Jessica Ashwood, Tae Hwan Park, James Magnussen and Belinda Hocking provided highlights on the first night of the New South Wales State Open Championships that run from February 28th-March 2nd at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
2012 Olympian Ashwood posted a 8:19.76 destroying her lifetime best of 8:24.63, which she recorded at last year’s world championships trials. Her winning time was new Australian national record beating Kylie Palmer‘s 2008 record of 8:22.18.
Ashwood’s time currently put her on top of the world rankings beating Katie Ledecky‘s early season time of 8:26.70.
“I’m very excited. At first I couldn’t believe it because that was sort of my goal for Trials so now I’ll have to make some new goals for that,” said Ashwood.
“We are in really hard training at the moment at the end of a block, and the swim didn’t really feel very good so I was probably more worried that I wouldn’t do a good time, so I was very surprised when I did well.”
Queenslanders Kate Goldman and Danielle DeFrancesco trailed Ashwood finishing in 8:29.02 and 8:33.76 respectively.
Just over a month ago South Korean superstar Tae Hwan Park put up a 3:47.72, which up until tonight was the top time in the world. Park changed that by throwing down a very strong early season swim of 3:43.96. Last year, after taking a substantial break after the Olympic Games, Park’s fastest time of 3:46.71 was recorded in October at the 94th National Sports Festival in Incheon, South Korea.
Park’s time today was not far off of his Olympic performance of 3:42.06. When comparing his 2012 to his 2014 season his best in season time in February was a 3:45.57 at 2012 version of the NSW Open Championships.
Park was followed by David McKeon who recorded a 3:46.39 and Victorian Mack Horton, who set a new personal best time of a 3:46.87. McKeon and Horton’s times placed them second and third in the early season’s world rankings.
James Magnussen was once again very impressive putting another performance under the 48 second mark, winning the event in a time of 47.75. For Magnussen putting up 47s in the 100 freestyle has now turned into a regular occurance having now posted a record number of times, 14, under 48 seconds. This year Magnussen has already put three times under 48; 47.59 at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series, 47.73 at the Victorian State Championships and 47.97 at the SWA State Championships.
“This is my favourite pool in the whole world. I know every crack and every line on the bottom and this is the fastest I have ever swum in Sydney so that’s pretty cool,” said Magnussen.
Magnussen was followed closely by Cameron McEvoy finished second with a time of 48.28, just off his season’s best of 48.19. Park Tae Hwan who finished third recording a 48.42.
Belinda Hocking had an extremely impressive swim in the women’s 200 back posting a time of 2:06.40. That beats her 2013 best, 2:06.66, which was recorded in the process of winning the silver at the World Championships in Barcleona.
Her time is the top time in the world this year beating her own season’s best of 2:07.42. She was followed by Madison Wilson who posted a 2:10.33 and Emily Seebhom who finished in a time of 2:11.22.
Men’s 200 butterfly
After an untidy first 100 Daniel Tranter surged in the final 100 to touch out Mitch Pratt. Mizuki Ito touched finished third. Ito’s heat swim seemed much stronger. This could be quite an open event for the Australians leading into international competition this year. Throw into this mix Thomas Fraser Holmes and Grant Irvine who will both likely improve before trials and it could be anybody’s race.
Women’s 100 breaststroke
Swedish national record holder Jennie Johansen took the women’s 100 breaststroke in a time of 1:07.38, only 32 one-hundredths off her lifetime best. She was followed by Lorna Tonks who finished in a time of 1:07.88 and Kanako Watanabe who touched in a time of 1:08.02.
Men’s 50 breaststroke
Max Ireland won the event in a time of 28.28. He was followed by Jake Packard hit the wall in a time of 28.55 and Matthew Treloar who recorded a 28.93.
Women’s 100 freestyle
Emma McKeon, who lead from the start recording a time of 53.80, a time that puts her in the second spot in the current world rankings. Brittany Elmslie finished second in a time 54.65 followed by Alicia Coutts who finished in a time of 54.77.
Women’s 400 IM
Emu Higuchi took the event in a time 4:44.12 followed by Samantha Wilkins who recorded a time of 4:48.15. Meg Baily finished third in a time of 4:49.45.
Men’s 50 backstroke
Bobby Hurley took out the world champion in the event Camille Lacourt. Hurley won the event in a time of 25.10, followed by Lacourt who posted a 25.30. Mitch Larkin finished third in a time of 25.34.
Full results can be found here