Fast times book first Barcelona spots27 April 2013
SWIMMING: David McKeon and Bronte Barratt have become the first Australians to book their place at this year’s FINA World Championships, with convincing wins on the first night of finals at the 2013 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide.
McKeon defended his men’s 400m freestyle national title in fine style, while Barratt claimed her third women’s 400m freestyle crown and first since 2010, with the pair booking their swims in Barcelona in the process.
McKeon had the honour of winning the first title on offer at the meet, with the 20-year-old London Olympian recording a new personal best time of 3:43.71, ranking him second in the world this year.
The Wollongong swimmer led at all seven turns across the 400m race, to beat home 17-year-old Jordan Harrison (3:45.85), with the Gold Coast youngster qualifying for his first Australian senior team in the process.
Harrison shaved almost three seconds off his personal best time, set in the heats this morning, to touch out London Olympian Ryan Napoleon (3:46.26) and book his plane ticket to Spain. Sadly Thomas Fraser-Holmes broke in the heats and was disqualified leaving him to watch the final from the stands and seek redemption in the 200m.
McKeon, whose time would have won bronze in London last year, said his Olympic experience had helped recent performances.
“I was pretty stoked with the time today,” McKeon said. “To do a 3:43 and be second in the world behind the Olympic champion is great.”
“I had a bit of a break after the Olympics and then refocused and got back into training and did a lot of hard work.”
“I’ve gained a lot of confidence this year already and at country championships in NSW I went 3:46 and that was my best until tonight.”
Barratt meanwhile produced a superb front end of her race to come within 0.12 of a second of Kylie Palmer’s Australian record.
A new found confidence off the back of her London success saw the 24-year-old control the race superbly to stop the clock in 4:03.52 and set the quickest time in the world for 2013.
“I think it’s instilled a lot of belief in myself and I probably haven’t had enough of that over the years, so it’s made me realise that I can do it and I can get up there with the world’s best,” said Barratt.
“I need to do a good 400 in order to do a good 200 – all the girls in the world are doing that.”
“Bohly (Michael Bohl) said to us before we came here to use this event as a steppingstone for Barcelona, not really making this the big meet of the year, just so we can make improvements from Trials to Worlds.”
Palmer, a dual national champion in the event, finished in second place in a time of 4:06.00 to also secure her Barcelona ticket, while 20-year-old Queenslander Katie Goldman filled the third step on the medal dais with a time of 4:07.39.
In other Olympic events…
Women’s 100m Butterfly Semi-Finals
Defending titleholder Alicia Coutts set the pace in the semi-finals but the five-time Olympic medallist will face stiff competition in tomorrow nights final from Ellen Gandy and Brittany Elmslie. Coutts recorded a time of 57.93 in the second semi-final, edging out Gandy’s time of 57.99 just minutes earlier, while Elmslie (58.47) will also be in contention for the title.
Women’s 200m Individual Medley Semi-Finals
Four-time Olympic medallist Emily Seebohm will be the one to beat in the final of the women’s 200m IM after setting a time of 2:11.66 in her semi-final. Seebohm’s main challenge will come from Alicia Coutts who backed up from her 100m butterfly semi-final to stop the clock in 2:13.37, while Melbourne Vicentre’s Hayley Baker (2:13.78) recorded the third quickest time.
Men’s 100m Breaststroke Semi-Finals
Christian Sprenger backed up from his world class heat swim this morning to set another excellent time in the semi-finals. Sprenger looked smooth through the water and set a time of 59.05, just half a second away from Brenton Rickard’s Australian record. Rickard (1:01.74) qualified for the final in second place with Trinity Grammar’s Kenneth To third through in 1:02.43.
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Thanks to Swimming Australia