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Parrish upsets big guns as Morgan claims double gold

29 October 2017

SWIMMING: Gold Coaster Josh Parrish mixed it with some of the biggest names in swimming in Adelaide tonight and declared he wants to be part of Australia’s team for next year’s Commonwealth Games.

The 20-year-old formerly from Townsville and now an intricate part of the TSS Aquatics team at Southport was a surprise winner of the 1500m freestyle on the final night of the 2017 Australian Short Course Championships at the SA Aquatic Centre.

Although he was the defending champion he had to beat three Olympians in a frantic finish - a field that included Rio Olympic 400m freestyle gold medallist and Australia’s number one 1500m swimmer in Mack Horton and the USA’s top distance swimmer, 2015 World Champion over 10km, in Jordan Wilimovsky.

Parrish had to fight all the way to the wall to beat Wilimovsky by a touch (14.45.29) to the American’s 14.45.67 with Chandler’s Rio Olympic 1500m swimmer Jack McLaughlin next in 14.53.18, followed by a fatigued Horton (Melbourne Vicentre) 14.58.26.

“It was good to get in and mix it with the big boys and come away with that win,” said Parrish.

“I know I have to get under 15 minutes for long course and my best is 15:13 at the moment but that’s the aim.

“It would be everything to make the Commonwealth Games team - you put your heart and soul into it so that would be sensational.”

Horton, who has been in heavy training (eight kilometres yesterday morning) alongside Italy’s Olympic and World champion Gregorio Paltrinieri took the race out over the first 500 metres but faded as Wilimovsky took over with Parrish and McLaughlin going with him. The Australian team for the Games will be selected from the Games Trials on the Gold Coast in February.

Meanwhile Welsh-born Gold Coast based Olympian David Morgan posted a rare double.

In the space of 10 minutes the 23-year-old, also from TSS Aquatics won his fourth Short Course 100m butterfly title in 50.55 and with hardly time to catch his breath was back behind the blocks for the 50m freestyle and in just 21.46 seconds had his second gold medal around his neck.

Morgan, like Parrish, trains under Chris Nesbitt at The Southport School, prides himself on hard work and perfecting his underwater skills and both payed off tonight as he mastered every lap.

“It’s a good skill to have to be able to back up - it takes a lot of work - but when you get that skill right it’s worth it.”

Meanwhile, Australia’s most valuable swimmer Emma McKeon will keep all her options open after winning a “new event” tonight.

The Olympic and world championship medallist over 200m freestyle and 100m butterfly, and an intricate member of every Dolphins relay, won the 200m butterfly in 2:04.57 - a personal best time and the seventh fastest time by an Australian.

McKeon proved too strong for fellow Olympian Brianna Throssell (UWA West Coast) who was also impressive in second place in 2:06.52, with Laura Taylor (TSS Aquatic) third in 2:08.14.

Talking about the addition of the 200m butterfly to her program McKeon said it clashed with the 100 metres freestyle on the Commonwealth Games program but it was something she could “leave to the last minute.”

“I train for the event anyway and I enjoy training for it so I can make a decision as late as I want really,” said McKeon.

The 200 metres individual medley saw prolific short course winner Emily Seebohm win her fourth title of these championships - taking her lifetime tally to 26 - in a time of 2:07.90.

And she withheld the challenges from 16-year-old Kaylee McKeown (USC Spartans) 2:08.12 and Rio team mate Blair Evans (UWA West Coast) 2:08.65.

Like the rest of her Dolphins team mates Seebohm will get the chance to leg her hair down at the glittering Swimming Australia Gala Dinner, presented by Hancock Prospecting, at the Adelaide Convention Centre tomorrow night.

Never-say-die Bobby Hurley (Warringah Aquatic) also chalked up a milestone, taking his tally of Australian short course titles to 20 with a skilful display to add the 100m backstroke (51.76) to his 50m backstroke title.

The women’s 200m freestyle saw defending champion Madison Wilson lead all the way to take the win in 1:54.69 from 400m winner Mikkayla Sheridan (USC Spartans) 1:55.36 and Carla Buchanan (Acacia Bayside) 1:55.70.

Local boy Travis Mahoney (Marion) added his third gold medal, winning the 400m individual medley in a blanket finish - clocking 4:07.15 to hold off Thomas Elliott (SOPAC) 4:07.73 and Kazimir Bozkovic (Nunawading) 4:09.57.

Earlier in the day Queensland’s former world junior champion Minna Atherton put reputations and records aside when she upset defending champion Emily Seebohm and stole her Australian All-Comers 50m backstroke record in Adelaide today.

It came the morning after the night before when 25-year-old Seebohm had wrapped up her 25th lifetime National short course title in the 100m backstroke at the Hancock Prospecting Australian Short Course Championships last night.

Seventeen-year-old Atherton, who pushed Seebohm all the way in the 100m, also stole her older rival’s Australian All-Comers record, clocking 26.23 and taking 0.05 off Seebohm’s time from last year.

Swimming Australia

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