2019 Aussie World Swimming Trials: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


The 2019 Australian World Swimming Trials kicked off tonight in Brisbane, with the nation’s best vying for spots on the roster for next month’s World Championships in Gwangju, Korea.

Entering this meet, we know that two-time World Champion James Magnussen and Commonwealth Games champion Jack Cartwright are both out of the meet, with the former having just announced his retirement, while the latter is battling shoulder issues.


Leading the pack right off the bat in this women’s 100m fly sprint is Olympic finalist in the event, Emma McKeon. The 25-year-old Griffith University star threw down a time of 57.52 to clinch the top seed in the only sub-58 second mark of the morning.

That mark already dips under the 57.64 World Championships QT set by Australian swimming, although the versatile ace will need to repeat it in tonight’s finals to claim her spot on the Gwangju roster. She’s already been well underneath that threshold this season, holding the #2 time in the world of 56.85 from April’s Australian National Championships.

Behind McKeon is Brianna Throssell, the 23-year-old Western Australian who finaled in Rio in the 200m fly, but has since been making strides in this sprint fly event, as well as the shorter free races. Throssell enters the meet with a PB of 57.30 in this 100m fly and hit a 2nd seeded 58.74 to flank McKeon in tonight’s final

Rounding out the top 3 is 23-year-old Yolane Kukla of Palm Beach. Kukla has been a mainstay of the Dolphins squad since 2010 when she swam for Australia at that year’s Pan Pacs. She clocked a mark of 58.22 there in Irvine, California, but her latest quickest was the 1:00.18 notched at this year’s NSWs. If Kukla can muster a 57.64 time to make the squad remains to be seen.

Commonwealth Games silver medalist in the 200m fly, Laura Taylor, lurks as the 4th seed.

Of note, 200m fly silver medalist at the 2016 Olympic Games, Maddie Groves, was entered in this event, but wound up scratching, along with 24-year-0ld Mikkayla Sheridan.


The men’s 100m breaststroke event saw swimmers play their cards closely to their vests, as no athlete dipped under the minute barrier this morning in Brisbane. Jake Packard of UCSC led the way with a time of 1:00.29, just under .2 ahead of 2nd seeded Daniel Cave who notched 1:00.46.

200m breaststroke monster Matthew Wilson, the 20-year-old SOSC swimmer who threw down a menacing 2:07.16 200m breast just this past April at the Australian National Championships, wrangled up the 3rd seed in 1:00.49.

A super quick mark of 59.24 is what is needed to make the Worlds squad, with only Packard of the top 4 having achieved that kind of time in his career. Packard’s PB rests at the 59.20 from last year’s Pan Pacs, while the next closest is Wilson who notched 59.67 at the Aussie Nationals to pair with his aforementioned national record.

27-year-old Rio Olympian Joshua Palmer will have to depend on a scratch to get into tonight’s final in this event, settling for 9th in a time of 1:02.04. He was 1:03.11 for 13th at Nationals.


  • Australian National Record – 2:07.03, Stephanie Rice, 2009
  • Worlds QT – 2:10.45
  • Top 8:

The top-seeded swimmer heading into the meet, 17-year-old Kaylee McKeown, proved she was worthy of lane 4 with a time of 2:14.60 this morning. That held off a charging Meg Bailey of St. Peters Western and Ohio State stateside, who touched just behind in 2:14.81 to flank the London Roar team member.

McKeown blew herself away at NSWs earlier this year, clocking a new personal best in this race of 2:11.50, a mark that situates the USC Spartan as not only the top Australian, but the 14th fastest swimmer in the world this season. This is just one event of a rigorous schedule teen McKeown has lined up, one that also includes the 100m/200m back and the 100m/200m free.

Western Australia’s Blair Evans will join tonight’s hunt of McKeown on the other side of the teen, having notched a mark of 2:15.31 for her morning swim. She’s more geared toward the 400m IM and will most likely use this event as a primer for that race in which she has a more likely chance of achieving a Worlds QT.

St. Peters Western’s Abbey Harkin holds a PB in this event of 2:12.26, so she’ll need to swim the race of her life from the 5th seed to improve her 2:16.00 swim to get into the 2:10:45 range. the same holds true for Kotuku Ngawati, the 24-year-old Melbourne Vicentre who gave herself a chance as the 4th seed with an AM swim of 2:15.71.

Of note, a top Aussie in the women’s 200m IM, Calypso Sheridan, who finaled at NCAAs for Northwestern, is not entered in this meet. She has already been selected for the World University Games and, per the Aussie World Championships Selection Policy, is ineligible for the World Championships.


In a swim merely aimed at getting herself positioned in the top 8, St. Peters Western Commonwealth Games multi-gold medalist Ariarne Titmus clocked the top seed of 4:09.72 to earn the pole position in this women’s 400m free.

Holding the Aussie National Record in 3:59.66 from this year’s Aussie Nationals less than 2 months ago, the 18-year-old has proven she is more than capable of hitting the 4:06.48 QT, but more so is a very real contender for a medal come the final in Gwangju. She is also tackling the 200m and 800m free events here in Brisbane.

TSS Aquatics’ Kiah Melverton hit the wall this morning in a time of 4:09.95, within range of her personal best of 4:06.25 fro last year’s Pan Pacs Trials. If she can ride alongside Titmus tonight, she may have a chance of adding this event to her lineup for Gwangju.

This 22-year-old used to pressure, however, as she has 3 big-time international medals under her belt by way of the 800m free bronze from 2016’s Short Course World Championships in Windsor, the 1500m free silver from last year’s Pan Pacs, as well as the 800m free bronze from last year’s Commonwealth Games.

Melverton most recently took the 1500m free national title in Adelaide back in April.

Her teammate Maddie Gough has also been putting up some solid times, including a 4:08.42 at last year’s Pan Pacs, while she hit nearly tonight in 4:08.79 at last month’s Sydney Open meet. She came in 3rd this morning in 4:10.34 to set herself up nicely for tonight’s main event.

Young guns Lani Pallister and Jenn Forrester fell among the top 8 at just 17 and 15 in terms of age, respectively. Pallister is a 3-time gold medalist at the Junior Pan Pacs and is also an accomplished Life Saving athlete.


There was a slight shuffle in the men’s 400m freestyle as a result of this morning’s prelims. Towards the top, the leaders were expected, with Olympian Jack McLoughlin leading the way in 3:48.09, while Olympic champion in this event, Mack Horton, touched in 3:50.50 for the top 2 seeds.

Bond standout Elijah Winnington got his jets fired up with a 3:51.09 3rd seeded mark, while Rackley teen Thomas Neill, just 17, proved he can hang with the big boys, registering the 2nd fastest time of his career in 3:52.71. The emerging freestyler was 3:55.52 in March, which he dropped down to 3:50.99 to take gold at the Australian Age Championships just a month later.

Down the line, however, 6th seeded Alexander Grant of Brisbane Grammar and 7th seeded Max Carleton of St. Peters Western found themselves shut out of the top 8, as swimmers like Noosa’s Nick Sloman surged up the rankings to make the final. Sloman, the 2019 Australian Open Water 10k Champion, rocketed from 13th seed to 6, hacking over 2 seconds off his personal best in the process.

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Miss M
3 years ago

Horton misses the QT.

McKeon and Throssell QT in 100 fly
McKeown QT in 200 IM
Titmus and Melverton QT in 400 free, titmus just 0.07 behind ledecky
McLoughlin QT in 400 free

Disappointment for Wilson and Horton

Reply to  Miss M
3 years ago

Not so good from Winnington either. 4 seconds slower than his swim at nationals which would have qualified.

Reply to  Miss M
3 years ago

Mack’s parents said they didn’t have much hope that he’d be added to the squad on the merit of his time. They looked quite upset.

Reply to  Gymswim
3 years ago

Sad for them. A lovely family .

Jacqui S
3 years ago

Ariane just did a 3:59.3 !

3 years ago

Is there any way to watch the finals tonight as livestream was not working this morning.

Reply to  Lynchy
3 years ago

It’ll be on 7plus

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Troy
3 years ago

is there any way to replay the livestream after it has aired?

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
3 years ago

Hopefully on YouTube . Look up Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming

3 years ago

Times are nothing to write home about but given the lack of depth in the vast majority of events, this is standard at an AUS selection meet.

W100FLY: This QT is a doddle for McKeon and she’d need to break not to qualify. 2nd spot is no sinecure. Throssel HAS bettered the QT but only once/twice at most and will have to lift appreciably to make it. Everyone else would need significant PBs.

M100BRS: Far from out of the question that we may not see a direct qualifier given the steep QT. Packard has a PB just inside it but to date we have zero read on his current form. Wilson would need a PB in the range of 0.4sec… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
3 years ago

2:09.94 for McKeown Jr. Great swim, possible much more to come from her side

Reply to  ooo
3 years ago

Agree, will be very interesting to see how her other events play out, esp the backstrokes.

3 years ago

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Time trial for the elite swimmers. Aus need some depth.

Reply to  Snarky
3 years ago

Aussie trials are generally really slow in the morning. I wonder if a similar system to french trials (eg having to hit a certain time in the morning) would be helpful for preparation?

3 years ago

Nevermind it’s on 7plus.

3 years ago

Unrelated to article – but Ledecky just swam 3:59.28 in Santa Clara, taking over the world leading time from Titmus

Reply to  Seans
3 years ago

It looks like being out of competition Titmus isn’t going to push herself at this trials.

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

This aged well

Mr Piano
Reply to  Seans
3 years ago


3 years ago

Yolane Kukla – Blast from the past. How is she still only 23..

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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