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Athletes make a splash at NSW State Open Championships

6 March 2017

SWIMMING: With the countdown on to the World Championships, Australia’s best swimmers brought their A-game to the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre from 3 – 5 March for the NSW State Open.

Over 50 Olympians and Paralympians took on their top domestic rivals as well as a host of international talent over the three days of competition with all swimmers looking to gauge their times ahead of next month’s selection trials.

Dual Olympian Cameron McEvoy was three times the hero, winning the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle titles. His time of 21.88 in the 50, was the fastest this year in the world, and the first to go under 22 seconds.

“I’m happy with that, I kind of expected to dip under [22 seconds] at some point, and it’s nice – 21.88,” McEvoy said.

“My technique fell a part a little. But to do 21.88 with a pretty critical analysis of it is good. Training has been super tough - we have been doing a different preparation. Instead of one prep leading into trials and then another prep leading into Worlds, we have combined it into one large one. What I have done here just confirms what we are doing is working and we shouldn’t worry about it at all. Things are coming together well.”

Lingering illness prevented Kyle Chalmers from taking on the 100m freestyle in which he won Olympic gold, but he gave the crowd a show in the 50m dash taking silver whilst James Roberts took bronze.

The meet also saw the rise of some new names to keep an eye on.  Eighteen-year-old Jack Cartwright showed his speed and versatility, taking silver in the 100m freestyle less than a second behind McEvoy, as well as grabbing bronze in the 200m backstroke. Alexander Graham also stepped up to take silver in the 200m freestyle, 0.3 of a second behind his training partner McEvoy. Matthew Wilson also showed why he is one to watch, producing two solid times to win the 100m and 200m breaststroke, giving him confidence of making the qualifying times for Worlds after missing out on the Olympic cut-offs by the smallest of margins last year.

A relaxed Cate Campbell showed that taking time out of racing and heavy training since Rio hasn’t affected her prowess in the pool, scooping up the 50m and 100m freestyle titles. The Australian team veteran has decided not to compete at World Championships, instead focusing her attention on enjoying her sport again and looking ahead to next year’s Commonwealth Games.

“My goal for this year is to enjoy swimming and fall back in love with it again,” the three-time Olympian said. “To remind myself why I started swimming in the first place, and it was to go out and have fun while I was racing. Not to worry about what I was going to do or what other people expected me to do."

Campbell mixed up her normal program of events by adding the 200m freestyle to her repertoire, and managed to not only make the final, but take the silver medal.

After being sidelined by surgeries over the last couple of months, Emily Seebohm threw down her intentions for trials by taking out the 50, 100 and 200 backstroke triple, as well as the 50m butterfly title.

“Considering the training that I have had which was a bit little, it is nice to get that under my belt and have something to work on,” Seebohm said.

With Olympian Madison Wilson and young-guns Kaylee McKeown, Minna Atherton and Sian Whittaker nipping at her heels, Seebohm knows that she will have her work cut out for her to grab the coveted World Championship places at trials.

“Obviously we have to make the team which is going to be a hard ask, especially with what I have been going through the last couple of months. But I am not expecting too much and if I don’t make the team, I’ll have a drawing board to go back to and say I didn’t put the training in at the start of the season and I won’t be too disappointed.”

Alice Wheeler
Swimming Australia

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