2022 Australian Trials: Day 3 Prelims Live Recap

by Ben Dornan 85

May 19th, 2022 News


Day 2 of the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships featured one of the most exciting races of the year thus far when Zac Stubblety-Cook fired off a new 200 breaststroke world record. He clocked the first-ever sub-2:06 swim with a 2:05.95 to book himself a ticket to Budapest.

Now it’s time to get things started on day 3 of the meet. The third prelims session will begin with the women’s 200 freestyle, followed by the men’s 200 IM, the women’s 200 breast, the men’s 50 back, the women’s 100 back, the men’s 100 breast, and then the men’s 800 free to cap it off.

Women’s 200 Free Prelims

  • World Record: 1:52.98 – Federica Pellegrini (2009)
  • World Junior Record: 1:55.11 – Mollie O’Callaghan (2021)
  • Australian Record: 1:53.09 – Ariarne Titmus (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: 1:53.09 – Ariarne Titmus (2021)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:58.66

Top 8:

  1. Ariarne Titmus, 1:55.53
  2. Kiah Melverton, 1:56.78
  3. Leah Neale, 1:56.83
  4. Madison Wilson, 1:57.03
  5. Lani Pallister, 1:57.23
  6. Mollie O’Callaghan, 1:57.26
  7. Brianna Throssell, 1:57.62
  8. Meg Harris, 1:58.17

Eight swimmers finished under the FINA ‘A’ cut in the women’s 200 free prelims.

In the first heat, reigning Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus unsurprisingly placed first in 1:55.53 to claim the top time entering the finals. The 21-year-old’s swim was less than a second off of her 1:54.66 from March, which ranks as the fastest time in the world this year. No. 4 seed Leah Neale got off to a great start, but Kiah Melverton finished strong to hold her off with a 1:56.78. Neale touched just .05 seconds later in third place. No. 5 seed Meg Harris took the eighth spot in the final with a time of 1:58.17.

In the second heat, rising star Mollie O’Callaghan pulled away late to win in 1:56.26. O’Callaghan, the No. 2 seed entering the heats, was just a tad slower than the top two finishers from the third heat, Madison Wilson (1:57.03) and Lani Pallister (1:57.23). At 19 years old, Pallister swam a personal best in her quest to make her first World Championships appearance. Sixth-seeded Brianna Throssell placed third in 1:57.62 to grab the No. 7 spot heading into the finals.

Men’s 200 IM Prelims

  • World Record: 1:54.00 -Ryan Lochte (2011)
  • World Junior Record: 1:56.99 – Hubert Kos (2021)
  • Australian Record: 1:55.72 – Mitch Larkin (2019)
  • Commonwealth Record: 1:55.28 – Duncan Scott (2021)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:59.76

Top 8:

  1. Brendon Smith, 2:01.13
  2. David Schlicht, 2:01.62
  3. Se-Bom Lee, 2:01.67
  4. Gabriel Gorgas, 2:01.90
  5. Joshua Collett, 2:01.93
  6. Mitch Larkin, 2:02.15
  7. Kieren Pollard, 2:02.38
  8. William Petric, 2:02.73

Se-Bom Lee started things off in the men’s 200 IM with a heat 1-winning swim of 2:01.67. Lee hasn’t been under 2 minutes before and holds a best time of 2:00.02 from the 2019 World Junior Championships in Budapest. He finished third to Mitch Larkin and Brendon Smith last year at Olympic Trials with a 2:00.36.

Larkin was also in heat 1 of this event during prelims and swam a 2:02.15 to trail his own best time and Australian record of 2:02.15 from back in 2019. Between Lee and Larkin, Gabriel Gorgas posted a 2:01.90.

Olympic medalist in the 400 IM Brendon Smith was the fastest man in the following heat, swimming a 2:01.13 to out-touch David Schlicht’s 2:01.62. Smith raced the 200 IM at the Olympics and put up a PB of 1:58.57 to place 22nd in prelims.

Other top 8 finishers here include Joshua Collett who swam a 2:01.90 for 5th and Kieren Pollard who was a 2:02.38 for 7th overall. William Petric rounded out the top 8 with a 2:02.73. Notably, no men got under 2:00 during prelims, which means there was no one under the 200 IM FINA A cut.

Women’s 200 Breast Prelims

  • World Record: 2:18.95 – Tatjana Schoenmaker (2021)
  • World Junior Record: 2:19.64 – Viktoriya Gunes (2015)
  • Australian Record: 2:20.54 – Leisel Jones (2006)
  • Commonwealth Record: 2:18.95 – Tatjana Schoenmaker (2021)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 2:25.91

Top 8:

  1. Jenna Strauch, 2:24.90
  2. Matilda Smith, 2:26.52
  3. Taylor McKeown, 2:27.29
  4. Ashleigh Oberekar, 2:27.94
  5. Abbey Harkin, 2:28.06
  6. Mikayla Smith, 2:29.29
  7. Reidel Smith, 2:30.78
  8. Ella Ramsay, 2:20.94

100 breaststroke World Championships qualifier Jenna Strauch came out with a 2:24.90 to win heat one of this event. Strauch qualified to race this event for Australia last year at the Olympics and swam a 2:23.30 for 8th in the prelims and followed up with a 2:24.25 in the semi-finals for 9th.

Strauch was under the FINA A here, meaning that she’s certainly within range to qualify for a second event for Budapest this summer if she can get within the top 2 during finals. Ashleigh Oberekar was the second-fastest woman in heat 1 with a 2:27.94 to undercut her 10th place entry time of 2:30.05. She will advance to the finals as 4th seed overall.

Strauch’s co-100 breast qualifier Abbey Harkin was the fastest in heat 2 but came in more than 3 seconds slower than Strauch with a 2:28.05. While that was faster than the other women in the heat, it was over the FINA A cut of 2:25.91. Harkin has been as quick as a 2:23.59 before though so she’ll be one to watch during finals.

Vet Taylor McKeown, who raced this event for Australia at the 2016 Olympics, posted a 2:27.29 to claim the second position in the third heat. Also over the FINA A, McKeown will need to improve during finals in order to vie for a ticket to Budapest. Just like Harkin, McKeown has been under that cut, holding a PB of 2:21.45 from back in 2016.

4th seed Matilda Smith jumped up to 2nd place during the heats, swimming a 2:26.52 to slightly beat her entry time of 2:26.92.

Men’s 50 Back Prelims

  • World Record: 23.71 – Hunter Armstrong (2022)
  • World Junior Record: 24.00 – Kliment Kolesnikov (2018)
  • Australian Record: 24.54 – Ben Treffers (2014)
  • Commonwealth Record: 24.04 – Liam Tancock (2009)

Top 8:

  1. Isaac Cooper, 24.74
  2. Ben Armbruster, 25.34
  3. Bradley Woodward, 25.70
  4. Zac Incerti, 25.74
  5. Andrew Rice, 25.90
  6. Harrison Abeya, 25.92
  7. Ty Hartwell / James Bayliss, 26.02

Isaac Cooper was just short of qualifying for the 50 freestyle on day 1 of the meet, swimming a 22.33 for third overall in the event. He also placed 3rd in the men’s 50 butterfly on day 2 with a 24.53. Now he will enter the 50 backstroke final with the fastest time, having swum a 24.74 as the only man under 25 seconds.

Notably, neither of the top 2 finishers in the men’s 200 backstroke, Joshua Edwards-Smith and Mitch Larkin, swam during the prelims of the 50 back. 3rd-place finisher in the 200 Bradley Woodward, however, swam here and put up a 25.70 to trail second-place finisher Ben Armbruster.

200 freestyle champion Zac Incerti was just 0.04 seconds behind Woodward with a 25.74 and Andrew Rice rounded out the top 6 in a 25.90.

Women’s 100 Back Prelims

  • World Record: 57.45 – Kaylee McKeown (2021)
  • World Junior Record: 57.57 – Regan Smith (2019)
  • Australian Record: 57.45 – Kaylee McKeown (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: 57.45 – Kaylee McKeown (2021)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 1:00.59

Top 9:

  1. Kaylee McKeown, 1:00.24
  2. Mollie O’Callaghan, 1:01.16
  3. Minna Atherton, 1:01.49
  4. Bronte Job, 1:01.61
  5. Stephanie Au*, 1:01.72
  6. Tahlia, 1:01.98
  7. Hannah Fredericks, 1:02.09
  8. Alyssa Burgess, 1:02.19
  9. Olivia Lefoe, 1:02.41

Kaylee McKeown has another relaxed prelims swim during the women’s 100 backstroke, putting up a 1:00.24 to win heat 1. She won the heat with a time more than 2 seconds slower than her world record of 57.45 from last year. Additionally, she was still under the FINA A cut despite her relatively slow swim.

After heat 2 McKeown was still in the lead considering that Mollie O’Callaghan won the heat with a 1:01.16. That’s O’Callaghan’s second swim of the session following her 200 freestyle prelim. O’Callaghan already qualified for Worlds by winning the 100 freestyle and could potentially add another 2 events during day 3 finals.

O’Callaghan’s PB in this event is a 58.86, which makes her the second-fastest woman in the field. 50 backstroke runner-up Bronte Job followed O’Callagahn by roughly half a second, posting a 1:01.61. She was followed by Tahlia Thorton with a 1:01.98.

Next up, Minna Atherton delivered a 1:01.49 to claim heat 3 victory, slightly out-touching Stephanie Au’s 1:01.72. Au competes internationally for Hong Kong and won’t be eligible to race in the A final. Atherton’s best time is a 59.46, which makes her the third and final sub-1:00 entrant in this event behind McKeown and O’Callaghan.

Men’s 100 Breast Prelims

  • World Record: 56.88 – Adam Peaty (2017)
  • World Junior Record: 59.01 – Nicolo Martinenghi (59.01)
  • Australian Record: 58.58 – Brenton Rickard (2009)
  • Commonwealth Record: 56.88 – Adam Peaty (2017)
  • FINA ‘A’ Cut: 59.75

Top 8:

  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook, 1:00.13
  2. Joshua Yong, 1:00.33
  3. Jake Packard, 1:00.58
  4. Samuel Williamson, 1:00.68
  5. Matthew Wilson, 1:01.01
  6. Nash Wilkes, 1:01.46
  7. Adam Selwood, 1:01.55
  8. Cooper van der Laan, 1:01.73

Fresh off his world record-breaking 200 breaststroke swim, Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook put up a 1:00.13 to take heat 1 of the prelims in the 100 breaststroke. Notably, that’s just over a second faster than what he swam on the opening 100 of his 2:05.96 200 breaststroke (1:01.89), showing that he has the potential to be quicker during finals.

Stubblety-Cook holds a best time in this event of 59.69, which he swam in June 2021 and he posted a 1:00.05 during the prelims at the Tokyo Olympics to place 24th overall.

In heat 2, Joshua Yong was the fastest man with a 1:00.33, followed by Matthew Wilson who swam a 1:01.01. Yong finished 2nd in the 200 breaststroke prelims with a 2:11.69 but didn’t race during finals. Wilson on the other hand raced during finals and qualified for the World Championships team in the 200 breast.

Wilson has been as quick as a 59.17 in the 100 breast, which is under the FINA A cut.

Two men were between Yong and Wilson during the heats in Jake Packard and Samuel Williamson. Packard put up a 1:00.58 and Williamson a 1:00.68, which puts them in the #3 and #4 position. Notably, neither Packard nor Williamson race the 200 breaststroke at this meet but will enter the 100 final within the top 4.

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1 month ago
  1. Ariarne Titmus, 1:55.53
  2. Kiah Melverton, 1:56.78
  3. Leah Neale, 1:56.83
  4. Madison Wilson, 1:57.03
  5. Lani Pallister, 1:57.23
  6. Mollie O’Callaghan, 1:57.26
  7. Brianna Throssell, 1:57.62
  8. Meg Harris, 1:58.17

In the second heat, rising star Mollie O’Callaghan pulled away late to win in 1:56.26

1 month ago

Under Mens 2IM report, Larkin’s Australian record needs correction.

Last edited 1 month ago by Nance
1 month ago

Gut feel Titmus will get the 200 world record she is a Hungary girl

Reply to  Kev
1 month ago

I hope you’re right but I’m not seeing it. She’s taken a long break since Tokyo and probably isn’t fully tapered because she’s not going to worlds. But you never know!

Scuncan Dott
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

She said she was tapered in her interview btw

1 month ago

Another swimmer who has gone AWOL is Clyde Lewis… he was so promising back in 2019 and missing the Olympic team, I would have thought 2022 would have been a year of redemption yet he hasnt been seen at all in eithet 200m free or 200 IM same as Thomas Neil.

Reply to  Verram
1 month ago

He’s entered in the 100 free.

1 month ago

Larkin’s 200IM national record is not 2.02.15.
And Edwards-Smith did swim 50 back heats and came 9th.

1 month ago

Largely underwhelming but there’s always a comedown after a high (last night’s session) along with the reality that the majority of fields are fairly shallow with regards to depth.

W200FR: For all the talk of what MOC may/may not do in this event, Titmus is still realistically on another level to the rest of her domestic competition. Whilst it would be great to see another 1.54, its probably not called for. Reasonable bet to think top 4-5 inside 1.57 and would be nice to see someone other than Titmus sub 1.56. Given her tough double tonight, it will be interesting to see where MOC may choose to expend her maximum performance.

M200IM: This is the slot to schedule going to… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

Basically none of the prelim swims have been impressive except the W100 free. I’m not making assumptions about tonight because of the prelims session.

Am I expecting a WR tonight? No. And the W200 breast and M200IM are duds. But the rest of the events have potential to be exciting.

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

CW, maybe I’m the Ying to your Yang.
MOC went 53.67 in the 100 & 1.56.23 in a meet earlier this year (NSW Championships I think), so considering that she has improved her 100 by over a 1.19 at this meet, you would feel it quite plausible that MOC will go under 1.56 tonight in the 200.
MOC went 53.08 in the 100 & 1.55.11 in the 200 last year at the Olympics, so considering she has improved her 100 by 0.6 during this meet, it would not be a great surprise to see her go under 1.55 with a similar improvement.
The talk is because of of her backend speed she is a better 200 than… Read more »

Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Rob, in no way am I a MOC doubter.

  • Do I think she’s the prime candidate (outside Titmus) for sub 1.56 & 2nd individual slot ? Certainly
  • Do I see her as the prime candidate for 2nd 100back spot ? Yes
  • Do I think she’s got a 1.54 200free in her ? Yes
  • Do I think she has the potential to join the very elite in 100back ? Good grounds for optimism
  • Would I love to see those spectacular performances in both ? Definitely
  • Will we see at least one big performance tonight from her ? Certainly hope so

.However, having both finals not only the same night but also with such a small gap between may… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

I see MOC as a freestyle swimmer who also swims Back. She is already the 7th fastest 100 Free swimmer in history & she is in the top 20 with a bullet for the 200 free.
She is yet to reach these heights in the Backstroke. So I’m tipping a PB in the 200 free tonight getting her to elite level & a PB in the 100 Back, which maybe doesn’t get her to the elite level just yet, but moving in right direction.She is used to swimming lots of events in meets, some can handle it.
However, this is just my humblest opinion.

1 month ago

ZSC came back only .22 slower than in the last 50 of the 200. I think we’re going to see a 58 high / 59 low.

1 month ago

Any explanation on what happened to Wilson after 2019 when he was seemingly going 2.07-2.08s at will in the 200m? I know he had COVID earlier this year but he’s been significantly slower than he was in 2019 for a while now.

Reply to  Laps
1 month ago

No idea. It’s a shame. He said he has been focussing on the 100 but his 100 hasn’t improved yet. Would be nice to see him hit a solid 100 tonight

Scuncan Dott
Reply to  Laps
1 month ago

Probably the whole world going into lockdown was a huge factor in that, same thing can be said for Atherton who in 2019 looked primed to have a huge performance in the 2020 olympics after setting a SCM world record but then the pandemic hit.

Reply to  Scuncan Dott
1 month ago

Yes and no. In particular re Atherton, she lives on the Gold Coast. There were basically no restrictions here even at the height of Covid. Her training should have been impacted the least out of basically anyone in the world.

Some people just have one brilliant year and then never quite get back to that level.

Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

I seem to recall her coach at the time, David Lush, took an interstate offer post 2019 meaning she needed to either relocate with him or find a new arrangement.

Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

He went to Moreton Bay swim club.

Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Happy to stand corrected. Knew he moved on and that he’s ended up at Moreton Bay College but very curious that his peak swimmers did not follow him when staying essentially in the same region

Reply to  Laps
1 month ago

I think he was injured leading up to 2021