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

2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Championships (Australian Olympic Trials)

Women’s Preview

Sprint Freestyle

The women’s sprint events over the last few years have been dominated by Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell. Cate has a lifetime best of 23.96 in the 50, which she posted at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships and a 52.33 in the 100, which she recorded at the 2013 World Championships. Bronte has a lifetime best of 24.12 in the 50 and a 52.52 in the 100, putting up both on her way to winning the events at the World Championships in Kazan.

After being two of the world’s top sprint freestylers over the last four years it would hard to image that they would not go one-two in both the sprint freestyle events.

The women who have the best chance of unseating the Campbell sisters in the 50 will be Melanie Wright, Brittany Elmslie and Emma McKeon.

With the opportunity to be selected for the 4 x 100 freestyle relay team, which took Olympic gold in London, the 100 freestyle is stacked with some of the biggest names in Australian swimming. Those names include McKeon, Wright, Elmslie, Madi Wilson, Bronte Barratt, Emily Seebohm and Alicia Coutts.

Mid Distance Freestyle

Teammates McKeon and Barratt are the top two entrants in the 200 freestyle and will attempt to have St. Peters Western grab both individual spots on the Olympic. McKeon has a full schedule for the weekend putting herself in contention for Olympic team berths in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle as well as the 100 butterfly. Barratt a veteran of the Australian national team will look to qualify for her second Olympic games, before retiring at the end of the season.

Just as in the 100 freestyle there are relay spots up for grabs. Brittany Elmslie, Leah Neale, Jessica Ashwood and Amy Matsuo will all be vying for both the chance to swim the individual event in Rio and positions on the relay.

Ashwood, who took the bronze in the 400 freestyle at the World Championships last summer, will be the favourite in the event. Ashwood’s best time of 4:03.34, which she put up in Kazan, is almost three seconds faster than Barratt’s, who is the next fastest entrant.

Neale, who had an extremely disappointing World Championships in Kazan, will look to redeem herself by qualifying for the Olympic team in the 400 freestyle. Tamsin Cook will also have a legitimate shot at making the team in the event.

Distance Freestyle

Ashwood is a strong favourite in the 400 freestyle, but it appears that she will be a lock to twin the 800 freestyle. She comes into the event with a lifetime best of 8:18.41 while the next fastest competitor, Kiah Melverton, has a best time of 8:31.01.

Cook and Neale will also challenge for one of the two spots in the event.


McKeon, who swam the 100 butterfly in Kazan, comes in with the fastest entry time of 57.24, but will be challenged by several swimmers in the event. Her teammate Madeline Groves, who also competed in the event at the World Championships, has a lifetime best of 57.44.

Over the last four years Coutts has collected a lot of international hardware in this event. She won the bronze at the 2012 games, a silver at the 2013 World Championships and a gold at the 2014 Pan Pacific Championships. Coutts will be looking to give herself the opportunity to add another medal to her collection after missing out on the event at last year’s World Championships.

Brittany Elmslie, who has a lifetime best of 57.97, will also challenge for a spot on the Olympic team.

Groves and Brianna Throssell, who finished first and second at the 2015 Australian Championships, are the top two swimmers in the event by far. The closest competitor to them at last year’s championships finished almost five seconds behind.

Cook, who has a lifetime best of 2:08.86, will attempt to be the one to push the two women in the event.


The Australian women are incredibly deep in both the 100 and 200 backstroke, which should make for some exciting racing in Adelaide. Emily Seebohm, who won the 100 and 200 backstroke in Kazan will be the favourite in both events, but making her way to the top of the podium will not be easy.

2015 World Championship silver medalist Madi Wilson comes into both events with the second fastest time and has shown the ability to step up when it counts.

Seebohm’s 15 year old Brisbane Grammar teammate and junior world record holder Minna Atherton will challenge in both events coming in with a lifetime best of 59.37 in the 100 and 2:08.90 in the 200.

Hayley Baker, who competed in the 200 backstroke in Kazan, will look to put herself in a position to represent Australia yet again.

Don’t count out 2013 World Championship silver medalist Belinda Hocking, who will also be vying for a spot on the team.


Another St Peters Western athlete is well positioned to earn a berth on the Olympic team in the 100 breaststroke. Georgia Bohl comes in with the top entry time of 1:06.65. For Bohl to punch a ticket to Rio she will need to get past Taylor McKeown, who won this event at the 2015 Australian Championships and Lorna Tonks, who also represented Australia in Kazan.

After winning the 200 breaststroke at the 2015 Australian Championships Tessa Wallace comes into the event with the fastest entry time of 2:23.34. McKeown, who finished 43 one-hundredths of a second behind Wallace at last year’s event, will have a strong chance at taking one of the two spots on the Olympic team.

Sally Hunter, who will be attempting to make her third Olympic team, has an opportunity to grab a spot in the 100, but has a better chance to make the team in the 200 breaststroke.

Individual Medley 

The Australian star of the 2012 London Olympics, Alicia Coutts, is attempting to qualify for the team in several events, but her best chance for an individual berth will come in the 200 IM. Coutts, who will retire after Rio, comes in with a lifetime best of2.08.15, almost two seconds faster than Kotuku Ngawati who has a best time of 2:11.96.

Keryn McMaster and Tessa Wallace will try to position themselves on the top two spots on the podium, just as they did at last year’s championships. Blair Evans, who has been flourishing in the event under the tutelage of Bud McAllister, will push both McMaster and Wallace in the event.



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Very strong women’s team, this Aussie side;

Strong pointy end in the Sprints 50-100 & the Backstroke 100-200.
Solid in he freestyle 200-800, potential medalist, though all Ledecky in longer events & Ledecky & Sjorstram in 200.
Solid in butterfly as well.
Both Breastroke & IM, potential finalist, maybe not 400IM, which is the weakest event.

Strong medal chances in all 3 relays, with huge gold chances in the 4X100 & possibly the 4X100med if Bohl continues to improve. 4×200, everyone swimming for silver after the US.

Aussie crawl

A great review there.
In regards to the relays anyone is beatable on the day.
The Olympics is about racing on the day.
Nathan Adrian proved that to James.
James should of won by a country mile….
But he didn’t.
Cant wait for Rio .


At least one correction, Coutts 200IM PB is 2.08.15 from London; her 2.09.99 at last month’s NSW titles was her fastest since 2014 Nationals. Looking overall, the AUS women is where the bulk of the quality and quality in depth resides in AUS Swimming although it is far from across the board. This is also where we are most likely to see the fast times although I’m not sure it may be nearly as fast overall as many are predicting or hoping for. Whilst the Campbells, the backstroke trio, McKeonE, Bohl & Ashwood have been swimming fast; other have yet to show anything. A 2nd qualifier is looking debatable in the following events: 800free, 200IM, 100BRS and qualification itself potentially… Read more »

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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 …

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