2021 Australian Olympic Trials: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


The 2021 Swimming Australia Olympic Trials get underway Saturday morning (in Australia) with preliminary heats of nine events. While there’s been some last-minute controversy regarding athletes who were unable to make it to the Trials due to pandemic-related travel restrictions, just about all of the big names in Australian swimming should be competing. Additionally, this meet will also serve to select Australia’s Paralympic team. Today we’ll have heats of the women’s 100 fly, men’s 400 IM, women’s 400 free (MC), men’s 400 free (MC), men’s 100 breast, women’s 400 IM, women’s 200 free (MC), men’s 200 free (MC), and men’s 400 freestyle.

We’ve linked to the full qualifying criteria above. It’s not as straightforward as say, the USA’s, but generally speaking, swimmers need to hit a qualifying time established by Swimming Australia (equal to 8th place at last World Championships) in the A final to earn an individual spot, and have to swim in the A-final to be considered for relays.

Women’s 100 Butterly – Prelims

  • World: 55.48 7/08/2016 Sarah Sjostrom, SWE
  • Commonwealth: 55.83 22/07/19 Maggie MacNeil CAN
  • Australian: 56.18 24/07/2017 Emma McKeon, SPW
  • All Comer: 56.36 13/03/2020 Emma McKeon, Griffith Uni
  • OQT: 57.10
  • Meet Qualifying: 1:02.82

Top 8:

  1. Emma McKeon (GUSC) – 56.82
  2. Brianna Throssell (UWSC) – 58.63
  3. Alexandria Perkins (USCS) – 58.83
  4. Brittany Castelluzzo (TTG) – 59.28
  5. Abbey Webb (GIND) – 59.41
  6. Olivia Collins (SOMG) – 59.69
  7. Kayla Costa (NUN) – 59.69
  8. Elizabeth Dekkers (NEWM) – 59.80

Unsurprisingly, Australian record-holder Emma McKeon cruised to the fastest time of the morning by nearly two seconds, putting up the fastest time of the morning in the very first heat with a 56.82. McKeon’s time this morning almost exactly matched her 56.82 from last month’s Sydney Open, but she split the two races quite differently. Last month she split 26.77/30.04, but this morning she was almost a second slower on the front half (27.73), but brought it home in a blistering 29.09.

Only two other women were under 59 seconds in prelims: Brianna Throssell (58.63) and Alexandria Perkins (58.83). Both will be need to be substantially faster tonight if they want to get under the Australian-established qualifying time of 57.10 in this event, although Throssell was seeded with a 57.02.

Men’s 400 IM – Prelims

  • World: 4:03.84 10/08/2008 Michael Phelps, USA
  • Commonwealth: 4:09.62 30/07/2017 Max Litchfield, GBR
  • Australian: 4:10.14 3/05/2013 Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Miami
  • All Comer: 4:06.22 1/04/2007 Michael Phelps, USA
  • OQT: 4:15.24
  • Meet Qualifying: 4:38.21
  1. Brendon Smith (NUN) – 4:17.83
  2. Kieran Pollard (NCT) – 4:18.23
  3. Thomas Hauck (ALLS) – 4:22.23
  4. Elliott Rogerson (NUN) – 4:22.27
  5. Se-Bom Lee (Carlile) – 4:22.79
  6. Lachlan Walker (ALST) – 4:27.26
  7. Thomas Lightfoot (MARI) – 4:27.35
  8. Charlie Hawke (HUNT) 4:28.52

In heat 1, Brendon Smith and Kieran Pollard battled stroke-for-stroke on the freestyle leg, with Smith, the top seed coming into today, touching 1st with a 4:17.83. Pollard touched in 4:18.23, almost two seconds faster than his seed time. Heat 2 featured another duel in the middle of the pool, this time between Se-Bom Lee and Elliott Rogerson, who again swam side by side on the freestyle leg. Rogerson touched in 4:22.27, to Lee’s 4:22.79, both just behind Thomas Hauck‘s 4:22.23 from heat 1.

While no one was under the Australian OQT of 4:15.24 this morning, Smith has a seed time of 4:14.91, and matching that will earn him an invite. The rest of tonight’s A-final will need some big drops from seed/prelims to get under that mark. In 2016, Australia put two men, Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Travis Mahoney, into the final in Rio, where they placed 6th and 7th, respectively.

Women’s 400 Free Multi-Class – Prelims

Top 8 (Based on points):

  1. Monique Murphy (S10) – 863 – 4:42.79
  2. Natalie Shaw (S10) – 820 – 4:47.65
  3. Katja Dedekind (S13) – 789 – 4:40.94
  4. Lakeisha Patterson (S9) – 771 – 4:47.71
  5. Ellie Cole (S9) – 759 – 4:49.16
  6. Poppy Wilson (S10) – 716 – 5:01.01
  7. Isabella Vincent (S7) – 688 – 5:38.73
  8. Angela Bubb (S10) – 643 – 5:11.91

With qualification for Paralympic swimming based on points, not straight times, Monique Murphy of Yeronga Park put up the best score of the morning with 863 points on a 4:42.79 swim, about 7 seconds off of her seed time.

Men’s 400 Free Multi-Class – Prelims

Top 8 (Based on points):

  1. Alexander Tuckfield (S9) – 922 – 4:16.81
  2. Brenden Hall (S9) – 906 – 4:18.33
  3. Harison Vig (S9) – 898 – 4:19.01
  4. Tom Gallagher (S10) – 894 – 4:06.72
  5. Alex Saffy (S9) – 824 – 4:26.92
  6. Braeden Jason (S12) – 786 – 4:13.16
  7. Ben Popham (S8) – 776 – 4:42.62
  8. Jesse Aungles (S8) – 762 – 4:44.38

Alexander Tuckfield knocked over three seconds off of his seed time to touch in 4:16.81, giving him the S9 swimmer the highest score of the morning with a 922. Point-wise, it was a tight battle behind Tuckefield, with the next three finishers separated by only 12 points.

Men’s 100 Breast – Prelims

  • World: 56.88 21/07/2019 Adam Peaty, GBR
  • Commonwealth: 56.88 21/07/2019 Adam Peaty, GBR
  • Australian: 58.58 27/07/2009 Brenton Rickard, Brothers
  • All Comer: 58.84 7/04/2018 Adam Peaty, ENG
  • OQT: 59.21
  • Meet Qualifying: 1:05.72

Top 8:

  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook (CHAN) – 1:00.05
  2. Jake Packard (USC) – 1:00.10
  3. Daniel Cave (MVC) – 1:00.33
  4. Matthew Wilson (SOSC) – 1:00.38
  5. Samuel Williamson (FAS) – 1:00.85
  6. Joshua Yong (UWSC) – 1:01.15
  7. Liam Hunter (CHAN) – 1:01.70
  8. James McKechnie (STP) – 1:01.84

While it wasn’t a super-fast prelims session, the stage is set for some great racing tonight. Zac Stubblety-Cook led the field with a 1:00.05, but Jake Packard was right behind at 1:00.10, and Daniel Cave and Matthew Wilson were also close with times of 1:00.33 and 1:00.38, respectively. Of that field, only Wilson had a seed time under the Australian OQT of 59.21, but with another three men about a second away from that time, tonight’s race could be one of the more exiting ones of the evening.

Packard won silver in this event at the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships, while Stubblety-Cook also took silver in the 200 breast there. Meanwhile, Wilson is perhaps best known as the former world record holder in the 200 breast.

Women’s 400 IM – Prelims

  • World: 4:26.36 3/08/2016 Katinka Hosszu, HUN
  • Commonwealth: 4:29.45 10/08/2008 Stephanie Rice, AUS
  • Australian: 4:29.45 10/08/2008 Stephanie Rice, SPW
  • All Comer: 4:31.46 22/03/2008 Stephanie Rice, SPW
  • OQT: 4:38.53
  • Meet Qualifying: 5:04.03

Top 8:

  1. Emilie Muir (GUSC) – 4:45.69
  2. Jenna Forrester (STPE) – 4:46.74
  3. Meg Bailey (HUNT) – 4:46.81
  4. Jacinta Essam (GIND) – 4:48.77
  5. Blair Evans (UWSC) – 4:48.86
  6. Charli Brown (MANL) – 4:49.99
  7. Francesca Fitzhenry (CARL) – 4:50.93
  8. Lucy Dring (SCGS) – 4:51.92

Emilie Muir came into the meet seeded 8th, but put up the fastest swim of the morning with a 4:45.69, over three seconds faster than her seed time. Top seed Jenna Forrester, only 17, had the 2nd-fastest time of the morning with her 4:46.74, about seven seconds slower than her seed time. With the Australian OQT set at 4:38.53, there will need to be some big drops from prelims in order to qualify for the Olympic team.

While seven of the top eight swimmers were seeded in the top eight, 18 year-old Lucy Dring of Sunshine Coast Grammar bettered her seed by 4.5 seconds, to move up from the 16th seed to qualify for tonight’s final with the final spot, with a time this morning of 4:51.92.

Women’s 200 Free Multi-Class – Prelims

Top 8 (Based on points):

  1. Madeleine McTernan (S14) – 728 – 2:15.73
  2. Ruby Storm (S14) – 722 – 2:16.07
  3. Taylor Corry (S14) – 689 – 2:18.22
  4. Jade Lucy (S14) – 683 – 2:18.63
  5. Amy Cook (S14) -637 – 2:21.90
  6. Gabrielle Waller (S14) – 618 – 2:23.31
  7. Ashley Van Rijswij (S14) – 611 – 2:23.89
  8. Nicole Fielden (S14) – 592 – 2:25.39

With the entire field consisting of S14 swimmers, points and times corresponded. In the middle of the pool of heat 1, top-seeded Madeleine McTernan and Ruby Storm battled it out, with McTernan just getting the win, 2:15.73 to 2:16.07.

Men’s 200 Free Multi-Class – Prelims

Top 8 (Based on points):

  1. Ricky Betar (S14) – 920 – 1:56.16
  2. Jack Ireland (S14) – 855 – 1:59.02
  3. Liam Schluter (S14) – 828 – 2:00.29
  4. Joshua Alford (S14) – 770 – 2:03.25
  5. Bailey Stewart (S14) – 702 – 2:07.12
  6. Jarred Dyer (S14) – 646 – 2:10.67
  7. Lachlan Hanratty (S14) – 566 – 2:16.54
  8. Declan Budd (S14) – 560 – 2:17.05

Ricky Betar led the field in both time and score, touching in 1:56.16 for a score of 920, the only man over 900 in the event.

Men’s 400 Free – Prelims

  • World: 3:40.07 28/07/2009 Paul Biedermann, GER
  • Commonwealth: 3:40.08 30/07/2002 Ian Thorpe, AUS
  • Australian: 3:40.08 30/07/2002 Ian Thorpe, SLC Aquadot
  • All Comer: 3:40.54 18/03/2002 Ian Thorpe, SLC Aquadot
  • OQT: 3:46.34
  • Meet Qualifying: 4:04.45

Top 8:

  1. Elijah Winnington (STPE) – 3:45.07
  2. Thomas Neill (RACK) – 3:45.28
  3. Jack McLoughlin (CHAN) – 3:45.58
  4. Mack Horton (MVC) – 3:47.05
  5. Samuel Short (RACK) – 3:47.24
  6. Mitchell Tinsley (CHAN) – 3:48.58
  7. Adam Sudlow (UWSC) – 3:52.32
  8. Wesley Roberts (COK) – 3:52.50

The Australian men showed off their strength in this event this morning, as three men posted time under the Australian OQT. Only one other swimmer (McKeon) has been under their respective OQT so far this morning.

Jack McLoughlin came out strong in the first heat, swimming a 3:45.58 to beat Rio gold medalist Mack Horton (3:47.05) and Sam Short (3:47.24). The next heat was even faster, though, as Elijah Winnington and Thomas Neill dueled it out. Winnington got the touch at the wall, 3:45.07 to 3:45.28.

For just a little bit of perspective as to how fast the Aussies swam this morning, at the 2016 USA Olympic Trials, the fastest time in prelims was a 3:47.03.

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1 year ago

This event should be shown on free to air TV so every one has the opportunity to show support. to these talented swimmers not just the few.

Reply to  Lynda
1 year ago

Nothing is free. Everything has expenses

1 year ago

Horton creates the sort of conundrum in the 400 FR that Efimova has created in the 200 BR. I think he would be a favorite to medal, with a good chance to win given Sun’s age, if he swam at the Olympics, but his times at basically every other meet leave a lot to be desired. If he doesn’t make it, they’ll be the crappy feeling where you know a likely medalist is being left behind, but you can’t in fairness deprive someone of a spot they rightfully earned.

M d e
Reply to  kwabbit
1 year ago

These other guys are just as good as him. The event is just stacked at the moment.

I think someone will go 3:42 or 3:43-low and miss the team tonight.

1 year ago

INSIDER TIP: (400 free) 1st: Elijah Winnington 2nd: Jack McLoughlin

1 year ago

Thoughts on this session

W100FLY: QT is a doddle for McKeon as proven with her 56.82. Will there be a 2nd qualifier ? Throssell’s PB has it covered but on heat times; she or Perkins will really have to “go some” tonight.
M400IM: On both male and female sides, this is an event where a qualifier is far from certain. Am thinking Smith is a solid chance of making the QT; will be a major surprise to see a second.
M100BRS: Have been “bearish” for some time regarding the prospects of anyone qualifying in this event with the most likely scenario being that at least one of the 200 men will swim somewhere near the mark. Wilson continues… Read more »

M d e
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

Stubblety-cook looked great, won’t necessarily translate to a good 100 because his start and underwater is horrendously bad, but I think he is going 2:06-mid in the 200.

If he even threaten 59.00 he is going to be right on the WR in the 200

Last edited 1 year ago by M d e
Reply to  commonwombat
1 year ago

Major surprise 400IM😁 for the men

Deep end
1 year ago

I don’t see Horton missing… He seems to show up when it counts. The way he was turning this AM was fast he but swimming looked like he was doing a mile..

Really sucks for the 2-3 potential individual olympic medalists watching from home.

Related: Is this the deepest AUS event in the past 10-12 years? I feel like I’m forgetting something obvious.

Reply to  Deep end
1 year ago

200 free maybe?

Reply to  Deep end
1 year ago

over the last 16 years Australia has had 3 of the top 100 freestyle female swimmers in the world, if not the three fastest eg Mills, Lenton, Henry

Deep end
Reply to  Joel
1 year ago

Yes. Recently when C2 was at her peak and Mckeon was going 52s that was crazy.

Also the Women’s backstroke has potential to rival the Americans at least for the top 3 in times although it feels like we won’t be seeing Atherton or Seebohm at their best this year.

M d e
1 year ago

Men’s 400 free is nuts.

3 x 3:45s
2 x 3:47s
1 x 3:48

I think Horton misses out.

Reply to  M d e
1 year ago

I think so too. I hope he doesn’t also miss the 4×200.

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Indeed- and does he step up to the 800m, down to the 200m….focus on the relays….mmm

Reply to  Torchbearer
1 year ago

I think he’ll have his hands full in the 800 with Neill and McLoughlin. In an ideal world, from my perspective rather than there’s, Winnington and Horton would win the 400 spots and Neill and McLoughlin would win the 800 and 1500 spots.

1 year ago

Hello, I am in Canada and am trying to watch it on prime, but apparently can’t watch unless in the US even with a US amazon prime. Can anyone in Canada get it to work?? Thanks

1 year ago

Thank you for reporting on the para swimmers! As a former coach of 12 para swimmers I love the details on the points breakdowns! Keep it up!

Reply to  Robert Gibbs
1 year ago

How are Para points calculated, is compared to world record for each classification using the same formula as for FINA points?

Reply to  Robert Gibbs
1 year ago

What are the para Olympic qualification points? Do they vary per class? If it’s not to complicated could they be posted too please.

Reply to  John
1 year ago

Extremely competitive team we’ll take to Japan in the MC!

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