2016 Australian Championships (Olympic Trials) – Men’s Preview

2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Championships (Australian Olympic Trials)

Men’s Preview

Sprint Freestyle

The sprint freestyle events will see a mix of youth and veterans vying for spots on the Olympic team. Cameron McEvoy, James Magnussen and Kyle Chalmers head into the Adelaide as the top three to watch in both the 50 and 100 freestyle. McEvoy, who comes into the championships ranked fourth in the world in the 50 (21.73) and first in the world in the 100 (47.56). is taking on the difficult task of winning the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle.

Last summer McEvoy came away from Kazan with the silver in the 100 freestyle, finishing finishing 11 one-hundredths of a second behind Ning Zetao of China. In 2014 he won gold in the 100 freestyle and finished fourth in the 50 at the Pan Pacific Championships and collected silver in both the 50 and 100 freestyle at the Commonwealth Games.

The meet in Adelaide will be only the fourth competition for Magnussen since undergoing shoulder surgery in June. He posted a season’s best of 22.32 in the 50 at the Aquatic Super Series in February and a season’s best of 49.22 in the 100 freestyle at the New South Wales State Championships in early March. Magnussen has the most experience and greatest history of success winning the 100 freestyle at both the 2011 and 2013 World Championships and finishing only one one-hundredth of a second away from Olympic gold in 2012.

At the Australian Championships last summer Magnussen won the 50 freestyle in a time of 21.98 and finished second to McEvoy in the 100 recording a time of 48.18.

The 17 year old Chalmers will look to make a push for the team in both events. Last week at the Australian Age Group Championships Chalmers posted a 22.15 in the 50 and a 1:47.23 in the 200 freestyle. Although he did not swim the 100 meter distance at the competition he put up a 48.68 at the New South Wales State Championships in March, finishing just behind McEvoy and over a half second ahead of Magnussen.

Matthew Abood will also be in the mix in the 50 and should compete for a spot on the 4 x 100 freestyle relay. Abood has competed in the 50 freestyle at the 2013 World Championships, the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships as well as the 2015 World Championships and comes in with a lifetime best of 21.84.

Tommaso D’Orsogna, who competed in the 100 freestyle in Kazan, along with Kenneth To, Daniel Smith and Regan Leong will all challenge for a position on the men’s 4 x 100 freestyle relay team.

Mid Distance Freestyle

The 200 freestyle for the men is an extremely deep event for the Australians. The top two men in the event over the past few years have been McEvoy and Thomas Fraser-Holmes. In 2014 Fraser-Holmes took gold at both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships while McEvoy finished second and third in the same two competitions.

Fraser-Holmes, who posted a lifetime best of 1:45.08 at the Commonwealth Games, had an off year in the event in 2015 recording a season’s best of 1:46.83.

Although McEvoy did make the finals at the World Championships in Kazan, posting a season’s best of 1:46.09 in the semi-final, he was still over half a second off his lifetime best of 1:45.46.

David McKeon finished second at the 2015 Australian Championships, recording a lifetime best of 1:46.33. McKeon should once again challenge for a spot on podium.

Teammates Grant Hackett and Daniel Smith, who were both part of the 4 x 200 freestyle relay in Kazan, will also pose a threat in the event. Hackett recorded a season’s best of 1:46.84 in 2015 after only a few months of serious training. Smith put up a lifetime best of 1:46.50 at the World Cup in Paris last summer.

Kurt Herzog, Ned McKendry and Mack Horton will all have legitimate shots at being part of the 4 x 200 relay in Rio.

Horton put up some incredible performances at the 2015 Australian Championships winning the 400 freestyle in a time of 3:42.84 and the 1500 freestyle in a time of 14:44.09, but had a disastrous World Championships in Kazan missing the finals in both events. It was later discovered that he had been suffering from the microscopic parasite, Blastocystis hominis

Horton will be the favourite going into the 400 freestyle, but will be challenged by McKeon who also posted a lifetime best of 3:43.71 in 2013. Hackett will be racing the event in Adelaide, but in a very recent interview told The Citizen,  “The 400m is iffy and I am a bit off the pace there so I am focused on the 200m. That’s a realistic mindset for me.”

Distance Freestyle

Horton is the run away favourite in the 1500 freestyle having posted a 14:44.09 just a year ago. Jordan Harrison has shown that he can swim faster than the Olympic qualifying time of 14:57.82, but has not done so since 2014 where he finished fourth at the Pan Pacific Championships in a time of 14:53.65. Harrison comes into the the competition with a lifetime best of 14:51.20 which he recorded in 2013.


It will be a challenge for any of the Australian men to dip under the Olympic qualifying times of 51.51 in the 100 butterfly and 1:55.75 in the 200 butterfly.

Jayden Hadler and Tommaso D’Orsogna both competed in the 100 butterfly at the World Championships and will have the best chance at going under the qualifying standard. Both men posted lifetime best times in the event at the 2015 Australian Championships. Hadler recorded a 51.66 while D’Orsogna put up a 51.90.

Grant Irvine and David Morgan both have a shot in the 100 butterfly, but may have a better chance to book a ticket to Rio in the 200 butterfly. Irvine swam his lifetime best of 1:55.32 at the 2013 Australian Championships and posted his fastest time since at the 2015 Championships winning where he went a 1:55.98. Morgan recorded his lifetime best of 1:55.98 at the 2015 Championships.


Mitch Larkin has had an amazing year. Larkin first won both the 100 and 200 backstroke at the World Championships and then went on to set the Commonwealth records in both the 100 and 200 backstroke at the World Cup in Dubai in November. He followed up those long course performances by breaking the short course world record in the 200 backstroke and the Commonwealth record in the 100 backstroke at the Australian Short Course Championships.

Larkin will look to continue to improve on his 2015 performances en route to be competing in his second Olympic Games.

The battle for the second position in the 100 should be between Ben Treffers and Joshua Beaver. Both will need to go lifetime best to be under the Olympic qualifying time 53.39.

Beaver and Matson Lawson have both been under the Olympic qualifying time of 1:57.12 and should once again push each other down under that mark.


Jake Packard will be the heavy favourite in the 100 breaststroke coming into the event with a lifetime best of 59.44 with the next closet competitor being Nicholas Schafer who has posted a 1:00.71. Packard, who recorded his lifetime best in the final at the World Championships, will need to have a strong race to swim faster than the Olympic qualifying time of 59.75.

The top three competitors in the 200 breaststroke are well off the Olympic qualifying time of 2:09.64 and will have to push each other to that level. Matthew Wilson comes in with the top time of 2:11.23 followed by Schafer at a 2:11.99 and Packard at a 2:12.19.

Individual Medley 

Daniel Tranter has been the top Australian in the 200 IM over the past four years and will be the man to beat once again in Adelaide. Tranter won the Commonwealth gold in the event in Glasgow in a time of 1:57.83 and has a lifetime best of 1:57.55, which he posted at the 2013 Australian Championships. He also took the event at last year’s national championships.

Justin James and Thomas Fraser-Holmes finished second and third in this event last year. Fraser-Holmes has a lifetime best of 1:57.88, which he put up in 2014 while James comes in with a personal best of 1:58.38, which he recorded in 2013.

Fraser-Holmes has a lifetime best in the 400 IM that six seconds faster than the next competitor. He made vast improvements in the event in 2014 where he first won the silver at the Commonwealth Games in a time of 4:12.04 and went on to finish fourth at the Pan Pacific Championships in a time of 4:10.55.

Jared Gilliland and Travis Mahoney finished second and third at the 2015 Championships posting lifetime bests of 4:16.58 and 4:16.90 respectively. The two could challenge each other to get down under the Olympic qualifying time of 4:15.47.

In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
bobo gigi
4 years ago

McEvoy 47.20?
Larkin 51.93 New WR?
Chalmers sub 48?

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

If Larkin is double tapering he could go like 51.6 or something. If not I’d say 52 low-mid; he swims very well tapered or untapered.

Chalmers could be around 47.9, with a 22 low 50 and a 1:47 200, but I’d say 48.2 more conservatively.

47.2 is very fast…I’d venture a 47.7 or 47.6.

Reply to  KD
4 years ago

Any WR at AUS Trials would be a surprise, especially on the men’s side. Larkin will have no one pushing him as a 2nd qualifier in the 100 is unlikely and he really doesn’t need to extend himself to make the QT. A sub53 is most likely but why spend all his tickets if he doesn’t need to. He’s 3 seconds faster than anyone else in the 200 and the same situation applies. He’ll most likely be fast but there’s no real need for him to expend everything. McEvoy, essentially, put all his cards on the table with his 47.56 at NSW and I strongly doubt that he’ll better that time, at least here. A sub48 is highly probable but… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
4 years ago

Time will tell CW. Just remember, some people prefer black tea, some with milk & others with milk & sugar, more of a black tea man myself. We all have opinions. I also tend to think the 4×200 free will be very competitive, there is a lot of depth, the 4X100 has injury concerns in Magnussen, he is not misfiring, he is recovering from surgery & is showing improvement. Chalmers has only just gone under 48.49 once, but that was when he just turned 17 years old, he is now 1/2 a year older, he is more experience, learning the different techniques, getting stronger, eating better, it’s the Olympic year, give the guy a break. Remember the tea, I’m calling… Read more »

Reply to  Robbos
4 years ago

Maybe, Rob; I’m just working off what these swimmers have actually been DOING and their recent form-line not off could-bes and maybes or what ifs. With due respect, I do feel you’re playing semantics re Magnussen. The fact is that, post surgery, he HAS shown negligible signs of being to return to his previous level (at least during the Rio timeframe) and has battled to break 49. That does kinda indicate that he’s battling to make the QT; I tend to think that fits the definition of misfiring. I certainly believe that another PB in the 100 looks on the cards for Chalmers but what you’re calling for is a very major one. When you’re already at international class, rather… Read more »

Reply to  Robbos
4 years ago

CW, I’m not disssing your predictions, some you will get right & some you will get wrong, just like the rest of us mere punters. Chalmers might or might not break 48 seconds, only next week will we know. However, some are calling this prediction, Chalmers is now I think the fastest 17 year old of all time, he could become the greatest sprinter of all time. Now GOAT, Phelps got 5th in the 2000 Olympics as a 15 year old in the 200 fly & went on to break the WR at 16 years old. Now Chalmers may filter out & never surpass his PB as other interests takes up his time, who knows. But based on his youth… Read more »

Reply to  bobo gigi
4 years ago

Everybody was expecting some ultra fast times (Like Manadou 21,1 and 47 mid), so I would not bet on too amazing times before actually seeing them.

4 years ago

BoBo GiGi
I don’t think McEvoy will do 47.2. Because his front-half is usually about 22.8-23. To get a great 47.2, you need to do 22.5-22.6 in the first 50 and 24.6-24.7 in the second 50 (is not too hard). So i think he will go 47.4(22.9/24.5)

4 years ago

Talk about McEvoy, i don’t know if he takes the 200free seriously. If he focuses more
on that event, he could win medal (maybe gold??). But doing the double 100free/200free in the high level is very hard especially in the olympics. So I’m still wondering: will he focus on 100free and do the 200free just for replay? Or will he do the double? Does he want to be a champion in both 100 and 200 free?

Reply to  MichaelTran
4 years ago

Yes I think McEvoy is a more 100/200 swimmer & is taking the 200 seriously, whether he is good enough is another matter.

About Jeff Grace

Jeff Grace

Jeff is a 500 hour registered yoga teacher who holds diplomas in Coaching (Douglas College) and High Performance Coaching (National Coaching Institute - Calgary). He has a background of over 20 years in the coaching profession, where he has used a unique and proven teaching methodology to help many achieve their …

Read More »