2023 Australian World Championship Trials: Day 5 Finals Live Recap

2023 AUSTRALIAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS

We’re headed into the penultimate night of racing at the 2023 Australian World Championship Trials with a collection of potentially explosive finals on our agenda for this evening.

Reigning Olympic champion and World Record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook will look to put his marker down in the 200m breaststroke while Bradley Woodward will attempt to repeat his personal best-setting performance in the men’s 200m back.

Emma McKeon, Australia’s winningest Olympian of all time, held her own against the women’s 100m free field in the heats. But tonight she’ll try to once again hold off Shayna Jack, Mollie O’CallaghanMadi Wilson and more in her quest for another victory.

Wrapping up the night we’ll see the fastest heat of the men’s 1500m free which means we’re slated to see another duel between the respective 400m and 800m freestyle champion and runner-up here, Sam Short and Elijah Winnington.

WOMEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL

  • World Record: 2:18.95, Tatjana Schoenmaker (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: 2:18.95, Tatjana Schoenmaker (2021)
  • Australian Record: 2:20.54, Leisel Jones (2006)
  • All Comers Record: 2:20.04, Rie Kaneto (2016)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 2:23.91
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 2:25.91

GOLD – Abbey Harkin 2:23.93
SILVER – Mikayla Smith 2:26.08
BRONZE – Ella Ramsay 2:28.85

The women’s 200m breast event kicked off our night, with 24-year-old Abbey Harkin completing her sweep of the discipline at this competition.

The St. Peters Western standout captured this 2breast victory in a mark of 2:23.93, just .02 outside of the Swimming Australia-mandated qualification time of 2:23.91 needed for Fukuoka. However, her performance tonight checks in as the 2nd best effort of her career.

Harkin’s personal best rests at the 2:23.59 clocked at the 2021 Aussie Olympic Trials, meaning tonight’s result represents just the 2nd sub-2:24 time of her career.

Harkin’s outing renders her the swiftest Aussie woman of this year, overtaking Kaylee McKeown‘s season-best of 2:24.18 clocked at April’s non-selection Australian National Championships.

Mikayla Smith snagged silver in 2:26.08 while 18-year-old Ella Ramsay bagged bronze in 2:28.85.

As a reminder, top breaststrokers Jenna Strauch and Chelsea Hodges are both missing from this competition due to injuries.

Post-race, Harkin stated, “I’m really happy with that. I was really emotional coming into this race, I don’t know why. Really missing my two main competitors. I’ve got to make the most of this year without having them here.”

MEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – FINAL

  • World Record: 1:51.92, Aaron Piersol (2009)
  • Commonwealth Record: 1:53.17, Mitch Larkin (2015)
  • Australian Record: 1:53.17, Mitch Larkin (2015)
  • All Comers Record: 1:52.86, Ryosuke Irie (2009)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 1:57.12
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:58.07

GOLD – Bradley Woodward 1:56.04
SILVER – Josh Edwards-Smith 1:57.29
BRONZE – Ty Hartwell 1:58.88

Yet another delay in a backstroke event as a lane’s foot wedge needed to be replaced. Nevertheless, the heats leader Bradley Woodward carried his momentum into this final to ultimately get to the wall first in a time of 1:56.04.

That’s quicker than the 24-year-old clocked at this year’s Nationals where he won gold in 1:57.42; however, it was slower than his morning time here of 1:55.95. That AM outing checked in as the fastest time of his career and rendered him the 3rd-swiftest performer in the world this season.

Tonight’s 1:56.04 does indeed get under the Swimming Australia-mandated qualifying time of 1:57.12 needed to add his name to the World Championships roster.

Josh Edwards-Smith touched in 1:57.29, just 17 off of the QT while Ty Hartwell rounded out the top 3 in 1:58.88.

20-year-old Edwards-Smith is still hunting a repeat performance of the 1:55.42 put up at December’s Queensland Championships.

After the race, Olympian Woodward stated, “That was the goal for tonight, just to get myself onto the team. I wanted to be a bit quicker tonight but I’ll get another chance at Worlds.”

WOMEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – FINAL

  • World Record: 51.71, Sarah Sjostrom (2017)
  • Commonwealth Record: 51.96, Emma McKeon (2021)
  • Australian Record: 51.96, Emma McKeon (2021)
  • All Comers Record: 52.06, Cate Campbell (2016)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 53.61
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 54.25

GOLD – Mollie O’Callaghan 52.48
SILVER – Emma McKeon 52.52
BRONZE – Shayna Jack 52.64

In an extremely close finish that brought some of the top freestylers in the entire world to the wall, it was 19-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan getting there first in a super quick 52.48.

That represents a new personal best for the St. Peters Western star who already took the 200m free title here. MOC split 25.50/26.98 to remain the 8th quickest performer worldwide in history.

Entering this meet, Olympic medalist O’Callaghan’s personal best rested at the 52.49 produced at last year’s Australian National Championships. Her victory here keeps the Dean Boxall-trained star ranked as the 4th fastest Aussie in history in this event.

Top 5 Aussie Women’s LCM 100 Freestyle Performers All-Time

  1. Emma McKeon – 51.96, 2021
  2. Cate Campbell – 52.03, 2018
  3. Bronte Campbell – 52.27, 2018
  4. Mollie O’Callaghan – 52.48, 2023
  5. Shayna Jack – 52.60, 2022

It was Shayna Jack who led at the halfway mark in a split of 25.14 while Emma McKeon was right behind in 25.18. McKeon ultimately snagged silver in 52.52 while Jack also landed on the podium in 52.64.

Think about that for one moment – a time of 52.64 earns 3rd place. What depth these Aussie women have. For perspective, the winning time at the 2022 U.S. National Championships was 53.53.

Meg Harris rebounded from her 200m free disappointing swim with a 4th place finish here in 53.09, Madi Wilson earned 5th in 53.42 and Ariarne Titmus finished 6th in 54.26.

MOC’s swim now takes over the season’s world rankings crown, surpassing the 52.50 Hong Kong Olympic medalist Siobhan Haughey produced on this year’s Mare Nostrum Tour.

McKeon moves up to rank 3rd in the world this season while Jack is 4th.

2022-2023 LCM Women 100 Free

2Sarah
Sjostrom
SWE52.2407/23
3Shayna
Jack
AUS52.2807/23
4Siobhan
Haughey
HGK52.4907/28
5Emma
McKeon
AUS52.5206/17
View Top 26»

With the top 5 finishers here getting under the 54-second threshold, the Aussie women’s 4x100m free relay continues to look downright frightening for Fukuoka.

MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL

GOLD – Zac Stubblety-Cook 2:07.86
SILVER – Haig Buckingham 2:12.95
BRONZE – Angus Menzies 2:13.13

Reigning Olympic champion and World Record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook easily took this men’s 200m breast, punching a final time of 2:07.86 That beat the field by over 5 seconds in the race and is the ace’s 2nd-best time of the season.

ZSC has already been as quick as 2:07.62, a mark he registered at the Sydney Open this past May to rank 5th in the world this season.

This evening, ZSC’s time crushed the Swimming Australia-mandated QT of 2:09.68 needed for Fukuoka, giving the 24-year-old Chandler athlete a chance to repeat his world title captured last year in Budapest.

However, he’ll have to handle the likes of 21-year-old Leon Marchand of France who just crushed a lifetime best of 2:06.59 at this week’s French Elite Championships to rank #1 in the world.

Of note, runner-up tonight Haig Buckingham ripped a big-time personal best. His outing here of 2:12.95 scorched his prior PB of 2:16.41 notched at the 2022 Australian National Championships.

Post-race, the humble ZSC said, “It’s all about how far I can push myself. I’m disappointed it wasn’t a PB though. The world is getting faster. I’m getting excited for World Championships. At the end of the day I got the job done.”

WOMEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE – FINAL

  • World Record: 26.98, Liu Xiang (2018)
  • Commonwealth Record: 27.16, Kaylee McKeown (2021)
  • Australian Record: 27.16, Kaylee McKeown (2021)
  • All Comers Record: 27.16, Kaylee McKeown (2021)
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 28.22

GOLD – Bronte Job 27.73
SILVER – Iona Anderson 28.03
BRONZE – Layla Day 28.47

It was Bronte Job who took this women’s non-selection 50m backstroke, posting a winning effort of 27.73. That represented the sole sub-28 second outing of the field.

Iona Anderson secured silver in 28.03 while Layla Day also landed on the podium in 28.47.

O’Callaghan earned the national title in April but opted out of this sprint here in Melbourne. Job was the silver medalist at that competition in a time of 28.21 so the 20-year-old Rackley athlete beat that time by nearly half a second.

MEN’S 1500 FREESTYLE – FASTEST HEAT

  • World Record: 14:31.02, Sun Yang (2012)
  • Commonwealth Record: 14:34.56, Grant Hackett (2005)
  • Australian Record: 14:34.56, Grant Hackett (2005)
  • All Comers Record: 14:39.54, Mack Horton (2016)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 14:56.86
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 15:04.64

GOLD – Sam Short 14:46.67
SILVER – Elijah Winnington 15:08.28
BRONZE – Nick Sloman 15:11.72

It was the Sam Short show once again with the 19-year-old Rackley star wracking up his 3rd individual victory of this competition. He has already won the 400m and 800m freestyle events here in Melbourne.

In this 1500m, Short produced the only time of the field under 15:00 as well as the only time under the Swimming Australia-mandated QT of 14:56.86 needed for Fukuoka.

Elijah Winnington placed 2nd behind Short, just as the St. Peters Western ace had done in the 4free and 8free. 23-year-old Winnington clocked 15:08.28 for silver while open water Olympian Nick Sloman rounded out the top 3 in 15:11.72.

Winnington obliterated his previous personal best of 15:19.87 clocked at December’s Queensland Championships en route to silver medal status.

As for Short, his outing here beat his career-best result of 14:48.54, the time it took him to grab the gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

His time this evening now inserts Short into the 7th slot in the worldwide rankings on the season.

2022-2023 LCM Men 1500 Free

Ahmed TUN
Hafnaoui
07/30
14:31.54
2Bobby
Finke
USA14:31.5907/30
3Florian
Wellbrock
GER14:34.8904/21
4Daniel
Wiffen
IRL14:34.9104/14
5Samuel
Short
AUS14:37.2807/30
View Top 26»

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Troyy
11 months ago

OMFG! Cam McEvoy 21.27

bubbles
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

i had to read that a couple of times to check if my eyes were correct-

Personal Best
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

I think it was you who posted a video about Cam. I watched it – it was very interesting.

It seems the work Cam is doing paid off big time.
His start was immense. It seems he wasn’t wrong about that 0.4 saving in the first 15 metres.

Ontosomething
Reply to  Personal Best
11 months ago

Can you elaborate on that? Did he give an interview about his technique or tactic? I would love to read more about it

Troyy
Reply to  Ontosomething
11 months ago
Mclovin
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

I got chills watching the interview. I wish him the best, he really looks like a nice guy. Im all in for his 2024 olympic dream

The Kaz
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

Holy moly!

Rswim
11 months ago

That women’s 4×100 free is going to be absolutely terrifying for the rest of the world

‘Murica
Reply to  Rswim
11 months ago

Shiver me timbers

commonwombat
11 months ago

Thoughts re tomorrow

M50FR: Reasonably stiff QT but McEvoy does appear to have some decent form so clearly the best chance. Nowakowski could …. but not sold on him and whatever the question may be, the answer is never Grayson Bell

W50FR: QT is 0 issue in this one with at least 5 comfortably under this mark. Favour McKeon for one spot but tight for the other. Jack can swim the times but does she when it matters ? Harris has the better record in big races

M400IM: QT would be no issue for Smith in decent form but he has been underwhelming this year. Lee has been ordinary and in any case, the QT may be beyond him. The… Read more »

Nick the biased Aussie
Reply to  commonwombat
11 months ago

I’m also not sold on Simpson but can’t say he’s not in form. Small PBs in both the 50 fly and 100 free, although I’m sure he wanted to be sub 49 in the 100 free.
At 51.7 I would think a 0.5s PB is a reasonable expectation, hope he’s worked on that turn.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  commonwombat
11 months ago

smith’s in season times in the 400 im this year are comparable with those from the last 2 years. he did a pb in the 200 free and was close to his best in the 200 im. that’s far from underwhelming and he should be about a 4:11 or better, whereas the qt is 4:12.

the qt is irrelevant in the 100 fly since it’s a relay event. the fina a cut is 51.96 which is quite realistic. temple is pretty much a lock for first, and they will want to take an alternate

commonwombat
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
11 months ago

Smith was on a major uptick in 2021 coming off an impressive ISL season. At that point, Olympic qualification was hoped for rather than expected. 2022 = he was very underwhelming with his breaststroke in particular being dire. He was finalist standard nothing more at World level with others overtaking him.

Maybe I’m holding him to an unrealistic standard but the guy is an Olympic medallist/World finallists. I’m not setting any particular store on his 200free/200IM for the simple reason that whilst they may be PBs; they’re coming off a starting point of being internationally irrelevant …. and his times remain so. He’s going to need to “move it” in order to hit the QT.

Agree the winner of M100fly… Read more »

Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

I’’d like to thank Mollie, Kaylee, and Elizabeth in advance. These Aussies will ultimately push Summer McIntosh to a WR in the 200 fr, 200 IM and 200 fly.

Thank you ladies ❤️❤️❤️

AussieAussieAussie
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

Huh?

commonwombat
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

Summer is great and it’s exceedingly likely she will be a multiple gold medallist in Fukuoka AND in Paris; and deservedly so.

However; the cold realities of scheduling plus the demands of needing her on multiple relays to assist Paris qualification will mean it’s just not viable that she swims all of the events you have propounded in Fukuoka and similar scheduling and relay requirements will be in play in Paris.

Can she conceivably break the WRs in these events ? I think 200IM & 200FR may well be in play; less certain about the 200fly. Said Aussies may indeed provide the competition to push her to said records, as may certain Americans BUT it can also be a 2… Read more »

snailSpace
Reply to  commonwombat
11 months ago

I would also add that since Summer’s race strategy in all of her events is “go out hard and then don’t die” (which is working out great for her so far) will make it unlikely that any of the competition will push her to anything. She will be the one doing the pushing.

Last edited 11 months ago by snailSpace
Yozhik
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

I wouldn’t pay much attention to this bravado, but one thing is actually interesting in it and you may give some reasoning. If you can do such a thing of course 😀
Among the forces that will push McIntosh to break world records you haven’t mentioned Titmus. Can I ask you WHY?

Last edited 11 months ago by Yozhik
Sub13
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

It’s getting worse. None of Summer’s events are even mentioned in this article and yet Tracy still managed to brag about Summer lol

bubbles
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

to be fair, i don’t think she meant any malice, just wants to see canada thriving in the pool.

Sub13
Reply to  bubbles
11 months ago

I don’t really care whether there’s malice or not. Why would you comment about Summer on an article about a different country, where she isn’t mentioned, none of her events are mentioned and is completely irrelevant.

It’s like if I posted on the US women’s 400IM article “Cam McEvoy is going to break the WR in the 50 Free”. It’s weird.

bubbles
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

yeah, i still don’t think that tracy kosinki was intending to be rude, but when i think about it the comment was unneccessary.

Springfield's #1 Athlete
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

Added to my collection.

mds
Reply to  Tracy Kosinski
11 months ago

What? Are you saying Regan Smith is chopped liver?

Ronald Sekops
11 months ago

Is Russia allowed to compete at the World’s Championships 2023 and the Olympics Paris next year?
thanks

ERNESTO C
11 months ago

What a world championship we are going to have! WOW!
Marchand vs Stubblety-cook 200 BR.
Popovici vs Chalmers vs Pan ……100 FR and Popovici vs Rest of the WORLD 200 FR
Mcintosh vs Ledecky vs Timus 400 FR
Marchand vs The History 200 IM and 400 IM
Milak vs himself 200 FLY may be 100 FLY too
Mcintosh vs herself 400 IM

Steph
Reply to  ERNESTO C
11 months ago

Again. Marchand is NOT swimming the 200 breast at worlds. Idk how many times people have to say it. I think he’s swimming it at Paris though idk the schedule.

ERNESTO C
Reply to  Steph
11 months ago

thanks for the updated, semifinals 200 BR just before 400 IM final .

olympic enjoyer
Reply to  ERNESTO C
11 months ago

Foster is as big of a threat to Marchand as Chalmers is to Popovici

Greenangel
11 months ago

I noticed that the mark indicated for the women’s 200 breast WR is still 2’18”95 by Schoenmaker. Does anyone know if World Aquatics has ratified or not the 2’17”55 of Russian Chikunova?

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Greenangel
11 months ago

they have not. the time is in the rankings, but hasn’t been given a wr tag. it does not appear on the record page at all, whereas mckeown and mcintosh’s times were marked as pending immediately, before being ratified a few weeks later. kolesnikov’s scm 50 back has not received any recognition, despite being from november last year.

I don’t think world aquatics will ratify any russian WRs until the ban ends

Jonathan
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
11 months ago

Wow. I remember getting a lot of pushback when I questioned whether Chikunova’s world record would be ratified.

If the world record is not ratified before world championships, and someone swims faster than 2:18.95 but slower than 2:17.55 at worlds, will they receive the world record bonus?

PanPacs99
11 months ago

If a swimmer is selected only for a relay at the worlds, are they required to swim regardless, as per the Olympics now?

Sub13
Reply to  PanPacs99
11 months ago

My understanding is yes. But they only have to swim on any relay at some point, they’re not required to swim on any specific relay.

However, I don’t think it will be a issue because there shouldn’t be any relay-only swimmers outside of the freestylers.

commonwombat
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Your interpretation is correct. FINA does not restrict them to specific relays but, obviously, the swimmer’s capabilities will determine where they may be deployed. They only need to be used on at least one relay during the meet.

The curious relay for me will be the MFR. AUS are the reigning titleholders and WR holders and they will clearly have the requisite talent present to not only defend their title but also rewrite the record. The issue is; being a non Olympic event and with Olympic relay qualification prioritised; WILL they deploy their peak assets here ?

Would love to see it, just not sure they will. Will be interesting in any case, who they WILL use and (given the… Read more »

Sub13
Reply to  commonwombat
11 months ago

I don’t think the Mixed Free will be the A team but it will be close.

Assuming Kyle doesn’t qualify in 100 Fly, he has 1-2 swims day 1, nothing day 2-3, 2 swims day 4, 1 swim day 5, 1 swim day 6, nothing 7 and medley relay day 8. Mixed Free is day 7 so really no reason not to use him. However, if he does qualify in the 100 fly and make the final then that’s a conflict.

Southam will have the exact same schedule, but will only swim the medley heat on day 8, so no reason not to use him.

Cartwright is a great backup for either Southam or Chalmers and has a very… Read more »

Sub13
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

I will also add re the mixed medley: I think we use the same team as Tokyo. Kaylee has the 50 back semi (if she swims it) which isn’t an issue. Emma, Temple and ZSC have no swims that day.

The heats could use Cooper/Williamson (I hope they bring him!!) / Throssell / (literally pick any of 5 female freestylers) with no conflicts.

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Wouldn’t be surprised if McKeon drops the 50 fly.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

I hope she does. She has zero medal chance and it conflicts with 3 events for her during the busiest part of her program.

commonwombat
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Think McKeon will skip the 50fly given she’s not a title contender and it’s not one of her peak races. A complete 2nd string heats line-up would almost certainly get them lane 4 or 5.

Think there will also be some degree of “risk assessment” done with regards to ALL the Olympic relays and their relative qualification prospects. My read is that barring acts of self destruction:

  • all 3 women’s relays should officially pre-qualify
  • MMR and men’s free relays are realistic chances of pre-qualifying but neither are they assured of doing so
  • barring kamikaze acts by other teams, M4XMED are unlikely to pre-qualify

However, in all cases, simply competent performances by these other… Read more »

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  commonwombat
11 months ago

in the brett hawke interview, rohan taylor said that any non qualifying relays will go to doha

commonwombat
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
11 months ago

He, like every other head coach/high performance director, is not going to lock himself into any such scenario.

I see 3 clear realities pertinent to this issue:

  • The reality is that Doha is NOT optimally placed on the calendar and most team will not be wanting to deploy their peak assets at that time unless necessity requires so.
  • USA is the only country with a strong liklihood of pre-qualifying all Olympic relays in Fukuoka and even 1-2 may not be done deals.
  • Outside USA/AUS, it’s debatable how many other countries will be seriously pursuing qualification for all relays.

Most likely; most countries with relays (that they are seriously pursuing) that are not pre-qualified… Read more »

PanPacs99
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Thank you

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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