2017 NSW STATE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Friday, March 3rd – Sunday, March 6th
- Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center (SOPAC)
- Prelims at 9am local (5pm Eastern night before)/Finals at 6pm local Thurs/Fri (2am Eastern), 5:30pm local Sat (1:30am Eastern)
- Meet Central
- Entry Lists
- Live Timing (Once Available)
The 2017 New South Wales (NSW) State Open Championships serves as the final sizable opportunity for Australians to fine-tune their racing before competing at April’s National Championships. It is at Nationals where the green and gold’s World Championships roster will be determined, so plenty of eyes will be on NSWs as a gauge indicating where the chips may fall for Budapest. Below are the top storylines to watch in Sydney.
CAMPBELL SISTERS RETURN
Both world record holder Cate Campbell and younger sister 2015 double world champion Bronte Campbell have been absent from competitions near and far since Rio. Both women suffered injuries last year and took time off to tend to their bodies before kicking off their next training cycle. And, each is taking it relatively easy in Sydney this weekend, focusing only on their main events. Cate is listed to swim 50/100/200 freestyle with Bronte racing just the 50/100 freestyle. Their performance here will lay a good foundation for what to possibly expect not only for their individual outings come April, but also to look ahead to relay prospects in Budapest.
AUSSIE INDIVIDUAL GOLD MEDALISTS EXPECTED TO COMPETE
Despite the major hype surrounding Cate Campbell and her new 100m freestyle world record set just weeks out from Rio, as well as the fact that Cameron McEvoy also earned a textile world record in the men’s version of the event prior to the 2016 Games, neither swam away with an individual Olympic medal.
Instead, the young gun in Kyle Chalmers shocked a stacked 100 free field that not only included McEvoy, but also defending 2012 gold medalist Nathan Adrian. Chalmers finished out his 2016 year by cracking the WJR in the SCM 100 free and establishing himself as more than a flash in the pan. His 200 freestyle has also been on the rise and the 18-year-old may indeed go after the treble, slated to swim the 50/100/200 freestyle just like McEvoy here in Sydney.
Mack Horton was the other Aussie individual gold medalist, having won the men’s 400m freestyle early on in Rio. He’ll be battling Chalmers in the 200, but is also slated to swim his bread-and-butter events, the 400 and 1500 freestyle.
FOREIGN COMPETITION ABOUNDS
With several nations’ World Trials coming up quickly, nearby nations are traveling to NSW to get a high-profile bit of racing in while they make their final preparations. Korea’s Park Tae Hwan is among them, as the freestyle specialist will be putting his free to the test in the 100m and 200m races. Park actually trains in Australia, under Tim Lane at the Warringah club, although he’ll be representing Korea in the competition. One laments for a Horton-Park duel in the 400 or 1500 freestyle, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen in Sydney this weekend.
Another notorious name, Yulia Efimova, is ready-to-g0, having entered the meet to swim the 50/100/200 breaststroke, as well as the 50 back and 200 IM. Efimova and her small squad and coach father has been training in nearby Bali. In addition to competing, Efimova has another objective in her Australia visit in the form of scouting out a potential Australian coaching candidate to take the reins of her new ‘Team Efimova’ According to state-run news agency TASS, Efimova, will “talk to a number of experts on the subject of cooperation.”
There are key game changing swimmers that are still in their teen years, ready to break out into senior competition. Minna Atherton, at just 16, is the World Junior Record holder in the 50 and 100m backstroke events and just missed a shot at the Rio Olympic Games. She’ll be contesting the aforementioned events, as well as the 200 backstroke at SOPAC.
Australian junior national record holder Kaylee McKeown will most certainly make her presence known in the backstroke races as well, with the 15-year-old sister of 2016 Olympic finalist Taylor McKeown competing in the 50/100/200 trio.
Another one to watch in the men’s 100 freestyle is 18-year-old Bond speedster Brayden McCarthy. At the Australian Short Course Championships last fall, McCarthy took bronze in a time of 47.32. Last year he also traveled with Chalmers to the Singapore stop of the World Cup series, where McCarthy found himself on the podium in 3rd place in both the 100m freestyle (47.23) and 100m butterfly (51.24) events overseas.
Two-time 100m freestyle world champion James Magnussen announced he would be opting out of qualifying for the World Championships, thus taking it easy racing-wise at least the first part of this year. His target is the 2018 Commonwealth Games that will take place on home soil on the Gold Coast.
18-year-old freestyle and butterflyer Tamsin Cook, the youngest member of the Australian Olympic team in Rio, recently announced she will be taking a brief hiatus from the sport. The teen who took silver as part of her squad’s 4×200 freestyle relay expects to take about 2 months off, which puts her out of Nationals and a potential spot on the World Championships roster.
Additionally, both backstrokers Mitch Larkin and Bobby Hurley are staying dry this weekend. While there’s no news on the former, who recently moved to Commercial with the Campbell sisters, Hurley is now coaching Chad Le Clos in South Africa as he takes a break as a competitor.
And, just today Belinda Hocking announced her retirement after representing Australia at 3 Olympic Games. 2016 Short Course.