2024 Australian Olympic Trials: Day 1 Prelims Live Recap


Whole Meet Prelims Heat Sheet

Good Morning to all our Aussies out there, a Good Evening to all of us Americans, and a Good [Insert Appropriate Time of Day here] to all of our readers scattered across the globe.

The 2024 Australian Swim Trials are nigh upon us. After taking home nine gold medals and 21 overall from Tokyo, the Australian team will only look to grow upon their success from the 2023 World Championships. In Fukuoka, the Australian squad topped the medal table, taking home 13 gold medals and 25 overall.

Before we jump into previewing the first session, it should be noted that Swim Australia’s selection procedure has qualifying times that may be different than the Olympic Qualifying Times, colloquially referred to as the “A-cut.” Nations are free to impose harder standards, and Swim Australia opted to use “a time that is equivalent to the time that qualified eighth into the final” at the 2023 Worlds as their standard unless it was slower than the OQT.

For example, the Swim Australia standard in the women’s 100 fly is 57.17, whereas the OQT is 57.97. However, the SA standard in the men’s 100 breast is 59.49, which equals the OQT because the 8th-placed time into finals (59.50) at the 2023 Worlds was slower. That said, without further ado, let’s get to the meet.

The first preliminary session is bookended by the 400 freestyle, giving us swim fans a great big serving of star power. The women start off the meet, and we will immediately be treated with seeing Ariarne Titmus. The fastest woman ever in the event and reigning Olympic gold medalist is the top seed in the 400, entered with her World Record swim from Fukuoka of 3:55.38. While one of only a handful of swimmers in the sub 4:00 club, there is pressure behind her as Lani Pallister has an entry time of 4:01.75 and will look to place herself into a good lane tonight to hold off the likes of Kiah Melverton and Leah Neale.

While the 2023 women’s gold medalist opens the session, the men’s gold medalist closes it. Sam Short, who won gold in thrilling fashion in Fukuoka, is the top seed in the men’s 400. Entered with his winning time of 3:40.68, Short will have a target on his back, as 2024 Worlds silver medalist Elijah Winnington is seeded not too far back with a time of 3:41.22. Short and Winnington are comfortably ahead of the rest of the field and may play the prelims safe or could be targeting  Lukas Märtens‘  world-leading time of 3:40.33. The German swam that time this April and over took Short as being the fastest swimmer in the event since Sun Yang‘s 2012 performance.

Sandwiched between the two 400s are the women’s 200 IM, the men’s 100 breaststroke, and the women’s 100 butterfly, three events that are certainly not lacking in talent.

The 200 IM only ups the star power as Kaylee McKeown begins her Olympic campaign. McKeown, who swept the backstroke in Tokyo, has her sights set on the 200 IM, an event in which she was controversially disqualified in, at the 2023 Worlds. Entered with her recent Australia Record time of 2:06.99, McKeown will take the center lane this morning. Chasing after McKweon will be Jenna Forrester. Forrester, who bronze in the 400 IM in Fukuoka, also has an entry time under the Olympic Qualifying time.

The men’s 100 breaststroke is the anomaly, as it is the only event on the docket this morning with no swimmer entered in a time under the Swim Australia Qualifying Time of 59.49. Zac Stubblety-Cook and Samuel Williamson are closest, but they will have their work cut out for them if they wish to qualify in the event individually. The winner is likely to be selected regardless of time for the Medley Relay, but nothing is certain. ZSC is looking to shave .02 off his seed, while Williamson is looking for a little less than half a second but will have to worry about Joshua Yong, who is just .01 behind Williamson.

Don’t be alarmed if you see the stars and stripes in the women’s 100 fly. As the meet is open to foreign athletes (referred to as visitors and given the “(V)” tag in their entries), we will have a variety of different nations represented. American Linnea Mack is entered in the 100 fly, as is Japanese star Rikako Ikee. Ikee is the #3 seed and is likely looking to get some strong last-minute racing before Paris. Ahead of her in the seeding are Emma McKeon and Brianna Throssell. Both have been a mainstay of Australian butterflies over the past decade and McKeon, an 11-time Olympic medalist, will be looking to punch her ticket to her 3rd games. Both are entered well under the standard of 57.11, but youngsters like Alexandria Perkins and Lily Price will be looking for the upset.

Interspersed between these events, there will be the prelims of the women’s and men’s Multiclass 200 and 400 free. Swimmers in these events will be looking to make the Paralympic team, but due to the points system and quota system, will likely only find out their status at the of the meet.

WOMEN’S 400 FREE – Prelims

  • World Record – 3:55.38, Ariarne Titmus (AUS), 2023
  • Australian Record – 3:55.38, Ariarne Titmus, 2023
  • Swim Australia OQT – 4:04.98
  • 2021 Time to Final – 4:08.30, Mikayla Messer

Top 8 

  1. Ariarne Titmus (STPET) – 4:01.57
  2. Lani Pallister (GUSC) – 4:06.69
  3. Jamie Perkins (STPET) – 4:09.95
  4. Kiah Melverton (STPET) – 4:10.79
  5. Amelia Weber (STPET) – 4:12.82
  6. Leah Neale (CHAND) – 4:14.48
  7. Rebecca Jacobson (BGRAM) – 4:14.55
  8. Molly Walker (SOPE) – 4:16.88

Not give it any build-up, the Australian Trials start with the circle-seeded heats and then get progressively slower, so Ariarne Titmus was in the very first race. Titmus, who opted not to compete at the 2024 World Championships in Doha, was out fast, flipping at the 100 mark at 56.45 and under WR pace. The World Record holder kept up the pace through the halfway mark, hit the wall in 1:56.97, and, by this point, had opened up a sizeable lead on her competition. She backed off a little in the 2nd half but still put up a strong performance of 4:01.57.

The second heat saw Lani Pallister, a three-time Worlds medalist, post the second fastest time of the morning. Pallister, who won gold at the 2022 Melbourne short course Worlds in this event posted a time of 4:06.69. Outside of the top two, it was a rather slow morning; 8th place was 4:16.88, whereas three years ago, it was 4:08.30.

WOMEN’S 200 IM – Prelims

  • World Record – 2:06.12, Katinka Hosszu (HUN), 2015
  • Australian Record – 2:06.99, Kaylee McKeown, 2024
  • Swim Australia OQT – 2:10.62
  • 2021 Time to Final – 2:16.37, Blair Evans

Top 8 

  1. Ella Ramsay (CHAND) -2:10.96
  2. Kaylee McKeown (GUSC) – 2:11.98
  3. Jenna Forrester (STPET) – 2:13.44
  4. Isabella Boyd (NUN) – 2:14.37
  5. Tara Kinder (MVC) – 2:14.55
  6. Kayla Hardy (CRUIZ) – 2:16.07
  7. Sienna Harben (BOND) – 2:16.17
  8. Charli Brown (MNLY) – 2:16.19

Kaylee McKeown used a strong breaststroke leg to gain some separation on her closest competitors. The world record holder in the 100 and 200 backstroke cruised to the wall, hitting in 2:11.98. McKeon, who recently sent a new Australian record in the event of 2:06.99, was disqualified last summer in the 200 IM but swam a clean race this morning. Finishing second to her in the heat was Kayla Hardy, who finished ahead of Abbey Harkin.

Isabelle Boyd led out heat 2, as she got to the wall at the halfway mark in 1:02.35, touching .48 ahead of Jenna Forrester. Forrester, who won bronze in the 400 IM in Fukuoka, managed to pull ahead on the back half to finish in 2:13.44. Boyd, the early leader, kept up with Forrester the best she could but faded in the end to finish in 2:14.37

Ella Ramsay was in charge from the get-go in the last of the circle-seeded heats. Ramsay, who is 19 years old, finished just off her personal best of 2:10.71 as she hit the wall in 2:10.96. With the heat win, Ramsay overtook McKeown as the fastest swimmer in the heats this morning, and with just one heat remaining, they likely will be the top seed heading into tonight’s final.

Men’s Multi Class 200 Free – Prelims

Top 8 

  1.  Jack Ireland S14 (UQSC) – 1:54.75 (954 pts.)
  2.  Liam Schluter S14 (USCS) – 1:57.38 (891 pts.)
  3. Ricky Betar S14 (USCS) – 1:58.94
  4. Declan Budd S14 (KPSC) – 1:59.96
  5. Darren Sisman S14 (ENGA) – 2:00.80
  6. Samuel Gould S14 (HELEN) – 2:05.11
  7. Joshua Alford S14 (UQSC) – 2:09.85
  8. Ethan Blockey S14 (MSKV) – 2:16.58

Jack Ireland had a strong first swim of the week. The S14 athlete took it out fast and held on, finishing in 1:54.75. Ireland’s time earned him 954 points and cleared the qualifying standard, which, if he repeats the swim this evening, will put his name up for consideration for the Paralympic team. Liam Schluter touched second in the event, earning 891 points in a time of 1:57.38.

Women’s Multi Class 200 Free – Prelims

Top 8 

  1.  Ruby Storm S14 (STAND) -2:13.09 (772 pts.)
  2.  Madeleine McTernan S14 (SHARK) – 2:15.75 (728 pts.)
  3.  Jade Lucy S14 (SSST) – 2:20.20 (666 pts.)
  4. Montana Atkinson S14 (HELEN) – 2:22.62 (627 pts.)
  5. Kael Thompson S14 (SCGS) – 2:22.86 (624 pts.)
  6. Maddison Hinds S14 (HORN) – 2:23.61 (614 pts.)
  7. Gabrielle Waller S14 (CRUIZ) – 2:25.81 (587 pts.)
  8. Krystal Jessen S14 (ABTO) – 2:26.40 (580 pts.)

Much like the men’s race, Ruby Storm, a two-time paralympic medalist from Tokyo, has a strong swim to finish in 2:13.09. The result, while not a personal best or under the qualifying time, was a strong swim and earned her 772 points. Madeline McTernan was a consistent presence behind Storm over the course of the 200 and finished a little behind, hitting the wall in 2:15.75.

MEN’S 100 BREAST – Prelims

  • World Record – 56.88, Adam Peaty (GBR), 2019
  • Australian Record – 58.58, Brenton Rickard (AUS), 2009
  • Swim Australia OQT – 59.49
  • 2021 Time to Final – 1:01.84, James McKechnie

Top 8 

  1.  Sam Williamson (MVC) – 58.95
  2.  Joshua Yong (UWSC) – 1:00.12
  3.  Joshua Collett (BOND) – 1:00.57
  4.  Zac Stubblety-Cook (CHAND) – 1:00.58
  5.  Haig Buckingham (SOSC) –  1:01.02
  6.  Nash Wilkes (STHPT) – 1:01.03
  7.  Bailey Lello (CHAND) – 1:01.08
  8. Matthew Wilson (SOSC) – 1:01.30

The Tokyo gold medalist in the 200 breaststroke, Zac Stubblety-Cook, was just 4th at the turn .72 behind the earlier leader Matt Wilson, who hit the 50 wall in 28.27. However, Stubblety-Cook looked smooth as he used his trademark back half to pull through the field and claimed the heat in a time of 1.0058. Also passing Wilson in the closing meters was Buckingham, who touched second in 1:01.02. Wilson settled for third in 1:01.30 and must await the results of the remaining heats to see if he will progress into the A-Final

Samuel Williamson left nothing to chance in the 2nd circle-seeded heat. Out in 27.34, Williamson kept up his pressure on the field, swimming a new personal best of 58.95. His time easily clips the Swim Australia standard of 59.49 and puts him in good stead for tonight’s final. Williamson, who will have to repeat the feat tonight, could be chasing the nearly 15-year-old record held by Brenton Rickard at 58.58. Joshua Collett did his best to keep with Williamson but couldn’t keep up with the blistering pace, finishing 2nd in 1:00.57

Nash Wilkes, looking to move up from his 9th seed, took the 3rd heat out fast as well, as he hit the turn wall in 28.43. Joshua Yong, the 3rd seed and just one of three entries with times under 1:00, was 25 behind at the turn, but he used a strong back half to close the gap and ultimately overtake Wilkes, hitting the wall in 1:00.12. Wilkes faded after the early burst of speed, finishing 2nd in 1:01.03.

While often the weakness of the Australian men’s medley relays, Wilson’s 8th place time of 1:01.30 is more than half a second faster than what it took to qualify in 2021.

WOMEN’S 100 FLY – Prelims

  • World Record – 55.48, Sarah Sjostrom (SWE), 2016
  • Australian Record – 55.72, Emma McKeon, 2021
  • Swim Australia OQT – 57.17
  • 2021 Time to Final – 59.80, Elizabeth Dekkers

Top 8 

  1.  Emma McKeon (GUSC) – 56.75
  2.  Alexandria Perkins (USCS) – 57.10
  3.  Brianna Throssell (STPET) – 57.55
  4.  Lily Price (RACKL) – 57.98
  5.  Brittany Castelluzzo (TTG) – 58.10
  6.  Abbey Connor (USCS) – 58.15
  7.  Elizabeth Dekkers (CHAND) – 58.31
  8. Olivia Wunsch (CARL) – 58.55

One of the most decorated Olympians in Australian history, Emma McKeon, took the first heat out in 26.35. Alexandria Perkins did her best to keep the Tokyo bronze medalist honest as she pushed McKeon on the back half of the race but didn’t have enough to overtake her in the end. McKeon hit the wall in a speedy 56.75, while Perkins had to settle for a new personal best of 57.10. Third in the heat, a full second back was Brittany Castelluzzo in 58.10.

The second of three circle-seeded heats saw veteran Brianna Throssell duel it out with Lily Price. Throsell, who was entered with a time of 56.77, was less than a second off that time as she finished in 57.55.  Price was even closer to her entry time as she shadowed Throssell over the 100 and finished just a little behind at 57.98

Japanese star Rikako Ikee posted another sub-58 time as she hit the wall in 57.87. As a visiting athlete, Ikee is unable to swim in the A-final, so if she chooses to swim again, she will lead the B-final tonight. The young sprinter Olivia Wunsch was close to Ikee at the 50 but was outdueled in the last meters by Elizabeth Dekkers. Dekkers went around Wunsch to finish 2nd in 58.31, while Wunsch settled for 3rd in 58.55, setting a new PB by .07. Ikee would have placed 4th in the final, but her absence allows for Wunsch to move into the A-Final.

Men’s Multi Class 400 Free – Prelims

Top 8 

  1. Brendan Hall S9 (USCS) – 4:18.93
  2. Timothy Hodge S9 (ACUB) – 4:19.92
  3. Harrison Vig S9 (UQSC) – 4:20.30
  4. Callum Simpson S8 (FLIND) – 4:38.81
  5. Hamish Keenan S9 (PROP) – 4:49.90
  6. Daniel Rigby S9 (KPSC) – 4:50.69
  7. Liam Togher S9 (KPSC) – 5:03.38

With only seven swimmers in the event, no one had to push the pace this morning, as all were guaranteed to make the cut into tonight’s A-Final. Brendan Hall, a four-time Paralympian, put himself in a good position to make a charge to his fifth games, as he posted the fastest time of the morning, hitting the wall in 4:18.93. Hall was entered with a time of 4:14.05, but as the commentators noted, he could drop even more time should he shave his mustache.

Women’s Multi Class 400 Free – Prelims

Top 8 

  1. Lakeisha Patterson S9 (USCS) – 4:43.54 (805 pts.)
  2. Chloe Osborn S7 (ACUB) – 5:22.06 (763 pts,)
  3. Hannah Price S10 (CMBT) – 4:54.81 (719 pts.)
  4. Poppy Wilson S10 (YERPK) – 4:55.69 (712 pts.)
  5. Holly Warn S7 (STHIL) – 5:29.72 (711 pts.)
  6. Ella Jones S8 (KPD) – 5:14.90 (705 pts.)
  7. Victoria Belando Nicholson S9 (YERPK) – 4:58.92 (687 pts.)
  8. Michelle Fawer S10 (ENGA) – 5:03.29 (660 pts.)

With the withdrawal of the top seed, Lakeisha Patterson took all the focus and attention and surged to a great time of 4:43.54. Just .23 off her entry time, Patterson’s time equaled 805 points and was under the qualifying time in the S9 classification. She wasn’t alone; however, in getting under the qualifying time in the second heat, Chloe Osborn, an S7 athlete, also accomplished the feat. The battle for third behind the pair will be close as 14 points separate 3rd to 6th.

MEN’S 400 FREE – Prelims

  • World Record – 3:40.07, Paul Biedermann (GER), 2009
  • Australian Record – 3:40.08, Ian Thorpe, 2002
  • Swim Australia OQT – 3:45.43
  • 2021 Time to Final – 3:53.24, Silas Harris

Top 8 

  1.  Elijah Winnington (STPET) – 3:45.72
  2.  Samuel Short (RACKL) – 3:48.66
  3. Brendon Smith (GUSC) – 3:48.79
  4. Benjamin Goedemans (STPET) – 3:50.73
  5. Noah Millard (MLC) – 3:51.39
  6. Lachlan Walker (GUSC) – 3:52.03
  7. Silas Harris (NUN) – 3:53.06
  8. Joshua Staples (STPET) – 3:53.99

The two withdrawals in the first heat of swimmers, including the #3 seed Matthew Galea, did little to disrupt the 2023 Worlds Gold medalist, Sam Short. Out in 54.50, Short was in control of the race from the get-go. At the 200 split, Short was in command as he flipped in 1:51.55,  and was just over half a second off Paul Biedermann’s WR pace. Biedermann used as a strong back half in that 2009 race, and with little pressure on Short, the line started to get away from him. Short didn’t look pleased with his final time of 3:48.66, but with little competition in the heat and conservation of energy, Short should be much faster tonight.

The second heat was a close affair, both in competition and in its closeness to the WR. IMer, Brendon Smith proved to be a good pacer for 2022 World Champion Elijah Winnington. The pair were out much faster than Short, with Winnington hitting the 100 turn in 52.43 and Smith in 53.79. Winnington kept up the tempo through the 200 as he flipped at the halfway mark in 1:48.88, ahead of Smith’s 1:50.76.

Like with Short, Biedermann’s back half speed caught up with Winnington at the 300 turn as the Aussie started to slow down. Winnington still had turned a strong swim, as he finished in 3:45.72, just outside the qualifying time of 3:45.43 and well ahead of Short. Smith, the Tokyo Bronze medalist in the 400 IM, posted a very speedy time of 3:48.79, just .84 off his entry time.

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Peter Taylor
2 days ago

Surely the world record line in the 400m for women was incorrect. The line went at twice the pace Arnie was swimming the last 15-20 meters.

2 days ago

Ummmm…Sam Williamson went under the qual time in the heats. The article text above is incorrect.

2 days ago

Predictions for tonight –

Titmus – 3.54.90 (WR)

Mckeown – 2.06.50

Mckeon – 55.85

Sam short and Winnington both sub 3.41.

Reply to  mahmoud
2 days ago

Men’s 1 breast?

Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

Sam goes a 58.40. Being very hopeful but it might also happen.

Helk bengur
Reply to  mahmoud
2 days ago

Too exaggerated

Reply to  mahmoud
2 days ago

Doubt Titmus will go for WR at trials. I think more chances Short or Winnington breaking WR though also I wouldn’t give more than 20-25% for that to happen

Awsi Dooger
Reply to  mahmoud
2 days ago

Overs always collect around here

2 days ago

Can Elijah go 1:44 in the 200 this week? Current PB 1:45.5

Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

Yes I think so.

2 days ago

Finals programme indicates Brendan Smith has pulled out of the 400 free final.

Miss M
Reply to  Joel
2 days ago

Makes sense: he’s not making the team in the 400 free, but good to get a fast hit out on morning 1.

Stephen J Thomas
Reply to  Joel
2 days ago

Good swim by B Smith and a promising sign for his 4 IM

Southerly Buster
2 days ago

Looks like that theory about Winnington swimming better in even number years is happening again (so far). 
2022 World Champion. 2024 back in good form, fast at Doha, fast this morning.

Keep it going Elijah.

2 days ago

Do we want Winnington to break the WR? He swims better when he’s not the favourite.

Genevieve Nnaji
Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

Yes, in Paris.

Reply to  Genevieve Nnaji
2 days ago

I mean tonight. Paris would be better.

Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

But I can’t wait for another 1.5 months. I want to see a WR so badly.

Last edited 2 days ago by etsan
Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

I think that will motivate Sam.

I honestly don’t know who I want to win more out of them. I think I have to lean Sam

Reply to  Sub13
2 days ago

Winnington the 4 and Sam the 8?

JJ jfhfjg
Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

Hes not gonna break the wr. Here or in paris

2 days ago

Well, that was a nice entree.

But tonight is looking like a very tasty main course.

Reply to  Oceanian
2 days ago

Funnily enough, entree means main course in the U.S.

Reply to  BairnOwl
2 days ago

I know I sometimes whine about USA but I HATE THIS SO MUCH.

Entree is short for “entree de table” which is French for “entry to table” aka the first thing you eat as your ENTRY to the TABLE.

Reply to  Sub13
2 days ago

It’s just another thing the Americans screwed up and now insist is the correct way of doing things because they said so.

Reply to  BairnOwl
2 days ago

What do they call the entree?

Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

Usually the appetiser

Reply to  Troyy
2 days ago

Menus usually say “appetizer” for the small dish and “entree” for the main meal.