2023 Australian World Championship Trials: Day 5 Prelims Live Recap

2023 AUSTRALIAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS

The fifth day of action at the 2023 Australian World Championship Trials features a thrilling battle in the women’s 100 freestyle as well as another world record holder with Zac Stubblety-Cook taking on his signature 200 breaststroke event.

Saturday morning’s prelims session will get started women’s 200 breaststroke and men’s 200 backstroke before a loaded group of women’s 100 freestyle heats highlighted by reigning Olympic champion Emma McKeon and defending world champion Mollie O’Callaghan. The session will continue with the men’s 200 breaststroke and wrap up with the women’s 50 backstroke. The men’s 1500 freestyle will also be contested later today.

At April’s Australian National Championships, O’Callaghan (52.63) edged Shayna Jack (52.64) with the top marks in the world this season at the time.

The 19-year-old O’Callaghan appears to be in prime form this week, having already beat Ariarne Titmus in the 200 free on Thursday night with a world-leading 1:53.83. It was the teen’s first time under 1:54 in the event.

Women’s 200 Breaststroke – Heats

  • 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

Top 8 Qualifiers: 

  1. Abbey Harkin – 2:28.43
  2. Mikayla Smith – 2:28.56
  3. Zoe Deacon – 2:29.75
  4. Ella Ramsay – 2:30.39
  5. Matilda Smith – 2:31.03
  6. Reidel Smith – 2:31.82
  7. Kayla Van Der Merwe – 2:31.85
  8. Madison Stibbe – 2:32.38

25-year-old Abbey Harkin led the way with a 2:28.43 in the women’s 200 breast prelims, edging 24-year-old Mikayla Smith by just .13 seconds for the top qualifying spot. The pair owned the top two times on the psych sheet, with Harkin’s lifetime best sitting at 2:23.59 from the 2021 Australian Trials. Smith has been as fast as 2:26.05 at the 2022 NSW Open State Championships last March.

23-year-old Zoe Deacon was the only other swimmer sub-2:30 in this morning’s heats with a 2:29.75, just a couple seconds off her entry time of 2:27.20.

Men’s 200 Backstroke – Heats

  • 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

Top 8 Qualifiers: 

  1. Bradley Woodward – 1:55.95
  2. Joshua Edwards-Smith – 1:57.33
  3. Ty Hartwell – 1:58.90
  4. Thomas Hauck – 2:00.05
  5. Stuart Swinburn – 2:01.05
  6. Matthew Magnussen – 2:01.30
  7. Alexander Foreman – 2:03.92
  8. Callum Thomas – 2:04.31

Bradley Woodward popped off a new personal-best 1:55.95 to lead the men’s 200 back heats by more than a second this morning. The 24-year-old shaved nearly half a second off his previous-best 1:56.41 from last year’s Commonwealth Games, where he took silver in the event. His new lifetime best would have placed him fourth at last year’s World Championships, just six-tenths of a second off the podium.

Woodward still has to hold off 20-year-old Joshua Edwards-Smith in tonight’s final. Edwards-Smith has been as fast as 1:55.42 this past December, so clearing the Australian qualifying standard of 1:57.12 shouldn’t be a tall task this evening.

22-year-old Ty Hartwell was the only other swimmer under two minutes in prelims with a 1:58.90, a little over a second off his personal-best 1:57.45 from the 2021 Australian Trials.

Women’s 100 Freestyle – Heats

  • 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

Top 8 Qualifiers: 

  1. Emma McKeon – 52.86
  2. Shayna Jack – 53.05
  3. Mollie O’Callaghan – 53.06
  4. Madi Wilson – 53.55
  5. Meg Harris – 53.77
  6. Olivia Wunsch – 54.44
  7. Brianna Throssell – 54.51
  8. Ariarne Titmus – 54.77

Emma McKeon sent a warning shot in prelims with a 52.86, within a second of her personal-best 51.96 from her Tokyo Olympic victory in 2021. The 29-year-old national record holder dropped .36 seconds off her previous season-best 53.22 from April, and now ranks No. 4 in the world this season.

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»

McKeon was the only swimmer under 53 seconds in the heats, with 24-year-old Shayna Jack (53.05) and Mollie O’Callaghan (53.06) trailing by just a couple tenths. At April’s Australian National Championships, O’Callaghan (52.63) edged Shayna Jack (52.64) with the top marks in the world this season at the time.

21-year-old Meg Harris was one of five swimmers under the 54-second barrier this morning with a 53.77, within a second of her personal-best 52.92 from the 2021 Australian Trials. Middle-distance star Ariarne Titmus snuck into the A-final with a 54.77, just .12 seconds ahead of Lani Pallister for the final qualifying spot.

Men’s 200 Breaststroke – Heats

Top 8 Qualifiers: 

  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook – 2:09.96
  2. Angus Menzies – 2:13.39
  3. Adam Chillingworth – 2:14.79
  4. Matthew Wilson – 2:14.89
  5. Haig Buckingham – 2:15.02
  6. Joshua Yong – 2:15.16
  7. Lachlan Gilbert – 2:15.52
  8. Adam Selwood – 2:15.64

Zac Stubblety-Cook is in great shape for tonight after leading prelims with a 2:09.96, more than three seconds faster than the field. The 24-year-old was faster than his prelims time of 2:10.14 that preceded his world-record 2:05.95 at last year’s Australian Championships. This year, he’s been 2:09.03 at the Australian Championships in April and 2:07.62 at the Sydney Open in May.

21-year-old Angus Menzies was next to the wall in 2:13.39, about a second off his entry time of 2:12.20. Stubblety-Cook will likely be the only Australian representative in this event barring a massive time drop as the national qualifying standard sits at 2:09.68.

Women’s 50 Backstroke – Heats

  • 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

Top 8 Qualifiers: 

  1. Bronte Job – 27.82
  2. Iona Anderson – 28.14
  3. Cassie Wild – 28.68
  4. Hannah Fredericks – 28.69
  5. Layla Day – 28.73
  6. Jaclyn Barclay – 28.75
  7. Olivia Lefoe – 29.02
  8. Ingeborg Loyning – 29.15

20-year-old Bronte Job clocked the only sub-28 second time during the women’s 50 back heats with a 27.82, outpacing 17-year-old Iona Anderson (28.14) by a few tenths. Job was only a couple tenths off her personal-best 27.62 from last year’s Australian Championships. Anderson appears to have set a new lifetime best with her runner-up finish in prelims, taking .26 seconds off her previous-best 28.40.

Four swimmers — Cassie Wild (28.68), Hannah Fredericks (28.69), Layla Day (28.73), and Jaclyn Barclay (28.75) — were all separated by less than a tenth of a second in a crowded battle for third place.

Men’s 1500 Freestyle

  • 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

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Troyy
11 months ago

No scratches from A finals as far as I can see.

Owlmando
11 months ago

Titmus in! And peeps were trying to downplay her 4×1 potential earlier in the season SMH 🐐

Sub13
Reply to  Owlmando
11 months ago

I didn’t think she’d make the relay and I still don’t tbh. Even if she is top 6, the heat conflicts with the 400 free. She isn’t needed for it and she won’t be fast enough for the final so it really would be just for the free heat medal. Which of course she is entitled to take if she has the time and wants to swim.

Owlmando
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Why is she contesting it then? For fun?? Undeniably a fun race but I think the mere fact she’s contesting shows she has some interest imo

Sherry Smit
Reply to  Owlmando
11 months ago

The 100 free helps with her speed in the 200/400. My coach had me do the same back in my days.

Sunday Morning Grind
Reply to  Sherry Smit
11 months ago

How do you figure? I feel like this is a common comment from coaches in all sorts of forms. Similar to a 200/500 swimmer in college being entered in the 1650 at a midseason meet or a 400IMer doing a 100 breast. It’s just one race or a handful of races over the course of the season/career. Less than a drop in the bucket of total training and even of the high intensity training that she would do over the course of the entire season. I think it’s a misconception and a proper training mix/intensity distribution should be used to train a swimmer for THEIR event(s)

CY~
11 months ago

Not from Aus and interested in watching today’s finals live – appreciate recommendations for VPN that have worked for 9now

Tried to watch yesterday’s finals replay – contrary to suggestions I’ve seen, they haven’t been uploading trials onto YouTube

Dotvpn: can’t select Australia unless I pay but idk if worth the payment (see next example)
Urbanvpn: can clear geoblock to log into 9now, but the video still detects I’m not from Aus
Hola: can clear both geoblocks but has limited free time, can’t watch the entire final live

Why suggestions would be appreciated, especially if they’ve worked for 9now, thanks!

BairnOwl
Reply to  CY~
11 months ago

I use ExpressVPN and it works well. You’ll have to pay for it unfortunately, but it looks like they have a 30-day money back guarantee.

CY~
Reply to  BairnOwl
11 months ago

Thank you it works 😀

Oceanian
Reply to  CY~
11 months ago

I use PIA (Private Internet Access) – yes it costs but never have a prob watching any stream from any country. But peeps should sort this stuff out before an event starts not in the last day or two.

Swimmer
Reply to  Oceanian
11 months ago

That’s probably up to them…

Troyy
11 months ago

Mollie 52.3
Emma 52.5
Shayna 52.6
Meg 52.9
Madi 53.3
Arnie 53.8
Olivia 53.9
Brianna 54.0

gitech
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

Like me!! Very similar, my dude is 2 Emma or shayna

Last edited 11 months ago by gitech
Jimmyswim
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

This is hard! Emma was off in fly, but Jack was off in the 200. Then again Jack is a 50/100 swimmer who stretches to the 200, so that might not mean that much.

I think MOC is definitely my favourite (I feel like earlier in the year people were predicting she would miss the 100) but second could go either way. I’m going to go with experience and lean McKeon. But being perfectly honest I think I would prefer for McKeon not to have 4 individuals because we need her for relays… and Jack isn’t the most reliable on relays.

Troyy
Reply to  Jimmyswim
11 months ago

I think people were just saying she’s not a lock for the 100 free spot rather than she’ll miss a spot.

Jack probably should lead off in the final and they should use her in the heats for experience with changeovers.

gitech
11 months ago

Prediction 100 free:
1. MOC 52.4
2. Jack 52.6
3. Mckeon 52.6
4 . Harris 53.1
5. Wilson 53.3
6. Titmus 53.8
7. Wunsh 53.9
8. Throssel 54.0

Last edited 11 months ago by gitech
Oceanian
Reply to  gitech
11 months ago

Can’t see Emma being beaten by Jack after that controlled, smooth 52.9. Not sure if I can really see MOC beating her either on this morning’s form.

Personal Best
11 months ago

My non-scientific, non-future-predicting-superpower prediction for the W100m final… McKeon can probably easily wipe 0.5 secs off her morning swim if not a tad more (she was able to do that in the 100 fly). A low 52 should not be impossible for her.

MOC on the other hand I believe can probably swim close to 0.8 faster for first by a touch.

Difficult to tell how Harris, Jack, and Wilson will swim given their form so far (albeit over 200), but they should be able to get into the 52 territory.

Miss M
Reply to  Personal Best
11 months ago

Ridiculous predictions:

MOC 52.30
McKeon 52.33
Harris 52.90
Wilson 53.03
Jack 53.05
Wunsch 53.60
Throssell 53.70
Titmus 54.00

Last edited 11 months ago by Miss M
Jimmyswim
Reply to  Miss M
11 months ago

You don’t think Jack will drop any time? Interesting

Miss M
Reply to  Jimmyswim
11 months ago

More that I’m a bigger fan of the others and don’t really want her to finish top 4 if I’m honest!

Sunday Morning Grind
Reply to  Jimmyswim
11 months ago

I think it happens more often than swimmers and fans would like to admit

Hooked on Chlorine
Reply to  Miss M
11 months ago

I predict Mollie will win and smash the world record while she’s at it.

Troyy
Reply to  Hooked on Chlorine
11 months ago

She hasn’t got the 50 speed to attack the wr yet

4 kick pullout
Reply to  Troyy
11 months ago

She’s a psycho. Not predicting it, but 25.5 / 26.1 splits for a WR wouldn’t really surprise me from her. Maybe later this summer I reckon.

commonwombat
Reply to  Personal Best
11 months ago

Think the winning time will most likely be in the 52.35 – 52.65 range; I see McKeon & MOC as having the sub 52.5 potential; a slower race may bring Jack into the equation. Would like to see 52highs from both Wilson and Harris; could happen; think its 50/50 at best.

Personal Best
Reply to  commonwombat
11 months ago

MOC has been at PB or better this whole meet, so I definitely believe she’s capable of surpassing her season best, and her PB. Under 52.4 is very possible for her.

I wouldn’t write McKeon off – she’s the most experienced racer out of all of them (other than Titmus, but certainly in the spirints).

commonwombat
Reply to  Personal Best
11 months ago

Reasonable enough calls regarding times. Would be surprised if its much below 52.4.

Definitely NOT writing off McKeon, she and MOC are my selections as qualifiers.

Last edited 11 months ago by commonwombat
Sub13
Reply to  Personal Best
11 months ago

My predictions:
1. MOC 52.3
2. Jack 52.4
3. McKeon 52.5
4. Harris 53.0
5. Wilson 53.0
6. Wunsch 53.7
7. Throssell 53.7
8. Titmus 53.8

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Personal Best
11 months ago

harris seems to have focused more on the 50/100 since moving to marion. at the sydney open she was 2:00 but also did a pb in the 50. given that her 200 is 2 seconds faster here, she should be fine

Miss M
11 months ago

Interesting … Channel 9 introducing a female commentator for the final night. Chelsea Ryan – she’s worked with Victoria Swimming a bit.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Miss M
11 months ago

oh great, another unknown quantity. I wish they brought in grant hackett and nicole livingstone like they did for amazon prime. I now live in fear for what we’ll be subjected to in the 1500 final tonight

Sub13
Reply to  Miss M
11 months ago

Is it for the final night? Or is it just for the distance events? Maybe they realise they need someone better to fill all the dead air during a 1500.

Miss M
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

Not sure. She joined them for the 1500 heat this morning. At least she has some experience in swimming commentary!

Oceanian
Reply to  Sub13
11 months ago

They shoulda had a female commentator the whole meet but maybe Nicole was beyond their budget.

Sub13
11 months ago

I’m wondering if Kaylee and Mollie have already been told they can have 50 Back at Worlds if they want. They are the two fastest and both have the A cut and it’s not a selection event.

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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