Aussie swimmers wrap up Grand Prix 1 with spirit
18 May 2014
SWIMMING: World champion and Olympic gold medallist Cate Campbell has posted her second fastest 100m freestyle of the year and the third fastest in the world this year, to round out a strong and spirited Grand Prix for members of the Australian Swim Team in Canberra today.
More than 80 of Australia’s best swimmers were in action at the AIS pool in the first of three Grand Prix meets to be held over the next two months ahead of the Commonwealth Games in July and Hancock Prospecting Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast in August.
Swimming in three teams, captained by Olympic gold medallists Ashley Callus, Bill Kirby and Petria Thomas, Campbell joined fellow world champions James Magnussen and Christian Sprenger, as well as a host of young talent bound for Glasgow.
Cameron McEvoy and Emma McKeon continued to impress in the morning session with two of the swims of the day, while five-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist from Delhi in 2010 Alicia Coutts showed some good form in the 100m fly and then again in the 200 fly.
McEvoy, who defeated Magnussen in the 100m freestyle at the Australian Championships in April, was first to the wall again this morning in a time of 49.11, while 19-year-old Emma McKeon won the women’s 200m freestyle in a strong time of 1:56.27.
McEvoy backed up to tie for first in the men’s 200m freestyle with Thomas Fraser-Holmes in a time of 1:48.37.
In the women’s 100m freestyle, Campbell produced a 52.74 off the back of 10 days of altitude training at Thredbo, having already swum two sharp 50m freestyles in the morning session.
With the meet won by Team Kirby, led by Sprenger, McEvoy, Emma McKeon and 17-year-old Remy Fairweather winning the women’s 400m freestyle, National Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren said he was extremely pleased with the racing and teamwork on show.
“We wanted to create a fun meet, where swimmers were taken out of their comfort zone a little by not knowing exactly what they were going to swim and as a result they had to work together as a team,” said Verhaeren.
“There’s always an underlying purpose with that, especially with some of the younger swimmers to make them resilient to difference circumstances.”
“On an elite level we ask swimmers to deliver whatever the circumstance are, so challenging that is a good way to prepare and what we saw, the level of swimming was very good, so that is pleasing. I was very happy with the times and for sure very happy with the team atmosphere and culture.”
At the conclusion of the meet Christian Sprenger was announced as the new male member of the leadership group, replacing Brenton Rickard who retired following last year’s World Championships in Barcelona.
A dual Olympian and silver medallist in London, Sprenger joins Cate Campbell, Bronte Barratt, Sally Hunter, Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Matt Abood on the leadership group for the Australian Swim Team, who will next gather for Grand Prix 2 in Brisbane from June 6-7.