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Australian Swim Trials: As it happened

6 April 2014

SWIMMING: Updates from the Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane which also acted as selection trials for the 2014 Pan Pacs and Commonwealth Games.

The full team list can be found here >>

Day 7 Wrap - Sullivan is back

On the final night of action in the pool, triple Olympian Eamon Sullivan grabbed the headlines as the fastest man in Australia over the 50m freestyle.

The Olympic silver medallist showed too much experience for his younger competitors to win in 21.90 and earn a place on the team to Glasgow with Cameron McEvoy second in 21.97 and Matthew Abood and James Magnussen dead heating for third in 22.02.

In the women’s 400m freestyle Bronte Barratt picked up an individual swim in Glasgow with a solid 4:04.56, while 17-year-old Remy Fairweather from Pelican Waters Caloundra qualified for the Games in a time of 4:06.02.  Jessica Ashwood was third in 4:07.30.

SOPAC Podium Performance Centre swimmer Daniel Tranter won his third men’s 200m IM title in a row in an impressive time of 1:57.66, with 400m IM specialist Thomas Fraser-Holmes picking up the silver in 1:57.88.  Mitch Larkin was third in 1:59.29.The final selection event of the night saw Mack Horton and Jordan Harrison go stroke for stroke through the first 500m of the men’s 1500m freestyle. Horton then made his move at the 600m mark to move a body length ahead of Harrison, and then extended it over the next 300m to be two body lengths clear at the 1km mark.   The 17-year-old from Melbourne only extended his lead in the final third of the race to win in a time of 14:51.55, the fourth fastest time ever by an Australian.  Last year’s winner Harrison was second in 15:03.24 with training partner Mathew Levings third in 15:09.67.

Day 6 Wrap - Here come the Campbell sisters

Sprint swim siblings Cate and Bronte Campbell claimed the top two spots at the Australian Swimming Championships for the second time this meet – this time in the blue ribband 100m freestyle event - making it the 50 and 100m double in Brisbane.

Cate, currently ranked as the fastest woman in the world in a textile suit, managed to swim another sub-53 time (52.68) – bettering her Australian all-comers record – despite admitting that she is not yet in peak condition.

But it was Bronte (53.02), who dropped her personal best by 0.8 – a time which would have won her bronze at last year’s world championships - who was the real surprise achiever, drawing joking comparisons to tennis great Serena Williams. Serena of course eventually went on to overtake her superstar sister Venus.

“This time I managed to hold her. But I don’t know about next time,’’ Cate said from the Chandler Aquatic Centre.

“I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before she beats me, but I’ll try to prolong that for as long as I can.

“No one likes being beaten, even if it is by your best friend.’’

Bronte said she was blown away by her performance because “we don’t often get drops like that – ever” in sprint swimming.

She stressed, that it was very important to remember that both she and Cate were very different people, with different personalities, body types and rates of maturity.

“It’s okay to do analogies, but we are not the same person,’’ Bronte said.

Emma McKeon won the bronze in the event in a time of 53.57. All three are now eligible for Commonwealth Games selection.

London Olympian Mitchell Larkin also continued his stellar meet, winning the 200m backstroke in the Commonwealth and Australian record time of 1:55.26 and securing the 100 and 200m backstroke double.

Larkin topped his personal best time by 1.53 seconds (1:56.79), trumping Matson Lawson (1:56.35) and Josh Beaver (1:56.83) by more than a second and surprising even himself. All three are now eligible for Commonwealth Games selection.

“Tonight I was really hoping to go maybe 55 high, maybe just get the Australian record, but to go 55 low – I couldn’t be happier,’’ he said.

“Glasgow was always a goal of mine as a young kid of 15 and to be able to make the team and now to do that I’d like top three but it’s a different story over there. It’s all about racing.’’

Meanwhile, London 100m freestyle silver medallist James Magnussen said he was “determined” to get it right in the 50m sprint tomorrow night, after losing his 100m title in a disappointing loss to Cameron McEvoy last night.

Magnussen (22.07), who has qualified second in the final to Eamon Sullivan (21.65), said he had developed a “thick skin” after the Olympic Games where he was touched into second place despite entering as the favourite.

“I’ve got no need to redeem myself. I’m on the team, I’m going to Comm Games. That’s what this meet is about. It’s called Commonwealth Games trials, not crap world record attempts,’’ he said.

In a break-through performance Madeline Groves took out the 200m butterfly in a time of 2:06.95, with former British Olympian Ellen Gandy (2:08.60) claiming the silver and Brianna Throssell (2:09.83) the bronze. Groves’ time gives her automatic Commonwealth Games eligibility.

Australian record holder Jessica Ashwood was a standout in the final of the women’s 800m freestyle winning by more than eight seconds and qualifying for a place on the plane to Glasgow in the process.  The 20-year-old from the SOPAC Podium Performance Centre in Sydney won the race in an A qualifying time of 8:22.51 ahead of Alanna Bowles in 8:30.52 and Laura Crockart third in 8:31.84.

Ten years ago Lorna Tonks missed out on a spot on the Great Britain Olympic team for Athens by just 0.3 of a second.  Tonight, after three comebacks to the sport, she swam a B qualifier to give herself a chance of selection onto the team for Glasgow, as an Aussie.  Hitting the wall in 1:07.31, the 25-year-old won the title ahead of Leiston Pickett (1:07.56) and Sally Hunter (1:07.73).

Chris Wright was the best of the male butterfly swimmers making it back-to-back titles in the men’s 100m fly with a winning time of 52.16.  Wright was just 0.05 of a second outside of the B qualifying time, with Tommaso D’Orsogna second in 52.21 and Jayden Hadler third in 52.33.

Day 5 Wrap- Sullivan makes a statement

Olympic silver medallist Eamon Sullivan said ‘don’t call me a veteran’ after posting the fastest heat swim of the morning in the men’s 50m freestyle at the Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane.

The 28-year-old triple Olympian covered the one lap dash in 22.20 ahead of James Magnussen (22.29), Matthew Abood (22.44) and Andrew Abood (22.58).  Cameron McEvoy was the fifth fastest through in 22.79, backing up from his 100m freestyle win last night, with the semi-finals to be swum tonight.

The men’s 200m backstroke final promises to be a race in four, with Mitch Larkin, Ashley Delaney, Matson Lawson and Josh Beaver racing for the three spots on the team to Glasgow.

Both Larkin and Beaver have already qualified in the 100m back and were the fastest two through this morning in 1:58.86 and 1:58.89 respectively. Last year’s title holder Lawson was the third fastest through in 1:59.89 while Ashley Delaney was the fourth fastest through in 2:00.33.

West Australian Brianna Thorssell was the best of the 200m butterfly swimmers in the heats this morning, qualifying in a personal best time of 2:11.22. 

The 18-year-old from the City of Perth would be a surprise debutant on the Australian team if she can hit the qualifying mark of 2:07.86 tonight, while Ellen Gandy (2:11.57) and Madeline Groves (2:11.87) will also have an eye on the clock.

Day 4 Wrap - McEvoy takes the Freestyle double

London Olympian Cameron McEvoy has continued his stellar meet at the Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane tonight, winning the 100m freestyle from under James Magnussen’s nose and securing the 100 and 200m freestyle double.

McEvoy, who swam a new personal best mark of 47.65, shocked himself with the win - edging out the world champion and Olympic silver medallist by 0.27 (47.92) and third placed Tommaso D’Orsogna by more than a second (48.72).

Having already claimed victory in the 200m freestyle over rival Thomas Fraser-Holmes on Monday night in a time of 1:45.46, the 19-year-old said he was surprised with the result.

“He’s (Magnussen’s) swum better than that multiple times before in his career, I think it was just about today,’’ he said.

“I’d rather have someone in the country where we can be mates and work off each other than have someone across the other side of the world.’’

Having swum sub-48 seconds six times this year including last night’s semi-final where he clocked a time 0.09 faster than his final swim, Magnussen said McEvoy’s swim will ensure that they both keep swimming fast in Australia

“It’s better for us to work as a team and take on the rest of the world,’’ he said.

“It keeps us both swimming fast here in Australia and that’s good.’’

Having already qualified for selection in the 100m backstroke, Belinda Hocking took out the 200m backstroke for the sixth year in a row with a time of 2:07:52.  The world championship silver medallist was ahead of 100m backstroke London silver medallist Emily Seebohm (2:08.28) and Meagan Nay (2:08.44).

Hocking said while she was disappointed with her time, which was more than a second slower than her performance at the New South Wales State Championships: “sometimes it’s just about getting on the podium, which I did tonight.”

“I’m happy with the result. The time wasn’t great, but I won so I’m happy,’’ she said.

Delhi Commonwealth darling Alicia Coutts (2:08:89) continued her winning streak by winning the 200m individual medley ahead of Seebohm (2:11.25) and Kotuku Ngawati (2:13.08). 

Coutts’ world class time showed she will still be the one to beat when it comes to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as well as looking for that illusive Pan Pacs gold medal on the Gold Coast in August.

Twenty-two-year-old Ben Treffers was back to his best in the final of the men’s 50m backstroke, hitting the wall in a blistering 24.54 to set a new Australian record in the event. Treffers emerged from a wave of white water at the 25 metre mark to steal the gold from silver medallist Bobby Hurley who finished in 25.41 and bronze medallist Daniel Arnamnart in 25.32.

Day 3 Wrap- Records tumble

The world class performances continued on night three at the Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane, with Taylor McKeown, Christian Sprenger, Cate Campbell, Daniel Fox and Emily Seebohm all rattling the world rankings in style.

Nineteen-year-old McKeown blitzed the field in the women’s 200m breaststroke in a time of 2:22.10, becoming the second fastest Australian ever in the event behind the legendary Leisel Jones and confirming her eligibility for Commonwealth Games selection.

The time would have also won her a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Barcelona, and ranks as the fastest 200m breaststroke in the Commonwealth and Pan Pacific regions this year.

“I didn’t expect to go 2:22.10, which is another 1.8 off my PB that I did in January. I was just so stoked to drop that much in such a short amount of time,’’ said McKeown.

Not to be outdone in the breaststroke stakes, and certainly not in putting on a show, world champion Christian Sprenger entered pool deck like a boxer and then punched out the fastest ever 100m breaststroke in Australian waters.

The Olympic silver medallist unveiled his ‘Gold Speedo Coat’ before hitting the wall in 58.46 and throwing down the gauntlet to Olympic and Commonwealth rival Cameron Van der Burgh.

Sprint star siblings Cate and Bronte Campbell also came one step closer to their dream of standing on the Commonwealth Games podium in Glasgow together, after taking out the top two spots in the 50m freestyle, clocking times of 24.18 and 24.58, ahead of Melanie Schlanger (24.82).

While Emily Seebohm claimed the gold in the 100m backstroke for the seventh year in a row, in a return-to-form (58.92) unseen for the past 12 months after struggling with illness and injury.

The Olympic silver medallist attributes a new training program to her success, which saw her snatch victory from long-term rivals Belinda Hocking (59.83) and Meagen Nay going under the minute for the first time in 59.90.

McKeown, who edged out former Aussie champion Sally Hunter (2:24.91) and Tessa Wallace (2:25.29) in her swim, said she had idolised Jones since the age of 14 when she first began specialising in breaststroke.

“To be matched up with somebody like Leisel Jones, who is obviously one of Australia’s biggest icons in sporting history, is just a great feeling,’’ McKeown said.

“She is someone I have always looked up to, so hopefully one day if I can be as good as she is that is my goal.’’

Meanwhile Sprenger said his sub 59 swim had potentially put the 200m breaststroke – which he won on Tuesday night – back on the table in Glasgow although he was yet to make a definitive decision.

“It was a really good opportunity for me to come out and really set the mark not only in Australia but in the rest of the world,’’ Sprenger said.

“Times like that (58) weren’t even talked about three years ago.

“To be able to do them with some of the greats like (Kosuke) Kitajima and obviously Cameron is pretty special.’’

Jake Packard (1:01.38) and Buster Sykes (1:01.73) completed the top three 200m breast spots.

Rounding out the ranking rattlers, Brisbane local Daniel Fox qualified for selection onto Commonwealth Games team in world record time for his Para Sport 200m freestyle, and then had the crowd in the palm of his hand during his post-race interview.

After a record breaking swim this morning Fox continued to drop his world mark winning in 1:57.68, with 18-year-old Mitchell Kilduff (2:00.60) and Joshua Alford (2:02.72) finishing with personal best times in second and third respectively. All three boys have qualified for 2014 Commonwealth Games selection.

In other Olympic class events…

Men’s 200m Butterfly
St Peters Western Podium Performance Centre swimmer Grant Irvine made it back-to-back titles in the men’s 200m butterfly to open night three of the championships, with a come from behind victory. Led out by Mitchell Pratt from Tigersharks in Victoria, Irvine hit the wall in 1:56.23, just outside the A qualifying time, with Pratt second in 1:57.00 and Daniel Tranter third in 1:57.48.

Men’s 100m Freestyle Semi

Dual world champion and Olympic silver medallist James Magnussen will be the one to watch in the men’s 100m freestyle final, after another sub 48 second swim in the semi-finals.  The 22-year-old from the SOPAC Podium Performance Centre covered the two laps in an impressive 47.83, with Gold Coast 19-year-old Cameron McEvoy a shade behind in 48.14.  West Australian Tommaso D’Orsogna and Kenneth To from Trinity Grammar in Sydney qualified in equal third for the final in a time of 49.03.

Day 2 Wrap - McEvoy thanks mum for self-belief

SWIMMING: Cameron McEvoy has revealed his secret weapon after qualifying for Commonwealth Games selection in the 200m freestyle at the Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane on Wednesday night - his psychologist mum!

McEvoy, who won the race in a personal best mark of 1:45.46 - admits his mother Janine McEvoy could have been the key to finally trumping his long-term rival and former Australian 200m champion Thomas Fraser-Holmes by just 0.02 of a second.

The 19-year-old Gold Coast physics student, who trains under Richard Scarce, said he had long struggled with self-doubt

"The worst thing with swimming is that you can have all the self-belief in the world but if when you come into a race you're worrying about all the guys next to you, you start to doubt yourself no matter how quick you've been racing,'' he said.

"That's the thing I've been trying to get around - not worrying about other people.

"I'd say she'd (mum) probably do the undercover psychologist every now and again, sort of psychoanalysing myself and see what's happening and if there's anything's up and then go round about it without me really noticing. Having her as a psychologist and mum is obviously really awesome.''

McEvoy's new found self-confidence really came into play when he dug deep in the final metres, refusing to allow Fraser-Holmes to snatch back his crown in a trademark come-from-behind challenge.

Fraser-Holmes, David McKeon (1:46.37) and Ned McKendry (1:47.16) also qualified for Commonwealth Games selection with A qualifying times.

For Fraser-Holmes the 200m free was the first of two events for the night, with the 22-year-old backing up well to win the 400m individual medley in a world class time of 4:10.68.

The Commonwealth record holder in the event, Fraser-Holmes was too strong for Travis Mahoney (4:17.39) and Jared Gilliland (4:17.77), and said he loved the challenge of having his two pet events on the same night.

Commonwealth Games gold medal collector Alicia Coutts said she felt like a weight had been lifted off her shoulders after winning the 100m butterfly in an A qualifying time of 57.70, edging out former British Olympian Ellen Gandy (57.98) and Emma McKeon (57.99). 

With all three swimmers eligible for Games selection, Coutts said she’s now looking forward to the 50m butterfly starting Thursday.

London Olympian Mitch Larkin showed some good speed to win his first national title in the men’s 100m backstroke hitting the wall in a Commonwealth Games A qualifying time of 53.46, with Ben Treffers also swimming an A qualifier in 53.73.  Victorian Swimmer Josh Beaver was third swimming a B qualifier of 53.84. 

In other Olympic class events…

Women’s 50m Freestyle Semi
Cate Campbell continues to drop time in the 50m freestyle, qualifying fastest for Thursday night's final in 24.13 ahead of younger sister Bronte (24.60) and Melanie Schlanger in 24.69.  A silver medallist in the event at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, Cate’s time was just a shade off the Australian record set by Libby Trickett in 2008 which stands at 23.97.

Men’s 100m Breaststroke Semi
World champion Christian Sprenger will be the one to watch ahead of the 100m breaststroke final after hitting the wall in 59.99. Already a national champion in the 200m breaststroke at this meet, Sprenger was more than a second and a half ahead of the rest of the field with Jake Packard second fastest in 1:01.55 and Tommy Sucipto third through in 1:02.46.

Women’s 100m Backstroke Semi
A silver medallist at the Olympic Games and World Championships, Emily Seebohm will be looking for gold at the Australian Championships Thursday night in the women’s 100m backstroke. The 21-year-old was half a second quicker than the rest of the field in the semi-finals, hitting the wall in 59.34 with Belinda Hocking second fastest through in 59.87 and Meagen Nay third in 1:00.47.

For full results go to www.swimming.org.au

Day 1 Wrap - McKeon legacy continues

SWIMMING: Sibling act David and Emma McKeon didn't just win berths onto the Commonwealth Games team in Brisbane - they secured a family legacy on the opening night (Tuesday) of the 2014 Australian Swimming Championships. 

The pair, who won the 400 and 200m freestyle respectively – will now head to their first Commonwealth Games, following in the wake of mum (the former Susie Woodhouse), dad (Ron McKeon) and uncle (Rob Woodhouse). 

Emma, who won the 200m free in the Australian record time of 1:55.68, was adamant their family pedigree had provided the inspiration and not the pressure to perform. 

"My mum, dad and my uncle all made the Commonwealth Games team in the same year. Now me and my brother have made it,'' she said at the Chandler Aquatic Centre. "There's definitely no pressure at all. I just do it because I enjoy it.'' 

David's time of 3:43.72 was the second fastest mark set this year and would have won him a silver medal at last year's world championships in Barcelona. 

David agreed family history had helped him perform. 

"It was only a few years ago that I realised that my dad's got six Commonwealth gold medals on the wall at home. I'd never really seen them before.

"That's when I really started swimming good.''

The Wollongong pair, who moved to Brisbane at the start of this year to be based at the Chandler Podium Performance Centre under coach Vince Raleigh, said there was now no doubting they had made the right move.

David said he still had a lot of work to do before Glasgow.

"I was sick at the end of last year at Queensland States ... I'm still not a hundred per cent fit yet,'' he said.

"I was hoping to go a little bit quicker tonight - closer to 3:40s - but I think I'll be able to do that come Glasgow."

Emma was almost a full second ahead of Olympic relay gold medallists Bronte Barratt (1:56.61) and Brittany Elmslie (1:57.64), with Barratt also scoring a guaranteed games spot.

David finished about a body length ahead of rising star 17-year-old Mack Horton, who touched with a Junior world record breaking time of 3:44.60 and Jordan Harrison (3:47.42). Both scored automatic Commonwealth Games qualification.

World champion and Olympic silver medallist in the 100m breaststroke, Christian Sprenger showed he’s in top form, swimming a world class 200m breast to qualify for selection onto the team for Glasgow.  Sprenger hit the wall in 2:08.63, a time that would have seen him win bronze at last year’s world championships, with Daniel Tranter second in 2:12.26 and Buster Sykes third overall in 2:12.95.

Despite the world class time, Sprenger said he’ still unlikely to contest the event in Glasgow.

“The ultimate goal for me is the gold medal in the 100m at Commonwealths over Cameron (Van der Burgh). At this point the 200 doesn't really show up on my radar,” said Sprenger.

In other Olympic class events…

Keryn McMaster swam a Commonwealth B qualifying time of 4:39.69 to win the women’s 400m IM ahead of Ellen Gandy (4:41.11) and Jessica Pengelly who was third in 4:44.32.

Five-time London Olympic medallists Alicia Coutts will go into the final of the women’s 100m butterfly as the one to chase qualifying fastest in 58.22 to win her semi, ahead of Ellen Gandy (58.51) and Marieke D’Cruz third in 59.04. Emma McKeon was fourth overall in 59.14 while Olympic relay gold medallist Brittany Elmslie was disqualified after false starting.

Canberra swimmer Ben Treffers was the best of the male backstrokers in the 100m semi-finals, posting a strong time of 53.55 ahead of Ashley Delaney (53.67) and Mitch Larkin third in 53.87.

MEET PREVIEW:

Australia’s best swimmers will converge in Brisbane for the 2014 Australian Swimming Championships incorporating selection trials for 2014 Australian Commonwealth Games Team, Para Pan Pacs and Pan Pacific Championships.

Some of the must see events

Tuesday, April 1 - women's 200m freestyle final
An event so tough that Olympic bronze medallist Bronte Barratt is at risk of missing out on qualifying for a 200m individual swim for the Glasgow Games. Exciting teenager Emma McKeon heads the field of challengers that also include Brittany Elmslie and veterans Kylie Palmer and Melanie Schlanger.

Thursday, April 3 - men's 100m breaststroke and women's 100m backstroke finals
World 100m breaststroke champion Christian Sprenger may be denied much needed domestic competition with Brenton Rickard's retirement but won't be slowing down ahead of an inevitable Glasgow showdown with South African nemesis, Olympic champ Cameron van der Burgh. And Olympic and world titles silver medallist Emily Seebohm will look to exploit her hometown advantage against the likes of Belinda Hocking and Madison Wilson.

Friday, April 4 - men's 100m freestyle and women's 200m individual medley finals
Rising star Cameron McEvoy will attempt to end world champion James Magnussen's stunning run of three straight national crowns in the two lap sprint. Easier said than done. The London Games debacle is a distant memory for a relaxed Magnussen after his 2013 world titles success. One of London's few success stories in the pool - five-time medallist Alicia Coutts - will look to extend a stunning run in the 200m IM. Remarkably Coutts has medalled in this event in every major international competition since 2010. The medley master may have toyed with the idea of retirement but Coutts is still the one to beat in a field also expected to boast Seebohm and surprise packet Taylor McKeown.

Saturday, April 5 - women's 100m freestyle final
World champion Cate Campbell may be the fastest woman in history in a textile suit in the event but is expected to be kept honest by a field boasting McKeon, Coutts, Schlanger and Elmslie.

Sunday, April 6 - men's 1,500m freestyle final
Following in the footsteps of Grant Hackett and Kieren Perkins, exciting youngsters Mack Horton and Jordan Harrison will go head to head in an event Australia once dominated at international level. Multiple junior world titles gold medallist Horton is expected to pressure Harrison, who claimed the 2013 national crown by becoming the first Aussie in five years to break the 15 minute barrier.

AAP

Australian Championships Preview

Close to 700 swimmers from across Australia, representing 182 clubs will be in action over the six days of competition at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, Chandler from Tuesday 1 April to Sunday 6 April.

This year, Australia’s premier swim meet will double as a selection event for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, the Para Pan Pacs in California and the Hancock Prospecting Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast in August.

Reigning World Champions Cate Campbell, James Magnussen and Christian Sprenger have all entered their respective world title events and will be a tough trio to beat in Brisbane.

Campbell and Magnussen have stuck to their pet events, entering both the 50 and 100m freestyle while Sprenger will test his skills across the 50, 100 and 200m breaststroke events.

Five-time World Championship silver medallist, and five-time gold medallist at the last Commonwealth Games in Delhi Alicia Coutts, will once again look to demonstrate her dominance across a range of events, entering the 50 and 100m butterfly, the 100m freestyle and the 200m individual medley.

They will be joined by a host of their fellow World Championship representatives including Bronte Barratt, Jessica Ashwood, Cameron McEvoy, Jordan Harrison and siblings David and Emma McKeon.

Swimming Australia National Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren said the Trials will showcase some of the best swimmers from across Australia.

“We have a good mix of emerging talent and experienced competitors entered, and I think that this will make for an exciting event and some strong times,” said Verhaeren.

“We’ve already seen some really good swimming in Melbourne, Perth and Sydney this year, and I’m looking forward to seeing which athletes are able to step up at Trials.”

“I know the swimmers are looking forward to racing and Australia has a great history of success at the Commonwealth Games and we want to continue that tradition, starting in Brisbane next month.”

Heats will start at 10.00am with finals from 6.30pm April 1-5 and 7:30pm on Sunday April 6.

Finals will also be broadcast live through Network Ten on ONE. Check local guides for details.

Swimming Australia