2021 Australian Olympic Trials – Day 6 Live Finals Recap


It is the last day of competition at the Australian Olympic and Paralympic trials. Tonight’s events will feature the women’s 200 backstroke, men’s 100 butterfly, women’s 800 freestyle, women’s and men’s 50 freestyle, and the men’s 1500 freestyle. The Paralympic competition wrapped up yesterday.

The field this morning in the women’s 200 backstroke was content to secure a lane to compete tonight. Emily Seebohm swam the fastest time this morning at 2:10.36 followed by the newly-minted World Record holder in the 100 backstroke, Kaylee McKeown at 2:10.52. Seeded third is Minna Atherton at 2:11.02. All three women have been 2:07.06 or faster, highlighted  by McKeown’s Australian record of 2:04.31. It will be a three-way battle for the two Olympic spots tonight.

Matthew Temple was the lone swimmer to break 52 in the 100 butterfly with his 51.79. Temple has been 51.47 and should swim faster than the 51.70 qualifying time tonight. Shaun Champion is the second seed at 52.15. Singer/swimmer Cody Simpson swam a person best of 52.84 this morning to qualify sixth for tonight’s finals.

Ariarne Titmus has come close to breaking the world record this week in both the 200 and 400 freestyle. Based on her form this week, we should expect her to improve upon her Australian record of 8:15.70 in the 800 free. Fans will be watching to see how close she can get to Katie Ledecky’s 8:04.79 World Record.

The women’s 50 freestyle features another battle between Cate Campbell and Emma McKeonMcKeon won the 100 free last night followed by Campbell. Heading into finals, Campbell is the top seed at 24.04 followed by McKeon at 24.46. Holly Barratt is the third seed at 24.71. Lurking in sixth place is Bronte Campbell, who holds a best time of 24.12.

The men’s 50 free is up for grabs as eight swimmers are separated by .45 seconds. Grayson Bell and Cameron McEvoy tied for the top seed at 22.08 this morning. McEvoy has a season best of 21.88, and will need to improve upon that to hit the qualifying time of 21.77. Australian veteran swimmer Matt Targett swam 22.37 to qualify sixth at 35 years of age.

The meet will conclude with the men’s 1500 freestyle. Jack McLoughlin and Thomas Neill finished first and second in the 800 earlier this week and we should expect a similar race tonight. Samuel Short, the third seed, is only three seconds back of Neill and may challenge for second place. The rest of the field is seeded 20+ seconds behind Short.


  • World: 2:03.35 26/07/2019 Regan Smith, USA
  • Commonwealth: 2:04.31 14/05/2021 Kaylee McKeown, AUS
  • Australian: 2:04.31 14/05/2021 Kaylee McKeown, USC Spartans
  • All Comer: 2:04.31 4/05/2021 Kaylee McKeown, USC Spartans
  • World Junior Record: 2:03.35 26/07/2019 Regan Smith, USA
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Maya DiRado (USA) – 2:05.99
  • OQT: 2:09.40


  1. Kaylee McKeown – 2:04.28
  2. Emily Seebohm – 2:06.38
  3. Minna Atherton – 2:09.24

Kaylee McKeown came up first after the start with Emily Seebohm right beside her. McKeown turned at the first 50 in 28.26, a bit slower than world-record pace. McKeown would open up her lead on the second 50 turning in  1:00.54, just .17 off the world-record pace. McKeown opened a body-length lead at the 150, as she hit the final turn in 1:32.20. McKeown would keep her stroke rate high as she finished with a new Australian record time of 2:04.28.

Emily Seebohm finished in a solid second in 2:06.38, less than a second from her best of 2:05.68. Seebohm, age 29, will be swimming in her fourth Olympic games in Tokyo. Minna Atherton finished in third in 2:09.24, off her best of 2:06.82.

McKeown improves upon her #1 world ranking in the event, leading the field by over a second.






  • World: 49.50 26/07/2019 Caeleb Dressel, USA
  • Commonwealth: 50.39 12/08/2016 Joseph Schooling, SGP
  • Australian: 50.85 1/08/2009 Andrew Lauterstein, SOPAC
  • All Comer: 50.65 9/04/2018 Chad le Clos, RSA
  • World Junior Record: 50.62 29/07/2017 Kristof Milak, HUN
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Joseph Schooling (SGP) – 50.39
  • OQT: 51.70


  1. Matthew  Temple – 50.45
  2. David Morgan – 51.67
  3. Shaun Champion – 51.93

Matthew Temple, the winner of the 200 butterfly earlier in the meet, would have the endurance on the second length but could he show the early speed? David Morgan was first to the 15 meter mark and Temple was right there with him. Temple took control of the race over the first 50 and turned in 23.67. Morgan showed his form over the second 50 as he split 26.78 to finish with a new Australian record of 50.45. The previous record, held by Andrew Lauterstein, had stood for nearly 12 years and comes from the “supersuit” era.

David Morgan finished in second place, under the qualifying time.

Temple’s time moves him up ahead of Kristof Milak for the fastest time in the world this season.



  • World: 8:04.79 18/08/2016 Katie Ledecky, USA
  • Commonwealth: 8:14.10 16/08/2008 Rebecca Adlington, GBR
  • Australian: 8:15.70 27/07/2019 Ariarne Titmus, SPW
  • All Comer: 8:11.35 23/08/2014 Katie Ledecky, USA
  • World Junior Record: 8:11.00 22/06/2014 Katie Ledecky, USA
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Katie Ledecky (USA) – 8:04.79
  • OQT: 8:29.70


  1. Ariarne Titmus – 8:15.57
  2. Kiah Melverton – 8:19.05
  3. Kareena Lee – 8:23.54

Australian record holder Ariarne Titmus swam a relaxed 59.92 first 100 meters. At the 200, Titmus’s continued to lead as she turned in 2:02.75. Right beside Titmus was Kiah Melverton at 2:02.89. At the 400 meter mark, Titmus was in front, turning in 4:08.46. Melverton was right next to Titmus as she hit the halfway point just .49 behind at 4:08.95. Titmus started to pick up the pace on the third 200 with Melverton doing her best to stay with her. At the 600 Titmus’s lead was a body length, turning in 6:12.95 and Malverton at 6:14.31. Titmus extended her lead over the last 200 meters to finish with an Australian Record time of 8:15.57, dropping .13 seconds from her previous best. This is the third Australian record for Titmus this meet, to go with the 200 and 400 freestyle from earlier this week. Melverton finished in second in 8:19.05, under the qualifying time and a best time by over three seconds.

Titmus drops 8 seconds from her season best time to move up to second place in the world behind Katie Ledecky. Melverton’s time puts her at third in the rankings.



  • World: 23.67 29/07/2017 Sarah Sjostrom, SWE
  • Commonwealth: 23.78 7/04/2018 Cate Campbell, AUS
  • Australian: 23.78 7/04/2018 Cate Campbell, Chandler
  • All Comer: 23.78 7/04/2018 Cate Campbell, Chandler
  • World Junior Record: 24.17 14/05/2021 Claire Curzan, USA
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Pernille Blume (DEN) – 24.07
  • OQT: 24.46


  1. Emma McKeon – 23.93
  2. Cate Campbell – 23.94
  3. Bronte 24.46

100 free champion Emma McKeon was quick off the blocks and came-up in front of Cate Campbell at 15 meters. McKeon held the lead at the halfway point and then Campbell made her move. Campbell began to surge ahead but then McKeon found another gear to challenge Campbell. At the finish McKeon used a long-touch to finish in 23.93 while Campbell opted for an extra stroke to finish in second .01 behind McKeon. Bronte Campbell placed third in 24.46.

McKeon and Campbell are now the first and second ranked swimmers in the 50 free this season. They join Ranomi Kormowidjojo as the only swimmers to break the 24 barrier this year.



  • World: 20.91 18/12/2009 Cesar Cielo, BRA
  • Commonwealth: 21.19 26/11/2009 Ashley Callus, AUS
  • Australian: 21.19 26/11/2009 Ashley Callus, North End
  • All Comer: 21.19 26/11/2009 Ashley Callus, North End
  • World Junior Record: 21.75 25/08/2017 Michael Andrew, USA
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Anthony Ervin (USA) –  21.40
  • OQT: 21.77


  1. Cameron McEvoy – 22.07
  2. Grayson Bell – 22.16
  3. James Roberts – 22.21

Cameron McEvoy used a .58 reaction time to be first into the water and held the early lead. The pack moved up and at the 25-meter mark, it was anybody’s race. Grayson Bell was right next to McEvoy but the veteran used a late surge to move ahead and finish in 22.07. Second behind McEvoy was Bell followed by James Roberts in third. While McEvoy did not swim the qualifying time, by virtue of having already qualified for Tokyo earlier this week, he will have a chance to swim it there.


  • World: 14:31.02 4/08/2012 Sun Yang, CHN
  • Commonwealth: 14:34.56 29/07/2001 Grant Hackett, AUS
  • Australian: 14:34.56 27/07/2005 Grant Hackett, Miami
  • All Comer: 14:39.54 14/04/2016 Mack Horton, Melb. Vicentre
  • World Junior Record: 14:46.09 25/08/2019 Franko Grgic (CRO)
  • 2016 Olympic Champion: Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) – 14:34.57
  • OQT: 14:55.06


  1. Jack McLoughlin – 14:52.69
  2. Sam Short – 14:57.22
  3. Thomas Neill – 15:08.55

Sam Short was the early leader as he turned first at the 50, under world record pace at 27.07. Jack McLoughlin and Thomas Neill would move up on the second 100 with McLoughlin turning with the lead at the 200 mark. Over the next 300 meters, it turned-into a 3-man race as McLoughlin led at 4:5435. with Neil and Short within .37 seconds. The three would continue to stay together and at the halfway point, McLoughlin would continue to lead at 7:25.30 with the difference of .36 between the three. The swimmers were starting to split over 1:00 per 100 which would put the qualification time in question. At the 1000 meter mark, McLoughlin was the leader at 9:56.19 with Short in second and Neill in third.

McLoughlin made a move at the 1000, splitting under 1:00. Short was doing his best to stay with McLoughlin with Neill falling off the pace. At the 1200, McLoughlin led by 1.25 seconds over Short. With 200 meters to go, McLoughlin held a commanding lead with both him and Short ahead of the qualifying time. McLoughlin took the event in 14:52.69. the 17-year old Short would battle with the qualifying time and ultimately came up short of qualifying for Tokyo.

McLoughlin’s best is a 14:47.09 from 2018 and his performance tonight moves him up into fifth in the world this season in the 1500 free.


In This Story

Leave a Reply

Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

I wonder if Cody Simpson could beat Joe Schooling if they raced right now

Reply to  john26
2 years ago


2 years ago

I think the qualifying time is the last time necessary to be in the final in the previous Worlds. If this is right the qualifying time for the 200 butterfly women has to be 2:09.06 and not 2:08.43, can someone please verify because with that time Liz Dekkers would be qualified.

Reply to  stef
2 years ago

Only if the FINA A time isn’t faster which is in this case.

Reply to  Troyy
2 years ago

Thanks, I didn’t know that

2 years ago

I really enjoyed this meet for many reasons, one of them being no semi finals. I hate them. I fondly remember when they didn’t exist. Commonwealth Games doesn’t have them and I wish the Olympics didn’t. No one cares about them.

Reply to  Joel
2 years ago

Amen brother !! I hate, loathe and despise semis; why FINA went back to them after 1996 is beyond me. All they do is clog up the program …… and actually make it harder for swimmers with multiple events.

Fastest 8 to final; the rest = watch from the bleachers is certainly cut-throat but it does cut to the chase of who’s the best on the day.

CommGames no longer has them for one very sound reason; the depth/quality of the fields just isn’t there.

2 years ago

Went to most nights, and it was a really great meet…..swimmers had to bring their A Game- both for the tough qualifying times and the tough competition. After all the COVID crazy over the last year, it was exceptional.
I think Swimming Australia got it pretty much right- lots of new talent, and rewarded big time performers like BCampbell, Horton and Matt Wilson with a Tokyo ticket.
I think Dekkers was the only misfire….
Only 5 weeks to go now……

2 years ago

Cody Simpson coverage went a little too much but it was a great coverage in general.
See you in 5 weeks guys!

2 years ago

Thoughts from a furry curmudgeon

3 discretional selections; all defensible. A couple of young swimmers had potential cases for discretional calls but not hitting a FINA mark at this meet probably sunk them.

The following medal thoughts are made with the qualifying factor of not yet having the full selection picture from the USA or CAN women.

Events with defensible (at least) Gold claims:

  • W4X200, W4X100, W100BK, W400FS, W200FS, M200BRS, W200IM, W200BK, M400FS, W100FS

Solid medal claims:

  • M4X200, W4XMED, W50FS

Reasonable medal claims (could certainly argue a few up or down a grade):

  • M100FS, W800FS, M800FS, 2nd W200FS, MMR

Outside but defensible medal chance:

  • W100FLY, M200IM, 2nd M400FS, W1500FS, M100FLY

Will all… Read more »

M d e
Reply to  commonwombat
2 years ago

I think total medals will be a little higher than you think. There is a few events where we have multiple really strong medal challengers.

Golds are always hard to predict and very volatile, but we have a few that are really strong, including some of the biggest favourites at the meet (women’s free relays).

Reply to  commonwombat
2 years ago

Nice summation – I’m not gonna predict anything. I’ve enjoyed these trials and the coverage on Amazon more than I expected and I will both lower / temper my expectations come Tokyo so I don’t feel too disappointed should things not turn out.

Reply to  commonwombat
2 years ago

M100FS Chalmers, reasonable medal chance? I would suggest he is defensible gold claims.

2 years ago

I love how Matt Temple and his dad both have mullets

Miss M
2 years ago

Any reason why you don’t also add a line “Seebohm moves to the 3rd fastest in the world this year”?