2017 Aussie National C’ships Day 2 Finals Live Recap



  • Swimming Australia QT – 1:07.11
  • The Podium:
    • Taylor McKeown – 1:07.23
    • Jessica Hansen – 1:07.33
    • Leiston Pickett – 1:07.52

It was a super close finish among the top 3 finishers who all clocked sub-1:08 times, but 2016 Olympic finalist Taylor McKeown wound up with the magic touch to finish with the gold in 1:07.23. After a comparatively sluggish morning prelims where just one swimmer scored a 1:07 mark, it was uplifting to see the women step up this evening, even if it resulted in no swimmer notching a World Championships qualifying time.

Hansen finished just .10 behind McKeown for silver, slicing about .4 from her morning swim, while Southport’s Leiston Pickett was a close bronze in 1:07.52. Olympian Georgia Bohl found herself just off the podium in a 4th place 1:08.29. No swimmer scored a time within the world’s top 10, which includes Japan’s Reona Aoki at the top in a time almost two seconds faster  (1:05.29) than the quickest Aussie competitor tonight.

Note that the FINA A cut in the event is slotted at 1:07.58, so the top 2 finishers all would’ve qualified had that been the only criteria, with Pickett also sliding under the mark. But with the 1:07.11 Aussie-mandated time, we see once again an event without Aussie qualifiers, though they were FINA A cut achievers, just as in the men’s 100m butterfly yesterday.


  • Swimming Australia QT –58.05
  • The Podium:
    • Emma McKeon – 57.27 *QT
    • Brianna Throssell – 58.83
    • Jemma Schlicht – 59.08

Olympic bronze medalist in the 200m freestyle, Emma McKeon, fired off a wicked-fast 57.27 to score the gold tonight in Brisbane in the 100m butterfly to win her 3rd consecutive national title in this race. Her outing tonight matches the 6th-fastest time of her bright career and is now positioned as the 3rd fastest mark in the world behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom and Japan’s Rikako Ikee.

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Having proven she was capable of much more, 22-year-old McKeon was shut out of the medals in this event in Rio, settling for a 7th place finish in a time of 57.05. The St. Peters Western athlete notched a mark just over .2 away from that result tonight, earning a World Championships qualification time of 57.27. This is now her 2nd qualifying individual event already these championships, having secured silver in the 100m freestyle last night.

McKeon would be the only woman to add the 100m butterfly to her Budapest line-up, as silver place finisher Brianna Throssell touched in 58.83 as runner-up, well off the Aussie-mandated time of 58.05. Look for this Western Australian athlete to take things up a notch in her better-suited 200m butterfly event, the race in which she finaled at the 2016 Olympic Games.

Bronze tonight went to Jemma Schlicht, who just earned a personal best by .16 of a second.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 1:46.45
  • The Podium:
    • Mack Horton – 1:46.83
    • Kyle Chalmers – 1:46.87
    • Alexander Graham – 1:47.39

In an unexpected turn of events, it was 400m freestyle Olympic gold medalist Mack Horton who slayed the super stacked men’s 200m freestyle field, surpassing young gun Kyle Chalmers and reigning national title holder Cameron McEvoy. Horton was 8th after the opening 100m, notching a split of 53.38, but released his fury on the back-half, closing in 53.45 to secure the gold in a winning mark of 1:46.83. That’s a personal best and the first time Horton has dipped under the 1:47 threshold.

This is Horton’s 2nd individual title after his 400m freestyle, however, as his time is above the Aussie-mandated QT of 1:46.45, only his earlier victory stands as a Word Championship individual event.

Finishing only .04 behind for silver is Marion Swimming Club superstar Kyle Chalmers, the surprise gold medalist in the 100m freestyle in Rio. At just 18 and having entered this 200m free ‘for fun’, Chalmers ripped over a second off of his 6th seeded morning swim of 1:48.03 to register the only other 1:46 time of the field in 1:46.87. That, too, represents the first time Chalmers goes sub-1:47, with his personal best entering this meet positioned at 1:47.23 he notched at last year’s age group championships.

Horton and Chalmers now check-in as the 3rd and 5th fastest swimmers in the world in this event his season.

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Despite St. Peters Western having 4 swimmers in this final, none wound up on the podium, as Bond’s Alexander Graham stole 3rd place in 1:47.39.  He was 2nd after his morning swim of 1:47.70, so he was able to shave off about .30 to bring it down to a time that was able to shut out Jack Cartwright’s 1:47.57 4th place finish.

With reigning co-national title holder Thomas Fraser-Holmes having opted out of this meet (and thus the World Championships), this race seemed ripe for Cameron McEvoy‘s picking. But the fastest 100m freestyler ever in a textile suit faltered, despite scoring the quickest reaction time off the blocks. McEvoy led at the half in 52.12, but couldn’t engage his necessary cylinders to carry through on the back half. The man who just won the 50m freestyle in a world-leading 21.55 earlier this meet settled for 5th here in 1:47.60, possibly indicating his accelerated speed in one event has implications for the other.

Again, this is the 3rd event in which the top 3 swimmers scored a FINA A cut, but failed to meet the stiffer Aussie QT. Even without individual qualification, the fact that the top 6 all scored marks equal to or faster than the A cut of 1:47.73 means that the green and gold will have a men’s 4x200m freestyle relay in Budapest.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 2:09.64
  • The Podium:
    • Matthew Wilson – 2:09.29 *QT
    • Zac Stubblety-Cook – 2:10.53
    • George Harley – 2:10.67

After several heartbreaking close calls that saw Wilson within hundredths of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games and World Short Course Championships, the 18-year-old earned his first elite international roster for the green and gold. Powering through clear water to his fastest time ever, the Sydney Olympic Park swimmer scored the win handily, taking his personal best from 2:09.65 to 2:09.29. He also scorched his morning swim of 2:10.51 en route to qualifying for the World Championships squad. Wilson maintains his 5th position in the world rankings with tonight’s outing.

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Hugely promising for Australian men’s breaststroke is the fact that the silver and bronze place finishers tonight also nabbed FINA A cuts. Although Zac Stubblety-Cook and George Harley missed the Aussie-mandated QT, the fact that they finished in respective times of 2:10.53 and 2:10.67 is enormously positive for the discipline drought the green and gold has suffered as of late in this event.

2:13.46 was Stubblety-Cook’s personal best headed into this meet, so the Brisbane atmosphere helped fueled the 18-year-old to a new low by an enormous margin. The same holds true for 18-year-old Breakers breaststroker George Harley, who already lowered his previous fastest time of 2:13.27 to 2:11.94 in prelims, only to drop it down again to 2:10.67 tonight.

With an average age of 19 for tonight’s finalists, the silver lining in non-qualifiers is the prospect of up-and-coming athletes hopefully moving Aussie breaststroke in the right direction.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 4:38.20
  • The Podium:
    • Blair Evans – 4:41.46
    • Meg Baily – 4:43.67
    • Kiah Melverton – 4:44.06

Claiming her 2nd consecutive national title in the event, Blair Evans is your 400m IM Australian champion. Knocking about 2 seconds off of her morning swim, the West Coast athlete registered a time of 4:41.46 to hold off the field, one that included 3-time 400m IM title winner Keryn McMaster. Off her game slightly, McMaster wound up 4th overall in 4:48.44.

Nailing a personal best en route to silver, however, is Meg Bailey, the 20-year-old swimmer who competes for Ohio State stateside. 4:43.67 is what the Hunter racer collected in the final tonight to hack over 4 seconds off of her previous fastest outing. TSS Aquatics’ Kiah Melverton, the Aussie 5k open water national champion frog-hopped McMaster to move up from 4th to 3rd and snatch the bronze.

With the Aussie QT resting at 4:38.20, no female 400m IM finalist made the cut for Budapest.


  • Swimming Australia QT – N/A
  • The Podium:
    • Brayden McCarthy – 23.70
    • David Morgan – 23.82
    • Christopher Raven – 24.08

19-year-old Brayden McCarthy, who already earned bronze in the 100m version of this race, nailed a gold in the 50m sprint fly tonight in Brisbane. Establishing himself as the 2nd seed this morning in 24.07, McCarthy lowered his time to 23-point for the first time in his young career, checking in with a 23.70 to top the podium.

100m butterfly national champion David Morgan touched just behind in the only other sub-24 second outing of 23.82, while the top seed headed into tonight, Christopher Raven, managed bronze in 24.08.

David Morgan fell short of the stiff QT in the men’s 100m fly, which would have meant he’d most likely wrangle up the roster spot in this race for Budapest as well. We’ll keep our eye on who would potentially race this event at the World Championships.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 59.71
  • The Podium:
    • Emily Seebohm – 58.62 *QT, All Comers Record
    • Holly Barratt – 59.66, *QT
    • Hayley Baker – 1:00.25

We commented in our prelims preview how Emily Seebohm is unequivocally the best-performing Aussie female ever in the 100m backstroke and she honored that statement by making her 6th World Championships squad in the event. The Brisbane Grammar star holds all of her nation’s top 10 performances of all-time and, even though she’s still only 24 years of age, Seebohm has won this event at 9 of the last 10 national championships. Tonight’s outing represents the 7th fastest time of her career.

The Brisbane Grammar athlete just made it 12 national titles in this event, clocking a monster 58.62 to register the world’s 2nd fastest (and 2nd 58-point) time this season.

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Also making the World Championships qualifying time is 29-year-old Holly Barratt. Rockingham, which was just named a Podium Training Centre by Swimming Australia, saw its star clock a time of 59.66 to slide under the 59.71 QT by just .05, but enough to join Seebohm in Hungary. Barratt’s time tonight is a personal best by .3 of a second.

Hayley Baker of Melbourne Vicentre earned bronze in 1:00.25. 15-year-old Kaylee McKeown edged even closer to breaking the minute mark for the first time, notching 1:00.28, while 16-year-old Minna Atherton was off her A-game, winding up in 6th in 1:00.53. Olympic finalist in this event, Madison Wilson, finished 7th overall in a sluggish 1:00.76.

Along with the men’s 200m backstroke and 50m freestyle, this is another event in which we’ve seen 2 qualifiers.


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bobo gigi
5 years ago

What happens with young backstrokers Atherton and McKeown? Don’t tell me that have already peaked and now start to decline! And Wilson? Very weird women’s 100 back. Hats off to Seebohm for her tenacity after tough olympic games.
Great performance for young Wilson in the men’s 200 breast.
Australian women’s IM is in very bad shape.
And we’ll see the final but looks like nothing special will come again from the women’s 100 breast.
Chalmers and Horton new PBs. But the Australian men’s 200 free lacks a big star for a long time now. I continue to think that Chalmers has a potential in 1.44. Maybe in Tokyo.

Reply to  bobo gigi
5 years ago

Wilson never broke 59 last year.

Atherton has had 2 years of major advances; rarely does this continue uninterrupted. Could there be some physical development issues in play with one or both ?

Women’s IM only ever had Rice (who’s shoulders were completely “shot to pieces” by London & Coutts over the shorter trip; there has never been any real depth. Seebohm toyed on & off with the shorter IM but only ever once swam any time of intl note.

Since when over the past decade has AUS HAD a real bona fide star 200fr; rather what we have seen have been swimmers who could swim a good time but lacked consistency. The next 2 years will most likely give… Read more »

5 years ago

Why are the Aussies so good at the 100 and 400 free but can’t ever muster anything significant in the 200. Their last individual medalist internationally was Hackett in 05 I think

5 years ago

A fairly stark illustration of the current realities of AUS swimming on show tonight.

A few outstanding individuals marked their complete dominance/were utterly untroubled. A number of Rio Olympians still seeming somewhat unfocused; is this indicative of indecision whether to continue to Tokyo or collect their superannuation at Toytowns this time next year ? A number of events where AUS is demonstrably way off the international pace or even finals level. Some teenagers making major strides forward whilst others possibly hitting a “plateau” stage

M200BRS: Major cudos to Wilson making a very stiff QT. Has now “punched his ticket” to Budapest, It will now be interesting to see if this carries over where he needs a 0.5sec PB to make… Read more »

5 years ago

Quick comparison between Italian Champs (just finished) and Aussie trials.
On the men’s side, after two days of competition and 7 races, the Italian winner has been faster than the australian one five times out of seven.
Quite surprising..

Reply to  nuotofan
5 years ago

Italians are getting stronger and stronger . thats why

bobo gigi
Reply to  nuotofan
5 years ago

Maybe Australians are tired of swimming very fast each year in April and being disappointing in the summer for most of them. 😛
But I think it’s more the Italians who step up their game.
I wonder if a French winner will be faster than an Italian next month at nationals. 😥 Probably but not many.

5 years ago

What’s up with Wilson? A 58.7 swimmer swimming 1:00???? Atherton probably has school commitments so has trained less (????)

5 years ago

What is it with men’s freestyle in Australia?
Finally gotten over the Thorpe hacket era, with great swimmers like TFH, Mcevoy, smith, Horton, McKeon etc but they sure no how to mess there 4×200 up. They should be world and Olympic champions, but scraped a bronze in 15 in a weak field and bombed again the 4×200.
Again tonight Horton nailing last 50 to win 1.46.8… I forgot the year but in late 90’s Hacket had the world record at 1.46.6 (I think) how have none of these swimmers at least matching that is incredible.
Smith and Mckeon bombing again. Smith is a 1.45 man his technique is amazing and Mckeon seems to blow it every year.… Read more »

Reply to  Skoorbnagol
5 years ago

Talented swimmers most certainly but not sure I can agree with your appelation of “great” !

TFH is someone who can bash up the bush leaguers but hasnt ever really got it together individually in the big time. Perhaps he and his coach erred by sticking with the 400IM for as long as they did.

McEvoy is an outstanding 100 swimmer who’s NEVER been consistent over the longer distance in either individual or relay endeavours

McKeon has put together a total of 2 good swims (heats of Rio 400 & Rio 4×200 final) in a 5-6 year international career.

Horton is probably only ever going to be a 1.46ish flat start 200 at best. Damned useful for a 4×200… Read more »

5 years ago

What happens if the QTs were not met?

Reply to  Zanna
5 years ago

Will be a discretionary call for the selectors. If the swimmer has already qualified in an individual event, then they may be given the start at Worlds. If there are possible relay connotations (ie medley relay or 4×200), then they will most likely get the ticket. In an event with no relay connections and especially when they are some considerable way off the QT (ie W400IM), then its unlikely.

Reply to  Zanna
5 years ago

Swimming Australia is known for establishing qualifying times that are much faster than the FINA A Qualifying standards. Australia will send a men’s 4x200m freestyle relay to Budapest; Horton, Chalmers, Graham and Cartwright will be selected. Both Horton and Chalmers swam faster than the imposed FINA “A” standard and will therefore get the opportunity to swim this event individually if they wish to do so.
There are talks that Horton will bypass this event, opening up a spot for Alexander Graham. Graham’s time of 1:47.39 clearly passed the FINA standard of 1:47.73.

Reply to  petriasfan
5 years ago

With the likes of David Morgan (men’s 100m fly) and Taylor McKeown (women’s 100m breast) – first place winner in their respected individual 100m event, but failed to meet Swimming Australia’s qualifying time; they will be selected to swim the medley relay. Usually, Swimming Australia likes to have alternative swimmers for the medley relay. Don’t be surprised if the likes of Grant Irvine and Jessica Hansen are selected at the end of the meet.
However, if a swimmer other than Irvine and Hansen meet the A qualifying time in their respected 200m events, they’ll then have priority over Irvine and Hansen.

Reply to  petriasfan
5 years ago

There was never any real dispute that a M4X200 would be sent given the composite time AUS Swimming set (7.11.70) only called for 1.47highs from the top 4.

McKeown looks the only one likely to get near to the 200BRS cut so she’s likely to get the BRS slot on the 4XMED effectively on default if nothing other and will most likely be given a start in both individual events. Hansen may be taken as “insurance” but would only get a start in the 100.

The men’s 200fly QT is just inside the PBs of both Morgan & Irvine so its certainly doable but still a significant “ask”. At this point, Morgan has to be in the box seat to… Read more »

5 years ago

Have to mute the broadcast guys.

Happy for Graham and Cartwright up there in the 200free. Also great to see Stubblety-Cook coming down with the 2.10, any word on what program he’s off to?

Reply to  StraightArm
5 years ago

He has been at Chandler with Vince Raleigh for most of the season now. Massive time drops since the move. I think it’s close to 5seconds in one season.

Reply to  OntheTop
5 years ago

Great stuff.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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