2017 Aussie National C’ships Day 4 Prelims Live Recap



  • Swimming Australia QT – 2:23.06
  • FINA A – 2:25.91
  • Top 8:
    1. Taylor McKeown – 2:26.73
    2. Jessica Hansen – 2:32.08
    3. Sarah Beale – 2:32.31
    4. Tessa Wallace – 2:32.47
    5. Mikayla Smith – 2:32.86
    6. Aisling Scott – 2:33.22
    7. Cassandra Van Breugel – 2:33.89
    8. Sofia Cicchitti – 2:34.12

2016 Olympian Taylor McKeown set herself apart in this morning’s heats, clocking the only sub-2:30 mark of the field. Opening with a 1:09.25, McKeown glided her way to a time of 2:26.73 to nab the top seed and sit within striking distance of the Aussie-mandated 2:23.06 QT. She already is ranked as 11th in the world with the time of 2:24.96 registered at last month’s NSW Championships.

The USC Spartans swimmer is Australia’s defending national champion in this race, having won the 2016 title in a time of 2:21.45. Unfortunately for the green and gold, McKeown wasn’t able to replicate that performance once in Rio, despite throwing down a semi swim of 2:21.69. She would wind up 5th overall in the final, earning a time of 2:22.43. However, McKeown didn’t come away entirely medal-less, as she was a member of Australia’s silver medal-winning 4x100m medley relay.

Nunawading’s Jessica Hansen was the next fastest competitor this morning, touching in a time of 2:32.08. Her personal best checks in at the 2:26.15 she notched at last year’s competition, so she would have to produce the swim of her life to even come close to the QT.

McKeown already competed in the 100m breaststroke earlier in this meet, taking the gold, but not clearing the Australian qualifying mark.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 2:09.16
  • FINA A – 2:11.53
  • Top 8:
    1. Sian Whittaker – 2:11.39
    2. Minna Atherton – 2:12.28
    3. Emily Seebohm – 2:12.33
    4. Hayley Baker – 2:13.45
    5. Kaylee McKeown – 2:13.76
    6. Mikkayla Sheridan – 2:13.88
    7. Amy Forrester – 2:14.14
    8. Jessica Unicomb – 2:16.42

With last year’s national champion Belinda Hocking having now retired from the sport, the women’s 200m backstroke is looking for a new 2017 title winner. The likely candidate is Emily Seebohm, the double world champion who already scored a new All Comers Record in the 100m distance earlier this meet. Seebohm notched a solid 2:12.33 to establish herself as the 3rd seed into tonight’s finals. She holds the national record at a wicked-fast 2:05.81 from 2015.

19-year-old Sian Whittaker made it known she’s a player in the back field this morning, securing the pole position in a top mark of 2:11.39. She has rocked a mark of 2:07.37 before and has notched a total of 3 outings under the 2:09.16 Aussie-mandated QT, so look for Whittaker to put on the heat tonight.

Two youngsters are present once again, just as they were in the 100m distance. 16-year-old Minna Atherton and 15-year-old Kaylee McKeown are looking to improve on their non-podium finishes in the sprint back, notching the 2nd and 5th seeds of the morning in this event.

Atherton has been as fast as 2:08.00, while McKeown owns a personal best of 2:09.18. As such, both teens are capable of clocking marks under the QT. Of note, last year’s 5th place winner Madi Wilson opted out of this event this time around.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 1:55.75
  • FINA A – 1:57.28
  • Top 8:
    1. Theodoros Benehoutsos – 1:58.14 *Non-Australian
    2. David Morgan – 1:58.33
    3. Grant Irvine – 1:59.58
    4. Nicholas Brown – 1:59.76
    5. Thomas Wotton – 1:59.96
    6. Jacob Hansford – 2:00.73
    7. Bowen Gough – 2:00.95
    8. Dominic Richardson – 2:01.28

Last year at this meet, both gold medalist David Morgan and silver medalist Grant Irvine clocked times under the 1:55.75 Aussie QT for Budapest, but the men were most likely in the shape of their lives attempting to qualify for Rio. Flash forward to this year’s competition and the prospect of both or even one Aussie athlete clocking a mark within range is remote.

But, 19-year-old Theodoros Benehoutsos set himself up nicely to give it a shot, stopping the clock this morning at 1:58.14 for the top seed. As he is a Greek competitor, he will not be contesting the final. Morgan is lurking as the 2nd seed in a conservative 1:58.33, while Irvine is also in the hunt with his morning time of 1:59.58.

The 200m butterfly is a talent gap within Australian swimming, with no male athletes residing on the world’s top 25 list, nor have they been a major play in the most recent World Championships and Olympics. Morgan finished 19th after heats of the men’s 200m butterfly in Rio.

For another perspective of this event in light of international talent, at the most recent Arena Pro Swim Series in Indianapolis, it took 2:01.88 to make that non-championship meet’s final in this event. Here, at the Aussie National Championships with an elite international roster bid on the line, it took 2:01.28 to make it to the final.


  • Swimming Australia QT – 4:15.47
  • FINA A – 4:17.90
  • Top 8:
    1. Nathan Robinson – 4:22.12
    2. Clyde Lewis – 4:23.45
    3. Kazimir Boskovic – 4:24.36
    4. Jared Gilliland – 4:24.69
    5. Travis Mahoney – 4:25.24
    6. Jacob Vincent – 4:26.58
    7. Callum Sherington – 4:26.70
    8. Hayden Hinds-Sydenham – 4:28.94

With reigning national champion and 2016 Olympic finalist Thomas Fraser-Holmes opting out of competing at this meet, Australia will see its first non-TFH 400m IM winner since 2010. But don’t forget that Travis Mahoney was also in that Olympic final and holds the nation’s 2nd fastest time ever in the event, a 4:15.48 from Rio. Mahoney wound up 7th overall in 4:15.48, but he’s capable of notching the super stiff 4:15.47 Aussie QT, although it’s unlikely.

The top two seeds belong to two teenagers in the form of St. Peters Western teammates Nathan Robinson (17) and Clyde Lewis (19). Robinson earned the morning’s swiftest mark in 4:22.12, while Lewis notched 4:23.45. Lewis has been red-hot this meet, clocking personal bests in the 200m backstroke for bronze and in the 200m IM to take gold.


Overall, the men’s 100m freestyle heats were on the sluggish side, considering we have the fastest man ever in a textile suit, Cameron McEvoy, and the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in this event, Kyle Chalmers, in the field. Nevertheless, we did see 2 sub-49 second marks, led by McEvoy’s 48.70. Splitting 23.09/25.61, the Bond swimmer secured lane 4 for tonight’s final in an attempt to collect his 2nd national title at the meet.

McEvoy was won the 50m/100m/200m freestyle treble at this meet last year. McEvoy scored the splash n’ dash win, but the longer 200m distance wasn’t to be this time around, with the physics student finishing 5th overall. Also in that 200m freestyle final is the 2nd seed in this sprint race, 18-year-old Jack Cartwright out of St. Peters Western. Just missing the 200m podium with his 4th place result, Cartwright nabbed just the 2nd 48-point 100m freestyle of his young career to claim the 2nd seed this morning. Touching in 48.81, Cartwright improved up on his 48.91 outing from the 2016 Junior Pan Pacific Championships where he took gold.

Chalmers is very much still in the mix, positioned as the 3rd seed in 49.14. He already scored a personal best in the 200m en route to silver, so he’s gotten a taste of the podium. On day 1, as part of Marion’s 4x100m freestyle relay, Chalmers anchored in 48.22 as an indication of his speed status.

This morning, the Marion Swimming Club athlete opened in 23.82 (after a slow .71 reaction time, comparatively) and closed in 25.32. Remarkably, even though Chalmers is an Olympic gold medalist, at just 18 years of age, he’s never won an Australian national senior title.


  • Swimming Australia QT – N/A
  • FINA A – 16:32.04
  • *Will be included in Day 4 Finals Recap

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3 years ago

Pedestrian heats in 100free: McEvoy the top with 48.70, Chalmers third with 49.15 and Roberts out with 49.77.

3 years ago

Yeah the regulars in the 100 did nothing of note.

Good showings from two of the younger guys – 48.8 is a slight pb for Cartwright, hoping he can drop a little bit more. 49.1 is good for Townsend aswell.

Reply to  StraightArm
3 years ago

Cartwright a very pleasing sign. Will be interesting to see just where Chalmers is currently at. Stockwell missing final seems to indicate that his sub49 at last year’s Trials a one-off. Roberts missing final probably a long term positive …. at least he shouldn’t be dragging down another 4×100

Reply to  commonwombat
3 years ago

I was wondering if you could explain why the comments sections on swimswam generally diss James Roberts ? Genuinely interested as to why as I’m not particularly familiar with him ?

Reply to  Ben
3 years ago

Then I suggest you examine his international record of performance. He has NEVER proven himself able to replicate his domestic performance (has broken 48 once) in intl waters. In individual swims, he failed to make finals of 100fr at 2011 Worlds, 2012 Olympics. Was dropped from finals lineup of 2011 4X100, below par in London relay & at 2013 Worlds. Missed 2014 & 2015 due to injury but returned & made Rio 4×100 relay where his performance was of his usual substandard level.

IMs for days
3 years ago

Chalmers seems to be a racer, he’s only as fast as hos competition, which imcan have its benefots for the 100 and 200, but explains why he isn’t much of a 50 swimmer.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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