2023 Australian World Championship Trials: Day 6 Finals Live Recap


The last session of the 2023 Australian World Championship Trials is here and it’s the final opportunity for swimmers to punch their ticket to Fukuoka. 16 swimmers have earned a spot on the roster so far. Today we’ll see finals of the men’s and women’s 50 free and 400 IM as well as the men’s 100 fly and women’s 1500 free.

Cameron McEvoy leads the men’s 50 free after firing off the fastest time in the world this season (21.27). That mark already would have won gold at World’s last year, but we’ll see if he rides that momentum to something even faster.

The women’s race is shaping up to be much tighter with Meg Harris (24.52), Shayna Jack (24.54), and Emma McKeon (24.58) all finishing within .06 of each other in prelims. McKeon’s sub-24.00 lifetime best time is closing in the Aussie national record; will she (or anyone else) be pushed enough to break it?

A similarly close prelims race was the men’s 400 IM where Se-Bom Lee took first place by less than one second. Watch out for national record holder Brendon Smith, the 2021 Tokyo Olympic bronze medalist, though. He finished fifth in prelims but likely has more in the tank.

The finals session will conclude with the women’s 1500 free led by top seeds Maddy Gough, the current Aussie national record holder, and Lani Pallister. Pallister has already qualified for Australia’s World Championship roster after placing second in both the 400 and 800 free. This is Gough’s chance to punch her ticket.


  • World Record: Cesar Cielo, 20.91 (2009)
  • Australian Record: Ashley Callus, 21.19 (2009)
  • Commonwealth Record: Ben Proud, 21.11 (2018)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 21.83
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 22.12

GOLD – Cameron McEvoy 21.41
SILVER – Thomas Nowakowski 21.89
BRONZE – Isaac Cooper 22.00

McEvoy was right on his prelims lifetime best time (21.27) to secure gold by nearly half a second. This time still makes him the second-fastest 50 freestyler in the world this season.

“I’m in a great spot and it’s great to be back,” McEvoy said in his post-race interview. He explained how he’s been focusing on the “nitty gritty” execution points like the dives and technique. And it’s clearly paying off for the 29-year-old who has now dropped two lifetime best times (following his performance in the 50 fly) at this meet.

Thomas Nowakowski dropped about .20 from prelims to hit the wall second, under the World Aquatics ‘A’ cut but just shy of Swimming Autralia’s qualifying time. He was right on his best time of 21.86 from last year.

20-year-old Isaac Cooper claimed bronze by shaving .03 off his prelims swim and out-touching his teammate Jezze Gorman who placed fourth. This was a great swim for Cooper who came into this meet with a best time of 22.25.


  • World Record: Sarah Sjostrom, 23.67 (2017)
  • Australian Record: Cate Campbell, 23.78 (2018)
  • Commonwealth Record: Cate Campbell, 23.78 (2018)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 24.70
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 25.04

GOLD – Shayna Jack 24.22
SILVER – Emma McKeon 24.26
BRONZE – Meg Harris 24.30

This was an incredible, season-best for Shayna Jack defended her position as the second-fastest 50 freestyler in the world this season behind world record holder Sarah Sjostrom. She had already posted a 24.26 in March.

2022-2023 LCM Women 50 Free

WR 23.61
View Top 26»

“I keep seeing the word redemption for me,” Jack said in her post-race interview, “and it is a word that describes the things I’m going through and all the things I’m trying to achieve.”

This race was extremely fast with the top four finishers cracking Swimming Australia’s qualifying time (Mollie O’Callaghan finished fourth with a time of 24.64).

McKeon did exactly what she needed to do, dropping .32 from prelims to out touch Harris and secure second place. This was a strong swim for 29-year-old McKeon, but still about .4 off her best time from the Tokyo Olympics. Harris blasted a lifetime best time by about .2 to try and catch McKeon.

MEN’S 400 IM – Final

  • World Record: 4:03.84, Michael Phelps (2008)
  • Australian Record: 4:09.27, Brendon Smith (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: 4:09.18, Duncan Scott (2022)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 4:12.50
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 4:17.48

GOLD – Brendon Smith 4:10.64
SILVER – Thomas Neill 4:15.57
BRONZE – Thomas Hauck 4:21.69

Over in one of the end lanes, Smith established a narrow and early lead over top seed Se-Bom Lee. By the halfway mark, Smith was ahead by about one second. He held strong on the breast and then attacked the freestyle, splitting a 57.16 on the final 100 meters to win gold.

This was an incredible swim for 22-year-old Smith, coming within about one second of his lifetime best from Tokyo. He crushed his prelims time by 14 seconds to clock the seventh-fastest time in the world this season.

Smith spoke about it being an emotional week, explaining that he’s just tried to stay focused on getting himself on the team. He also shouted out 23-year-old Elliot Rogerson for completing his last race in that final. They’ve been swimming together since they were about nine years old.

Thomas Neill destroyed his lifetime best time by about seven seconds to hit the wall second. Smith was the only swimmer to crack the Australian qualifying time, but Neill also made it under the ‘A’ cut.

William Petric came within two seconds of his best time to hit the wall third but he was disqualified. Hauck was bumped up to third place, coming within three seconds of his fastest time.

WOMEN’S 400 IM – Final

  • World Record: 4:25.87, Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • Australian Record: 4:29.45, Stephanie Rice (2008)
  • Commonwealth Record: 4:25.87, Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 4:38.53
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 4:43.06

GOLD – Jenna Forrester 4:34.89
SILVER – Kiah Melverton 4:39.65
BRONZE – Ella Ramsay 4:39.96

19-year-old Jenna Forrester is now the fourth fastest in the world this season. Her 1:08.17 backstroke split and killer underwaters set her worlds apart from the field and she won gold by about five seconds.

When asked about her backstroke and underwaters, she replied, “I mean I can thank Dean [Boxall] for that,” with a laugh, talking about training to race this way.

Kiah Melverton secured second place about three seconds off her lifetime best time and a second behind the Australian qualifying time.

It was 18-year-old Ella Ramsay who got to the wall third. She took about four seconds off her best time from last year as she chased Melverton for second place.


  • World Record: Caeleb Dressel, 49.45 (2021)
  • Australian Record: Matthew Temple, 50.45 (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: Josh Liendo, 50.36 (2023)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 51.28
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 51.96

GOLD – Matt Temple 51.35
SILVER – Kyle Chalmers 51.61
BRONZE – Shaun Champion 51.88

Matt Temple said he felt rusty during warmup during his post-race interview, but no one would’ve known by watching the race. He ripped through the water and paced the race confidently. Chalmers was in first at the turn, splitting the only sub-24.00 in the field (23.93 compared to Temple’s 24.17).

But Temple came back .50 faster than everyone else, finishing the race in 27.18 to overtake the field.

This was a new lifetime best time for his training partner Kyle Chalmers who shaved .06 off his previous best from last May. He shouted out Temple in their post-race interview. “I get to train next to the Australian record holder every single day,” Chalmers said, “and no one works harder than this guy.”

This was also a strong swim for Shaun Champion who had the second-fastest opening split of 24.00. He held strong on the final lap to secure bronze, coming within about .30 of his best time.

No one actually cracked the Australian qualifying cut in this race, but the entire podium cleared the World Aquatics ‘A’ cut.

WOMEN’S 1500 FREESTYLE – Timed Final

  • World Record: 15:20.48, Katie Ledecky (2018)
  • Australian Record: 15:46.13, Maddy Gough (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: 15:40.14, Lauren Boyle (2015)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 16:09.09
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 16:29.57

GOLD – Lani Pallister 15:56.31
SILVER – Moesha Johnson 16:03.02
BRONZE – Maddy Gough 16:21.68

This was Pallister’s first 1500 free in long course since the World Championship final last year and she knocked it out of the park, establishing herself as the fifth-fastest in the world this year. She came within eight seconds of her 2022 Worlds time which earned her bronze.

She attacked the race from the beginning, splitting an 8:23.82 at the 800-meter-mark. That’s within three seconds of the that earned ehr silver in the individual 800 free two days ago.

“I normally take things out relatively hard,” she explained in her post-race interview, explaining how her strategy is to hang on after going out aggressively. Her coach and mom Janelle Pallister (previously Elford) looked on with a big smile. The 1988 Olympian still holds an Australian all-time top ten time in the 800 free. Lani expressed how great it is that she does the same events her mom.

Johnson also crushed the Australian qualifying time to place second. She was within about five seconds of her season-best time which previously ranked her fifth in the world this season. Pallister has bumped her to sixth.

Gough finished in third place a ways off her Australian record time.

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5 months ago

Very good results overall!

At the end of trials, out of 30 individual events, Australia is:

Ranked first in 9 events
Ranked second in 6 events
Ranked third in 7 events
Has at least one person in the top 3 in 16 events
Has two people in the top 3 in 6 events

Not a bad effort!

5 months ago

No Cody Simpson?

Reply to  Xman
5 months ago

He finished 5th.

5 months ago

Kyle’s 100 fly Pb is 51.37

5 months ago

Why is literally every australian swimmer having some weird redemption come up

5 months ago

Absolutely superb job done by the writers these past days

5 months ago

Gotta say the Amazon coverage was so much better then channel 9 they didn’t even have the world record splits for races that should be an automatic thing to have and the commentary was well below the level we got with Amazon

Reply to  Tyson
5 months ago

The only issue with the Amazon coverage was that I remember some of their WR lines going at very strange speeds, especially the 50m events. But other than that, Amazon’s coverage was sensational

Reply to  AJ123
5 months ago

I think that the line moved at the average speed per lap. They might not have had the data to have the line moving more accurately.

Reply to  BairnOwl
5 months ago

Average speed per lap is the only way they can do the WR line. The only recorded timings for any swimming race are at the end of each lap. A swimmer may have put in a much faster (or slower) last 25 m (in a LC pool) when achieving a WR but there is no way of recording that, because the times are only recorded each time the swimmer touches the wall (at either end of the pool).

5 months ago

No one has mentioned a certain female commentator was missing tonite…….

John John
Reply to  torchbearer
5 months ago

Who the hell was that random woman on the race call last night? Geezsh

5 months ago

Actually 51.61 is not a 100fly pb for Kyle .. I’m pretty sure he’s done 51.37 a few years ago

About Annika Johnson

Annika Johnson

Annika came into the sport competitively at age eight, following in the footsteps of her twin sister and older brother. The sibling rivalry was further fueled when all three began focusing on distance freestyle, forcing the family to buy two lap counters. Annika is a three-time Futures finalist in the 200 …

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