2021 Australian Championships – Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2021 AUSTRALIAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS

On the penultimate day of racing at the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships, we will be treated to 4 events each on both the women’s and men’s side. As day 4 finals get underway, swimmers will contest the 400 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 butterfly, and 200 IM. The session will wrap up with the women’s and men’s 4×100 freestyle.

Among those races scheduled for tonight is Emma McKeon‘s bid for a second 2021 national title as she hunts for gold in the 100 fly, Mitch Larkin‘s 200 backstroke redemption after a DQ in the 100, Kaylee McKeown‘s shot at a 200 IM title, and Ariarne Titmus‘ continued post-injury return to racing in the 400 free.

Follow along for a live recap and analysis.

WOMEN’S OPEN 400 FREESTYLE – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 4:26.87
  • Australian Record: 3:58.75 – Ariarne Titmus (2019)

Top 3

  1. Ariarne Titmus – 4:01.34
  2. Leah Neale – 4:08.26
  3. Kareena Lee – 4:09.23

Ariarne Titmus swam to an expected victory in the women’s 400 freestyle as she posted a 4:01.34 to become the second-fastest in the world this season behind Katie Ledecky’s 3:59.25.

2020-2021 LCM Women 400 Free

AriarneAUS
Titmus
07/26
3:56.69
2Katie
Ledecky
USA3:57.3607/26
3Li
Bingjie
CHN4:01.0807/26
4Erika
Fairweather
NZL4:02.2807/25
5Summer
McIntosh
CAN4:02.4207/26
View Top 26»

Titmus is back in a world-class position in the 400 freestyle just months after she suffered a shoulder injury. 4:01.34 marks Titmus’ 5th fastest swim on record:

Ariarne Titmus Top 5 400 Freestyles On Record

  1. 3:58.76 (2019) (Australian Record)
  2. 3:59.66 (2019)
  3. 3:59.66 (2018)
  4. 4:00.93 (2018)
  5. 4:01.34 (2021)
  6. 4:01.73 (2018)

Titmus was joined on the podium by Leah Neale in the 400 freestyle who posted a 4:08.26 for silver while Kareena Lee notched a 4:09.23 for bronze. Madeleine Gough and Kiah Melverton fell from 2nd and 3rd seed heading into the race to 4th and 5th with their swims of 4:09.41 and 4:09.64, respectively.

MEN’S OPEN 400 FREESTYLE – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 4:04.45
  • Australian Record: 3:40.08 – Ian Thorpe (20020)

Top 3

  1. Elijah Winnington – 3:45.69
  2. Thomas Neill – 3:46.35
  3. Brendon Smith – 3:51.04

It was absolutely down to the wire in the men’s 400 freestyle final as Elijah Winnington and Thomas Neill went stroke for stroke down the last lap of the 400 freestyle. It was ultimately Winnington who touched first with a 3:46.35, just trailing his season-best of 3:43.90.

In a post-race interview, Winnington discussed his recent move to Brisbane where he joined forces with Dean Boxall who also coaches women’s 400 freestyle champion Ariarne Titmus. Winnington said that he’s enjoyed the switch so far and described Boxall as a great leader.

Thomas Neill came in with a 3:46.35 for second place, just over his PB of 3:46.27 while Brendon Smith was a 3:51.04 for third. Notably, top seed heading into the final Zac Incerti who posted a 3:49.75 during the prelims decided to scratch the event. Another notable absence in the final was Mack Horton 2016 Olympic Champion in the event Mack Horton who will be the one to beat this summer at 2021 Australian Olympic Trials.

WOMEN’S OPEN 200 BACKSTROKE – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 2:22.34
  • Australian Record: 2:04.49 – Kaylee McKeown (2020)

Top 3

  1. Emily Seebohm – 2:07.46
  2. Jessica Unicomb – 2:13.27
  3. Tahlia Thornton – 2:16.97

Emily Seebohm managed to win her 3rd national title in the 200 backstroke with a 2:07.46 to take a full 4 seconds off her prelim swim of 2:11.80. The swim the is fastest Seebohm’s been in the event since she posted a 2:06.82 back in 2018. A 2:07.46 is also good enough to make Seebohm the 4th fastest in the world this season.

2020-2021 LCM Women 200 Back

KayleeAUS
McKeown
06/17
2:04.28
2Kylie
Masse
CAN2:05.4207/31
3Margherita
Panziera
ITA2:05.5603/31
4Rhyan
White
USA2:05.7306/19
5Emily
Seebohm
AUS2:06.1707/31
View Top 26»

Joining Seebohm on the podium, Jessica Unicomb came in at a 2:13.27 for silver and Tahlia Thorton followed with a 2:16.97 for bronze. Mollie O’Callaghan actually swam the third-fastest 200 backstroke of the session with a 2:12.59 from the 17-18-year-old final.

Two notable absences in this event were Australian record holder Kaylee McKeown who opted out of the event in favour of the 200 IM and Minna Atherton who holds the 100 backstroke short course world record.

MEN’S OPEN 200 BACKSTROKE – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 2:08.83
  • Australian Record: 1:53.17 – Mitch Larkin (2015)

Top 3

  1. Tristan Hollard – 1:56.40
  2. Ty Hartwell – 1:58.73
  3. Bradley Woodward – 1:58.76

Mitch Larkin posted a field-leading 1:54.38 during the prelims of the 200 backstroke but has opted to forgo the final in order to save energy for the 200 IM later in the session. With Larkin out of the final, Tristan Hollard took full advantage and swam to victory. Hollard established an early lead in the heat with a 58.32 100 split and held on until the end, coming home in a 1:01.41 for a final time of 1:56.40.

That swim for Hollard was an improvement upon his morning swim of 1:59.17 and got under the Olympic qualifying time of 1:57.26. The 200 backstroke title made Hollard a two-time Australian national champion this year, having posted a 54.83 to win 100 backstroke gold earlier on in the meet.

Hollard was followed by Ty Hartwell in the 200 back final who swam a 1:58.73 for silver and Bradley Woodward with a 1:58.76 for bronze. Both were faster than their prelim swims of 1:59.40 and 2:00.11, respectively.

WOMEN’S OPEN 100 BUTTERFLY  – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 1:02.81
  • Australian Record: 56.18 – Emma McKeown (2017)

Top 3

  1. Emma McKeon – 56.44
  2. Brianna Throssell – 57.76
  3. Alexandria Perkins – 59.01

Emma McKeon pulled off an impressive 56.44 win in the 100 butterfly to get within 0.30 of her own PB and Australian national record in the event which stands at a 56.18. The swim is the third-fastest time in the world this season, trailing Zhang Yufei’s 55.62 and Claire Curzan’s 56.20. The time is an improvement upon her previous season-best of 55.65 which also ranked #3 in the world.

2020-2021 LCM Women 100 Fly

2Zhang
Yufei
CHN55.6209/29
3Torri
Huske
USA55.6606/14
4Emma
McKeon
AUS55.7207/25
5Marie
Wattel
FRA56.1607/24
View Top 26»

The swim for McKeon was good enough to set a new All-Comers record in the eventMcKeon was well under the Olympic selection cut of 57.10 which she will need to swim at the upcoming Australian Trials in order to get a spot on Australia’s Olympic squad in the event this summer.

200 butterfly champion Brianna Throssell was a bit over that Olympic cut with a 57.76 for silver while Alexandria Perkins rounded out the top 3 in a 59.01. Meg Bailey was fourth in the final with a 59.74 which was just a little slower than her prelim swim of 59.44. Swimming from the 17-18-year-old final, Mia O’Leary managed to post the 5th fastest time overall with her 59.95.

MEN’S OPEN 100 BUTTERFLY – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 56.87
  • Australian Record: 50.85 – Andrew Lauterstein (2009)

Top 3

  1. Matthew Temple – 51.83
  2. Shaun Champion – 52.17
  3. Bowen Gough – 53.01

After Bowen Gough managed to out-swim Matthew Temple in the men’s 200 butterfly final, Temple returned for redemption in the 100 and pulled off the win in a 51.83. That was an improvement by about half a second from his morning swim of 51.83 and gets him within a second of Andrew Laurerstein’s 2009 Australian record of 50.85.

Shaun Champion earned a silver medal in the event by posting a 52.17 to get under his prelim swim of 52.64. Bowen Gough retained the third-place rank he held heading into the final, claiming the silver medal here with a 53.01, adding a bit of time to his 52.99 from the prelims.

The Olympic selection cut in the event sits at a 51.70 which means all three of the medalists in the 100 fly will need to be a little quicker come Trials this June should they wish to earn a spot on the team this summer.

WOMEN’S OPEN 200 IM – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 2:22.23
  • Australian Record: 2:07.03 – Stephanie Rice (2009)

Top 3

  1. Kaylee McKeown – 2:09.78
  2. Tessa Wallace – 2:13.14
  3. Meg Bailey – 2:13.29

Kaylee McKeown decided to opt-out of the 200 backstroke at this meet in order to focus on the 200 IM. That decision seemed to have paid off tonight as she swam to victory with a world-class 200 IM swim of 2:09.78. The event is among the best globally this season but wasn’t quite her season-best as she hit a 2:08.23 in December 2020.

2020-2021 LCM Women 200 IM

KayleeAUS
McKeown
06/14
2:08.19
2Madisyn
Cox
USA2:08.5105/22
3Yui
Ohashi
JPN2:08.5207/28
4Alex
Walsh
USA2:08.6507/28
5Kate
Douglass
USA2:09.0407/28
View Top 26»

McKeown said in a post-race interview that she will likely race the event, as well as the 200 back at Trials in June looking for a spot on the Tokyo squad in both. She was well under the IM Australian cut for the Olympics which stands at a 2:10.49.

Tessa Wallace got within 3 seconds of that cut with a 2:13.14 to shave a few seconds off her prelim swim of 2:13.14 while Meg Bailey touched with a 2:13.29 for bronze.

MEN’S OPEN 200 IM – FINAL

  • 2021 Australian Trials Qualifying Time: 2:08.60
  • Australian Record: 1:55.72 – Mitch Larkin (2019)

Top 3

  1. Mitch Larkin – 1:56.74
  2. Louis Townsend – 2:02.98
  3. Thomas Hauck – 2:03.23

Mitch Larkin was lethal in the 200 IM, taking gold by over 4 second by swimming a 1:56.74 to get just 1.02 seconds off his PB and Australian record of 1:55.72. Larkin was significantly faster than his 2:02.85 prelims swim in the event. Despite winning the final, Larkin was still a bit slower than his season-best of 1:56.32 which he swam in December. That swim currently stands as the 3rd fastest in the world this season behind Duncan Scott’s 1:55.90 and Wang Shun’s 1:56.27.

2020-2021 LCM Men 200 IM

WangCHN
Shun
07/01
1:55.00
2Michael
Andrew
USA1:55.2606/17
3Duncan
Scott
GBR1:55.2807/30
4Jeremy
Desplanches
SUI1:56.1705/19
5Daiya
Seto
JPN1:56.2207/30
View Top 26»

Larkin would be the favourite to win both the 200 back and 200 IM at the upcoming Australian Olympic Trials but will likely be choosing only 1 of the two considering that the two events will occur in the same session.

Louis Townsend and Thomas Hauck joined Larking in the top 3 in the 200 IM, posting swims of 2:02.98 and 2:03.23, respectively.

WOMEN’S OPEN 4×100 FREESTYLE RELAY – FINAL

  • Australian Record: 3:09.91 – Sullivan/Lauterstein/Callus/Targett (2008)

Top 3

  1. NUN – Costa/Ekelmans/Peiniger/Hawkins – 3:45.17
  2. NCOLL – Courtney/Messer/Sanders/Mitchell – 3:50.33
  3. TSS – Melverton/Stuart/Stovgaard/Taylor – 3:50.97

MEN’S OPEN 4X100 FREESTYLE RELAY – FINAL

  • Australian Record: Jack/B.Campbell/McKeon/C.Campbell (2018)

Top 3

  1. SOSC – Kapocius/Hertz/Simat/McDonald – 3:22.32
  2. NUN – Temple/Gough/Rogerson/Smith – 3:22.44
  3. TSS – McEvoy/Morgan/Bell/Maher – 3:23.23

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Yup
1 year ago

the lack of depth is stunning. those times drop right off the table….

Joel
Reply to  Yup
1 year ago

True but these are not trials. Have you seen the German Olympic trial results? One person in some events.

Jackman
1 year ago

Not bad prelims by the 200 Breast girls. Harkin does her #2 all time with a 2:24.2 and Strauch also posts a respectable 2.24.6

Hopefully they can drop a couple seconds come trials.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jackman
commonwombat
Reply to  Jackman
1 year ago

Both Harkin & Strauch are on/around the OQT of 2.24.18 so only incremental improvement needed to make it HOWEVER; both (esp Strauch) have been on/around 2.24-2.25 for some time without breaking through. Therefore, this might be a tricky one at Trials.

commonwombat
1 year ago

W400FR: Titmus is back to 4.01 shape; not drawing any further conclusions/implications than that. 2nd spot remains a cat-fight.

M400FR: Solid times from Winnington & Neill; looking forward to a “royal rumble” at Trials

W200bk: Only interest was whether Seebohm would post a time of any significance as the OQT is a doddle for her even when, arguably, past her best. With McKeown a virtual lock on one spot, I’m struggling to see anyone else hitting 2.07.46 at Trials unless Atherton really brings her A game at her less proven distance.

M200BK: Hollard 1.56.40 a pleasant surprise. Is this a case of a swimmer using this meet as an “insurance policy” ?

W100FLY: McKeon 56.44 certainly a pleasing time. Will… Read more »

Jackman
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

Dog fight*

Robbos
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

The best thing about Titmus, is that she has dispelled any issue re shoulder injury & that all goes well in her bid in both the 200-400 & relay 4×200 free where she is a contender for gold in all 3. Throw in the 800, where she is competing for a minor medal.

Last edited 1 year ago by Robbos
commonwombat
Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

Rob, I’d certainly like this to be the case but I’m going to be a tad cautious until we actually see her deliver a time that’s on par with what she’s delivered 2018-2019; ie 1.54mid-low/sub 4.00. Am in no way knocking her times at this meet which DO clearly state that she is back to her “very good standard” which just happens to still be contender class internationally/better than nearly everyone else. What’s yet to be answered is whether that extra “1%” is still there.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

As usual, a reasonable analysis.

Robbos
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

The concern for me was the shoulder injury & she has passed that with flying colours, both her swims here were world class & I would go as far to say her ability to swim these fast times while uptappered will even allow her to train thru the Trials & aim to be her best in the Olympics.
So personally not concerned about any 1.54 mid-low/sub 4.00 until the Olympics itself.

Last edited 1 year ago by Robbos
Yozhik
Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

Are there any rumors of Titmus targeting 4x100FR relay? She is 7th now and her 100 at this meet was really good. Especially second half.
BTW her entry time was 54.28. When did she swim that fast? I found no source that has a record of such individual race of Titmus in 100fr. Was this time shown in relay race?

Troyy
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Throssell is also likely ahead of her making her 8th and the 54.28 was from national champs in 2019.

Yozhik
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

In April 2019 Titmus was 1:54.3 and 3.59.6, but no records of her competing in 100FR. Was it another national champs that year?

Yozhik
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Thanks. That is what I thought. We probably don’t find the splits by fifties to compare with what she has shown at current meet.
But looking at her performance in Aprill 2019 (the best her year so far) we can say that this April she is significantly slower than two years ago. Most likely the meet in 2019 was of greater importance to her and she was specially prepared for it.
And that what makes it interesting: not being that ready this year she shows the same speed at sprint, but cannot do the same at longer distances. Why?

Last edited 1 year ago by Yozhik
Yozhik
Reply to  Yozhik
1 year ago

Actually, I founded it.
April 2019: 54.28 (26.60 – 27.68)
April 2021: 54.36 (26.61 – 27.75)
If to assume that slower results at 200 and 400 indicate that she isn’t at that good form now as it was two years ago then it is logically to conclude that she became much better 53sec sprinter. And competing for the spot in 4x100fr relay isn’t that unrealistic.

Last edited 1 year ago by Yozhik
Drama King
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

Hey what are the chances of Calyso Sheridan makes it to the team in IMs. I saw her as the most versatile swimmer in ncaas 2020 season.

What happened to TFH. Retired ???

Will David Schilit or Brendon Smith drop some time to make it to the team in IMs ?

commonwombat
Reply to  Drama King
1 year ago

Re women’s IMs, its not certain whether McKeown will pursue selection in 400IM and 200IM is not a done deal. Outside her, no one else looks a lock for the QT so the path IS notionally open for Sheridan albeit looking an ask going off her swims here. Forrester & Bailey are within a sec of 400 QT, 200 anyone’s guess.

No word re TFH.

No idea re Schlitt; Smith looks the best chance of qualifying at 400. Don’t know about 200 chances.

Troyy
Reply to  Drama King
1 year ago

TFH was on the entry list but obviously not there.

Troyy
1 year ago

Temple lead off the relay with 49.18 which would’ve placed him third in the individual. Hopefully with a taper he’ll contend for a spot on the 4×100 FR relay.

TerryO
1 year ago

Titmus, Horton and McKeon times are brutal, in the all-time category for moring swims. In top 5 for all three of them

Troyy
Reply to  TerryO
1 year ago

Horton? You must mean someone else cos I don’t think Horton’s finished swimming his 800 from yesterday yet.

TerryO
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Sorry, Mitch Larkin. Its late in the night in Europe

Corn Pop
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

When I see that squad I think of the graveside I need to visit in Melbourne.

Last edited 1 year ago by Corn Pop
whever
1 year ago

Really wanna know what Larkin’s final choice is. Being a medal contender in both 200 bk & im but not able to swim both at Olympics is a shame.

Jackman
Reply to  whever
1 year ago

Yep if he is shooting for gold, IM is a better bet. If he is shooting for a medal, then he is probably more consistent in Back.

In his post race interview he said something like, “I’m making the choice hard for myself because I didn’t expect to be as fast in the 200 back”. So that makes it seem like he is leaning towards IM.

whever
Reply to  Jackman
1 year ago

200 IM is more open with a stacked field. Many could go 1:56 or 1:55 high. He could win gold or miss the podium, neither of which will surprise me.
While in 200 back Rylov and Murphy are clearly ahead, but the filed behind them is pretty weak. Larkin will most likely be able to secure a medal if he replicates 1:54.3 at the Olympics, but the gold chance is slimmer.

Last edited 1 year ago by whever
Penguin
Reply to  whever
1 year ago

Murphy is not “clearly ahead” of Larkin. And I’m rooting for Murphy.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  whever
1 year ago

Mr. Casas would like a word.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  whever
1 year ago

Only studs like Lochte have been able to pull it off and medal in both. Phelps made the U.S. Olympic Team in the 200 back, but ditched it. He could’ve done it too.

moonlight
1 year ago

why do the commentators keep talking about how the swimmers aren’t rested? every 4th phrase seems to be “they’re in the midst of hard work”

i also find it hard to believe that everyone is training through this meet. there have been some world-class times from McKeon, Larkin, Winnington, Titmus. I think a lot of swimmers are partially rested..

Troyy
Reply to  moonlight
1 year ago

Winnington went around the same time as Dressel in the 200. Was Dressel rested?

commonwombat
Reply to  moonlight
1 year ago

Its hard to know. Some (C1, McKeon, McKeown, Seebohm, to some degree Larkin, Chalmers) DO have histories of being fast in season but I suspect that you’re right that there is a percentage that have seen this meet as an insurance policy and partly rested to try post a QT.

STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
1 year ago

I think Emily Seebohm will make her fourth Olympic team. I can’t see her beating McKeown but I can see her getting second in the 200BK and possibly in the 100BK. Atherton will really need to be at her best come trials.

commonwombat
Reply to  STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
1 year ago

Agree that’s she’s “firmed in the betting” for the 2nd spot. Not sure she’s getting back to her best times but not seeing any other potential suspect other than Atherton who is less proven over this distance LCM.