Australia’s best swimmers are not only racing their compatriots, but also the international clock as they chase World Championship qualifying times at this weeks’ selection trials in Brisbane.
The first two nights of racing has brought out some exceptional performances, including a Commonwealth Record and multiple World Champs qualifying times.
Ariarne Titmus continued her impressive form on the opening night, breaking her own Commonwealth Record in the 400m freestyle, in a sizzling 3:59.35, well under the qualifying time of 4:06.48.
Always striving to get the best out of herself and speaking like a true competitor, the Tasmanian believes there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“We were pretty fired up for this race and I have been swimming really quick and I wanted to try and put together a really great swim,” Titmus said.
“To be honest I am a bit disappointed with the time, I have been training really well and I thought I might have a 3:58 in me. I definitely felt the sting a little bit in the last 100 metres and I know I went out hard so that is probably why. With a bit more of a rest leading into a meet hopefully that will help me.”
Also touching under the magic number was TSS Aquatics’ Kiah Melverton, who came home strong in the 400m free recording a time of 4:05.30.
Pulling out a massive personal best in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley, 2018 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Kaylee McKeown willed herself home to clock in 2:09.94 – placing first and under the qualifying time of 2:10.45.
In the Men’s 400m Freestyle, Chandler’s Jack McLoughlin prevailed in an imposing time of 3:44.34 to also qualify him for selection on the Worlds Team. The 24-year-old edged out reigning Olympic champion Mack Horton (Melbourne Vicentre) who finished second in 3:46.47 and Bond’s Elijah Winnington who clocked 3:48.45.
With the qualifying time set at 3:46.14, Horton and Winnington will now look to qualify in their remaining events.
Griffith University’s Emma McKeon and UWA West Coast’s Brianna Throssell pushed each other all the way to the wall in the Women’s 100m Butterfly. The duo both recorded times under the World Championship qualifying time of 57.64 – touching in 57.28 and 57.57 respectively.
Rio 2016 100m champion Kyle Chalmers also showed his growing confidence at the 200m distance on the second night of competition, taking out an exhilarating final by just 0.12.
The South Australian touched in 1.45.76 ahead of Clyde Lewis and Alex Graham. The quality of the race bodes well for Australia’s 4x200m relay team, with Chalmers, Lewis and Graham all posting under the qualifying time of 1:46.28, and, Chandler’s Jack McLoughlin and Melbourne Vicentre’s Mack Horton also finishing with strong times.
“The relay is something I really want to be a part of, I know that it is potentially our best shot of getting a medal in a relay,” Chalmers said.
“It is not only the four guys that are going to swim on that night, but I think the eight who were in the final tonight are really competitive in that event and put us all together, hopefully we can do something really special.
“It is great to be able to swim well individually but swimming well for your country and as a relay team is for me the best part about swimming and something that I enjoy doing the most.”
Minna Atherton clocked a time of 29.20 in the Women’s 100m Backstroke, which places her third on the Australian all-time fastest times. Backing up her 200m individual medley triumph on night one, 19-year-old Kaylee McKeown finished second in 59.28 in her favoured stroke, to see both swimmers under the World qualifying prerequisite of 59.82.
Not missing a beat in the Men’s 100m Backstroke, Commonwealth and Australian record holder Mitch Larkin blitzed the field to touch first in a speedy time of 52.38. His performance was the second fastest in the world this year.
The Women’s 1500m, which will make its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020, saw a showdown between TSS Aquatics teammates Madeleine Gough and Kiah Melverton. After swimming 30 laps it came right down to the wire, with only 0.07 separating the pair. In the end it was Gough who came out on top – 15:56.39 to 15:56.46. In a competitive field of swimmers, and with the World Championship qualifying time set at 16.20.98 – the top five athletes all swum under the required time.
Cotton Tree’s Lani Pallister, who came third in a time of 16:06.84, knocked her own mother and Olympian Janelle Pallister off the Australian all-time top ten fastest list.
Swimming Australia / olympics.com.au