2023 Australian World Championship Trials: Day 4 Finals Live Recap

2023 AUSTRALIAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS

Here we go, people – Day four of the 2023 Australian World Championship Trials. The blue ribbon event of the men’s 100m freestyle is on tonight’s agenda, featuring multi-Olympic medalist Kyle Chalmers.

The 24-year-old already put up a controlled swim of 48.09 to land lane 4 but he’ll be joined by Jack CartwrightFlynn Southam, Matt Temple and more in their bid for Fukuoka qualification.

The first event, however, is the women’s 200m back which will feature World Record holder Kaylee McKeown. 21-year-old McKeown ripped the fastest time in history with her 2:03.14 from just this past April. We’ll see her follow-up performance unfold this evening.

Plus we’ll see Ariarne Titmus in a follow-up to her 400m free gold and 200m free silver medals already captured here in Melbourne.

WOMEN’S 200 BACKSTROKE – FINAL

GOLD – Kaylee McKeown 2:03.70
SILVER – Jenna Forrester 2:10.37

BRONZE – Hannah Fredericks 2:10.84

World Record holder Kaylee McKeown was under her history-making pace at the beginning of tonight’s final as she obliterated the field en route to gold.

After a short delay at the start to replace another lane’s ledge, 21-year-old McKeown put up an eye-popping time of 2:03.70 to produce the 2nd fastest result of her career.

She beat the field by nearly 7 seconds as Jenna Forrester clocked 2:10.37 for silver and Hannah Fredericks hit 2:10.84 for bronze. McKeown was the sole competitor to get under the 2:10.07 Swimming Australia-mandated qualification time for next month’s World Championships.

Splitting 1:00.72/1:02.98, McKeown was just off her WR-setting mark of 2:03.14 notched at this year’s New South Wales State Open Championships. Her 2:03.70 tonight represents the 4th swiftest performance in history.

Top 5 Women’s LCM 200 Backstroke Performances All-Time

  1. 2:03.14 – Kaylee McKeown (AUS) 2023
  2. 2:03.35 – Regan Smith (USA) 2019
  3. 2:03.69 – Regan Smith (USA) 2019
  4. 2:03.70 – Kaylee McKeown (AUS) 2023
  5. 2:04.06 – Missy Franklin (USA) 2012

After the race, McKeown said she was ‘really happy’ with that race but explained ‘her legs died in the last 15m’.

MEN’S 200 IM – FINAL

  • World Record: 1:54.00, Ryan Lochte (2011)
  • Commonwealth Record: 1:55.28, Duncan Scott (2021)
  • Australian Record: 1:55.72, Mitch Larkin (2019)
  • All Comers Record: 1:54.98, Michael Phelps (2007)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 1:57.74
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 1:59.53

GOLD – Tommy Neill 1:57.74
SILVER – Brendon Smith 1:58.84

BRONZE – William Petric 1:59.29

20-year-old Tommy Neill rose to the occasion in this men’s 200m IM, busting out the fastest time of his career to take the gold.

The Rackley swimmer stopped the clock in 1:57.74 to meet the Swimming Australia-mandated selection standard of 1:57.74 exactly to punch his ticket to Fukuoka.

In the process. Neill crushed his previous personal best of 1:58.99 in this event, a time he notched just this past April en route to becoming the Australian national champion.

Neill now becomes Australia’s 4th-swiftest performer in history.

Top 5 Australian Men’s LCM 200 IM Performers

  1. Mitch Larkin – 1:55.72 2019
  2. Leith Brodie – 1:56.69 2009
  3. Daniel Tranter – 1:57.55 2013
  4. Tommy Neill – 1:57.74 2023
  5. Thomas Fraser-Holmes – 1:57.88 2014

Post-race, Neill said, “I’m pretty stoked with that PB. Was trying to be like a little frog there in the breaststroke. 3 out of the 4 legs are pretty good at the moment but I’ll work on the breaststroke. I can’t complain about representing an Australian team.”

Neill now ranks 12th in the world this season.

Brendon Smith, the Olympic bronze medalist in the 400m IM, missed qualification, snagging silver in 1:58.84 while William Petric rounded out the top 3 in 1:59.29,

Of note, national record holder Mitch Larkin is not competing at these championships.

Additionally, Olympian Se-Bom Lee initially was disqualified out of the morning heats but was indeed present in this final, logging 2:01.15 for 3rd place.

WOMEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – FINAL

  • World Record: 2:01.81, Liu Zige (2009)
  • Commonwealth Record: 2:03.41, Jessicah Schipper (2009)
  • Australian Record: 2:03.41, Jessicah Schipper (2009)
  • All Comers Record: 2:05.41, Madeline Groves (2015)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 2:07.89
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 2:09.21

GOLD – Elizabeth Dekkers 2:05.26 *All Comers Record
SILVER – Abbey Connor 2:07.61

BRONZE – Brianna Throssell 2:07.68

What a swim from 19-year-old Chandler ace Elizabeth Dekkers. The reigning Commonwealth Games champion scorched a lifetime best of 2:05.26 to get to the wall first in this women’s 200m fly.

That destroyed her previous career-quickest effort of 2:06.55 which garnered her the gold at April’s Aussie National Championships. That outing represented her first sub-2:07 result and she now dipped even further with her first-ever sub-2:06 performance.

29.23 1:01.75 (32.52) 1:34.03 (32.28) 2:06.55 (32.52) Old PB
28.92 1:00.91 (31.99) 1:32.87 (31.96) 2:05.26 (32.39) New PB

Abbey Conner wrapped up silver in 2:07.61, also delving under the 2:07.89 qualification time set by Swimming Australia. Olympian Brianna Throssell just missed out, bagging bronze just .07 later in 2:07.68. Throssell already earned an individual qualification in the 100m fly event.

As for Dekkers, the teen now ranks as Australia’s 3rd-fastest performer in history.

Top 5 Australian Women’s 200 Fly Performers All-Time

  1. Jessicah Schipper – 2:03.41 2009
  2. Maddie Groves – 2:04.88 2016
  3. Elizabeth Dekkers – 2:05.26 2023
  4. Susie O’Neill – 2:05.81 2000
  5. Samantha Hamill – 2:05.99 2009

Dekkers remains ranked #3 in the world on the season.

Post-race, Dekkers said, “I did not know I was that fast. I just tried to stick with those girls and try not to die.”

MEN’S 100 FREESTYLE – FINAL

  • World Record: 46.86, David Popovici (2022)
  • Commonwealth Record: 47.04, Cameron McEvoy (2016)
  • Australian Record: 47.04, Cameron McEvoy (2016)
  • All Comers Record: 47.04, Cameron McEvoy (2016)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 47.96
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 48.51

GOLD – Kyle Chalmers 47.44
SILVER – Flynn Southam 47.77

BRONZE – Jack Cartwright 48.50

Fully mustachioed and with a blonde mohawk, Kyle Chalmers demonstrated why he’s a multi-Olympic champion once again.

24-year-old Chalmers secured his spot on the World Championships roster in this 1free event with a threatening 47.44.

Opening in 22.76 and coming home in 24.68, Chalmers produced his fastest outing in 2023 and the 2nd quickest time in the world this season. Only China’s Pan Zhanle has been swifter with his 47.22 Asian Record.

2022-2023 LCM Men 100 Free

KyleAUS
Chalmers
07/27
47.15
2Pan
Zhanle
CHN47.2205/01
3Jack
Alexy
USA47.3107/27
4Maxime
Grousset
FRA47.4207/27
5Matthew
Richards
GBR47.4507/27
View Top 27»

It’s refreshing to see Chalmers injury-free and not coming off of a shoulder or heart surgery and he’s taking full advantage of being fully healthy.

But 18-year-old Flynn Southam also put on a show en route to silver, establishing a monster new personal best. Southam stopped the clock in 47.77 as a maiden voyage into the 47-second zone. This is the type of performance the teen has been capable of for some time now.

Entering this meet, Southam of Bond held a career-best effort of 48.23 from last year’s Junior Pan Pacific Championships. He dropped nearly half a second from that result to now gain individual entry for Fukuoka in this 100m free.

That’s a major step into the senior ranks for Southam. Just like that, he becomes Australia’s 5th fastest performer of all time.

Jack Cartwright was also impressive with a solid 48.50 as tonight’s bronze medalist. He hit a time of 48.21 in the morning as his most rapid since 2017.

The 200m free winner Kai Taylor nabbed 4th place in 48.60 while Matt Temple was 5th in 48.82 and Dylan Andrea captured 6th place in 48.94.

King Kyle said post-race, “I’m excited. I had a lot of energy with all the young boys next to me. We’ll do something special next month I reckon. I get most excited about the relays. Really proud of Flynn. I feel like I’m just getting started with my journey once again. So much fun. Can’t wait to do it on the world stage.”

WOMEN’S 50 BREASTSTROKE – FINAL

  • World Record: 29.30, Benedetta Pilato (2021)
  • Commonwealth Record: 29.72, Tatjana Schoenmaker (2021)
  • Australian Record: 30.15, Chelsea Hodges (2022)
  • All Comers Record: 30.15, Chelsea Hodges (2022)

GOLD – Abbey Harkin 31.14
SILVER – Talara-Jade Dixon 31.19

BRONZE – Mikayla Smith 31.26

Sans Jenna Strauch and Chelsea Hodges who are out of this competition with injuries, it was Abbey Harkin who claimed 50m breast gold.

In this non-selection event, Harkin put up a mark of 31.14 for a new lifetime best for gold. Talara-Jade Dixon posted 31.19 as the runner-up while Mikayla Smith also landed on the podium in 31.26.

Entering this meet, Harkin’s PB rested at the 31.20 from when she scored 7th place at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

MEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE – FINAL

  • World Record: 23.71, Hunter Armstrong (2022)
  • Commonwealth Record: 24.04, Liam Tancock (2009)
  • Australian Record: 24.38, Isaac Cooper (2023)
  • All Comers Record: 24.38, Isaac Cooper (2023)

GOLD – Isaac Cooper 24.56
SILVER – James Bayliss 25.32

BRONZE – Lewis Blackburn 25.38

Short Course World Championships silver medalist Isaac Cooper touched first in this men’s 50m back, earning gold in 24.56. That’s .01 outside of his morning result of 24.55 which garnered the 20-year-old St. Andrews swimmer the top seed.

James Bayliss was behind in 25.32 while Lewis Blackburn rounded out the top 3 in 25.38.

Cooper remains ranked 5th in the world on the season, courtesy of his mark of 24.38 from the New South Wales State Open Championships in March.

As a reminder, national champion Ben Armbruster is out of this competition, rehabilitating a rib injury.

On his performance, Cooper said,  “I would have liked to have gone faster than this morning but still 2 pretty good times.”

WOMEN’S 800 FREESTYLE – FASTEST HEAT

  • World Record: 8:04.79, Katie Ledecky (2016)
  • Commonwealth Record: 8:13.59, Ariarne Titmus (2022)
  • Australian Record: 8:13.59, Ariarne Titmus (2022)
  • All Comers Record: 8:11.35, Katie Ledecky (2014)
  • Swimming Australia QT: 8:26.71
  • World Aquatics ‘A’ Cut: 8:37.90

GOLD – Ariarne Titmus 8:15.88
SILVER – Lani Pallister 8:20.56

BRONZE – Kiah Melverton 8:26.65

Aside from the first 50m, Olympic multi-champion Ariarne Titmus led this race by over 2 body lengths, beating the world-class field by nearly 5 seconds.

22-year-old Titmus claimed this 800m free gold in a mark of 8:15.88, her fastest of the season. It beat out her 8:19.33 registered this past March and easily got under the QT of 8:26.71. In the process, the Aussie frog hops New Zealand’s Erika Fairweather to now rank 2nd in the world.

2022-2023 LCM Women 800 Free

KatieUSA
Ledecky
06/27
8:07.07
2Li
Bingjie
CHN8:13.3107/29
3Ariarne
Titmus
AUS8:13.5907/29
4Simona
Quadarella
ITA8:16.4607/29
5Isabelle
Gose
GER8:17.9507/29
View Top 26»

Titmus’ time here represents the 5th swiftest of her own career.

Ariarne Titmus‘ Top 5 Performances in LCM 800 Free

  1. 8:13.59 2022
  2. 8:13.83 2021
  3. 8:15.57 2021
  4. 8:15.70 2019
  5. 8:15.88 2023

Lani Pallister put up the 3rd fastest of her career in 8:20.56 for silver while Kiah Melverton nabbed bronze in 8:26.65. Both women dipped under the World Championships qualifying time mandated by Swimming Australia but only Pallister will join Titmus.

Melverton will need to really hit hard in the 400m IM as she has yet to snag an individual qualifying time at these trials.

Titmus commented post-race, “I tried to take it out and hold on. Just 2 seconds off my best. Lani’s got a great dive, better than mine. So I have to trust my speed so I don’t burn my legs too early. Contrary to media reports, I’m not planning on retiring after Paris. I’m just worrying about next year.”

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"we've got a boilover!"
8 months ago

Cody 7th in the 100 after winning the swim off, “only” 17 hundredths from top 6 and 4*1 relay consideration…

If the 100 fly shows as competitive the next 12 months as it looks this week, then it’s great to know that he’s put himself in position to challenge for 4*1 relay berth next year on top of 100 fly.

Bottom line if he doesn’t ultimately get thru to the Olympics themselves, he has more than proven that he is a legit world class swimmer and massive props to him on the journey he’s undertaken the last few years.

Sub13
Reply to  "we've got a boilover!"
8 months ago

Cody is great, and best of luck to him, but I really don’t see him in Paris. A 49 low definitely won’t cut it for the free relay with Chalmers, Temple, Cartwright, Southam, Taylor, Incerti, Yang and McEvoy all having PBs significantly faster.

His best shot appears to be the 100 Fly, but Temple seems to have the top spot locked. Chalmers and Champion are both faster than Simpson but not by a huge amount, so it’s possible. But I think I’d pick Champion at this point.

"we've got a boilover!"
Reply to  Sub13
8 months ago

49 low… No. But he keeps progressing. If he keeps going and can get into the 48.5 range, yes a tall task but not unfathomable, then he’s in the mix for the 4-5-6 slot with a whole bunch, many that you mentioned.

51 low may be more likely in the 100 fly, but less margin for error if 1-2 others also in that range for 2nd slot. Regardless he’s in the hunt as much as any of the others not named Kyle or Matt or Flynn etc…

Torchbearer
Reply to  "we've got a boilover!"
8 months ago

Maybe he will remain a Commonwealth level swimmer (with a Gold medal too)…..no shame in that, a great achievement!

Mike
8 months ago

It seems that finally the 200 fly for women it’s making progress after only having 15 swimmers to swim it in Tokyo.

Sub13
Reply to  Mike
8 months ago

200 Breast is going to be the new 200 fly in Tokyo. The talent at the top is very strong, but the A cut is 2:23.91. Only 16 swimmers hit that last year… and one of them was Lazor who will be retired before Paris.

Torchbearer
Reply to  Mike
8 months ago

And the 16th should have been Dekkers!

Mike McCormack
8 months ago

Just to add to the general feeling of positivity about this all, even if in non sequitur… my mind went through its leaves of images and files in the reading of the 47.4 (Kyle) and 47.7 (Flynn), and came to rest on … Mike Wenden. And of me, 7 years old, astonished by his individual Mexico City double… in this, the greatest sport ever…

Oceanian
Reply to  Mike McCormack
8 months ago

And in Mexico – Dawn Fraser (banned from the sport by Australian officials) apparently stripped down without any warmup and swam a 59.0 100m freestyle. Might have been 4 in a row for Dawnie.

Hiswimcoach
8 months ago

King Kyle is so steady. He’s been a rock with these performances for a long time

Sub13
Reply to  Hiswimcoach
8 months ago

Absolutely. That’s his 10th swim at a 47.5 or better, not including any of his absurd relay splits.

Yozhik
8 months ago

Titmus’s splits : 4:04:57 – 4:11.31. Kind of weird. Does she always swims this way?
It looks very similar to Ledecky’s gold medal swim in 2012 in London: 4:04. – 4:10. But it was the first international meet of inexperienced 15 years old school girl. She has never done it again and considered this race one of her worst (technically).

Last edited 8 months ago by Yozhik
Sub13
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

If you read the article you would see she said she took it out hard which she doesn’t usually do.

Your ability to take anything and somehow turn it into an insult while simultaneously making it about Ledecky is astounding.

Yozhik
Reply to  Sub13
8 months ago

I am reading carefully what you are writing and you do a lot of this. And very often you are lecturing other commenters of being insulting, disrespectful, etc. For no obvious reason most of the time. You are tuned on this stuff. Are you a school teacher and correcting other people is the part of your professional life?
Ledecky is the specialist of 800m event by all means and it is natural to use her performances and approaches in this event as a benchmark in evaluating results of other leading swimmers in this event.
Titmus did 1:54.1 – 3:58 – 8:15. Does it deserve a deep analysis of her conditions at Trials? It does, because that is the… Read more »

Robbos
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

Last year she made a statement in 400 free WR in the trails, because she had no WC to compete in, it was a free hit.
Now she is preparing for the WC next month, lets see then for her statement.

Sub13
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

My first reply appears to have been removed so I’ll just say this:

You didn’t add any analysis. All you did was try to imply that Titmus is similar to Ledecky’s worst ever swim.

None of Titmus’s performances here have been “statements”. She said herself she’s not rested and is saving it up for the world champs (cf last year where she went all out at trials because she skipped world champs).

I get it. You hate that Titmus beat Ledecky in Tokyo. But you need to get over it.

jeff
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

she was 4:06 – 4:07 (add a couple tenths to each) in her PB

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

It is the proper experimentation for Titmus if she wants to put a dent in her personal best. She’s always emphasized she doesn’t know how to swim the 800. If she goes at that clip in a championship race she’ll have greater energy and determination to lessen the bleed coming home.

In Tokyo Rowdy got very concerned because Titmus went out quicker than normal, something like 4:06 or slightly below. He expected Ledecky’s lead to be roughly 2.5 seconds. Instead it was half as much. Rowdy was fixated on Titmus the closer so he was barely able to speak the next few laps. Not until 700 did he relax, raise his voice and exclaim Ledecky would hold on.

That was… Read more »

Lisa
Reply to  Awsi Dooger
8 months ago

Yeah there’s been twice Ledecky been vulnerable in 800 and that is during 2019 world championship and during Tokyo and both times she won and it’s pretty unlikely it’s gonna get to those moments as she is looking faster in longer distance and looking at her times this year , next month race is not gonna be close like both of those times and also since moving to Florida she is getting more and more improved on her speed in longer distance events.

Last edited 8 months ago by Lisa
Meow
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

Dude, get a better hobby.

Hooked on Chlorine
Reply to  Yozhik
8 months ago

“Does she always swims this way?”

Always post sober.

Oceanian
8 months ago

Best session of the meet for sure.

snailSpace
8 months ago

It was great reading the comments. Zero negativity, hate and trolling. What a night! Australian swimfans really keep me excited for the sport when I don’t have a lot to look forward to in relation to my own country.

Oceanian
Reply to  snailSpace
8 months ago

Good luck to your own country in this and every other sport.

bubbles
Reply to  snailSpace
8 months ago

curious question, where are you from if you feel comfortable answering?

snailSpace
Reply to  bubbles
8 months ago

Hungary lol. Always liked the Aussies in swimming for some reason.

bubbles
Reply to  snailSpace
8 months ago

Oh, ok! Cool!

Am a little surprised because I feel like you guys are a pretty strong swimming country overall.

snailSpace
Reply to  bubbles
8 months ago

Historically speaking, certainly. And in the modern age of swimming (2000s and onward), we always had a few medal winners on the world stage. At the moment however, Hungarian swimming is experiencing a low-key crisis.
Since Tokyo we’ve only had one potential medal winner, Milak, who is seemingly not dealing well with the pressure. I am somewhat hopeful about Kos, who I think could have a breakout meet under Bowman’s coaching in Fukuoka, but other than that, there isn’t much for us Hungarian swimfans right now.
It’s alright though, I am starting to really appreciate finalists or even qualifiers lol.

PFA
8 months ago

As an American it’s great to see charmers having the best training block of his career now. Being injury free as well is very great and excited to see what he can do in the 100 free because winning that event for anyone is not a guarantee at worlds.

Last edited 8 months ago by PFA

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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