2024 Australian Olympic Trials Previews: The Battles

2024 AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TRIALS

With the 2024 Australian Olympic Trials on the horizon, we’re looking at the different dynamics about to unfold at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre beginning on June 10th.

To qualify for the Olympic Games, swimmers must be under the qualifying standard set by Swimming Australia and place inside the top two of their event at the Trials (outside of the 100 and 200 free, where up to the top six can be named). The qualifying times put in place by Swimming Australia are faster than the Olympic qualifying times published by World Aquatics.

Rather than previewing the meet by event, we’ve opted to focus more on the storylines for the Australian Trials, with the following articles to come:

In this article, we’re taking a look at some of the races that are shaping up to be cutthroat battles, as the top spots will be highly contested based on the pedigree and recent performances of the top-ranked swimmers.

While it is never guaranteed who will slide into the Olympic spots, as a lower seed can always move up the rankings, below are a few of the races where the top couple of entrants are all bunched up, especially those closest to snagging the second spot.

Men’s 100 Breast

The Olympic spots in the men’s 100 breast will be a tight race, as the top three seeds are all separated by mere tenths, and even hundredths, of a second.

Zac Stubblety-Cook is the top seed in the event, entered with a time of 59.51, a time that is two one-hundredths shy of the Australian Qualifying Time (AQT) of 59.49.

The winner will get the Olympic nod for the medley relay anyway, but the biggest battle figures to be a race against the clock—though it’s not outside the realm of possibility that two men go under the mark.

Sam Williamson is the #2 seed, entered with a 59.82, while Joshua Yong is currently in the #3 spot with a 59.83, making this race one to watch.

While Williamson’s personal best time of 59.21 is faster than Yong’s best time of 59.83, Yong recently defeated Williamson at the Australian Open Championships. Yong threw down a time of 1:00.16 to beat out Williamson’s time of 1:00.87.

Women’s 100 Breast

Mirroring the rankings of the men’s event, the second and third spots in the women’s 100 breast are also separated by only .01.

Abbey Harkin currently sits in the #2 spot on the psych sheet with a 1:06.86, her personal best which she set at the 2023 World Championships, and just behind her is Ella Ramsay, who is entered with a 1:06.87.

Harkin and Ramsay most recently went head-to-head at the Australian Open Championships, where Harkin placed second overall with a season-best time of 1:07.71. Ramsay posted a time of 1:08.24 to take fourth.

The two will be in hot contention with each other for one of the Olympic spots, especially as they also contend with #1 seed Jenna Strauch (1:06.16).

Of course, the AQT of 1:06.31 means only the winner will go to Paris if two women aren’t under that mark.

Men’s 100 Free

The shorter sprints tend to produce the closest battles for the top spots, and the men’s 100 free lineup certainly promises to do just that at Trials.

The top two men are sub-48 coming in, with Kyle Chalmers leading the way at 47.15. Flynn Southam is ranked second in a time of 47.77, while Kai Taylor has been as fast as 48.01 this year (though he’s entered at 48.37).

With up to six swimmers making the Olympic roster in the 100 free for relay purposes, the battle for the remaining spots is sure to be just as intense. The next three swimmers on the psych sheet are nearly dead even with their entry times; William Yang is the #4 seed in 48.20, followed by Jack Cartwright and Maximillian Giuliani, both entered at 48.21.

Women’s 200 fly

The race for the second Olympic spot looks like it will be a tight one in the women’s 200 fly, as the second and third seeds are within four-tenths of each other.

Abbey Connor is currently ranked second with her personal best time of 2:06.59, while Olympic veteran Brianna Throssell is ranked just behind her with a time of 2:06.98, just narrowly off her all-time best time of 2:06.78.

Throssell’s entry time of 2:06.98 was just posted at the Australian Open, where she edged ahead of Connor, who posted a time of 2:07.20. Either way, both are comfortably under the AQT of 2:07.72.

The showdown in the event will likely be between Connor and Throssell, as 4th seed Bella Grant sits further behind with a time of 2:08.42, but there is always room for surprises at Trials.

Elizabeth Dekkers currently leads the field by a decent margin, heading into the meet with a time of 2:05.20.

Women’s 100 Free

The women’s 100 free is shaping up to be a battle to decide who will qualify for the individual event at the Olympics and who will fill the relay spots.

Mollie O’Callaghan looks to be locked in for the event, sitting in the top spot with an entry time of 52.16, but the rankings after her are tightly bunched.

Emma McKeon’s seed time of 52.52 puts her in the #2 spot, where she is closely followed by Meg Harris (52.59) and Shayna Jack (52.60). Trailing just slightly further back are Olympic veterans and famed sibling duo Cate and Bronte Campbell, who are seeded fifth (53.23) and sixth (53.30) respectively.

Youngster and reigning World Junior champion Olivia Wunsch is also a significant threat.

Women’s 50 Free

The 50 free is likely to be an even closer battle for the Olympic roster spots since the margin between competitors’ times is even smaller.

McKeon leads the pack with an entry time of 23.99, the only competitor under 24. She will be dueling for the top spot with Jack, who sits just behind McKeon as the #2 seed with a time of 24.01.

Cate Campbell will also be fighting for an Olympic roster spot; she is seeded third with a 24.10 and is trailed by Harris, who is entered with a 24.28. Wunsch is also in the mix.

Women’s 400 IM

It appears as if it will be a fight between Kiah Melverton and Ella Ramsay for the second Olympic spot in the 400 IM.

Melverton is seeded second with a time of 4:36.78, while Ramsay is the #3 seed with a time of 4:36.94.

While the 400 IM offers more opportunity for surprise upsets, Melverton and Ramsay have the smallest margin of separation among the top-ranked competitors, making them the most likely to be locked into a tough showdown in the pool.

The top seed, Jenna Forrester, sits farther ahead of Melverton with an entry time of 4:32.30, while #4 seed Kayla Hardy trails Ramsay with an entry time of 4:44.25.

Men’s 100 Fly

The men’s 100 fly promises an exciting showdown to determine who will secure the Olympic roster spots, as the top six ranked swimmers all have times in hot contention with each other.

Matt Temple is the top seed with a time of 50.60 and is the only competitor under 51 on the psych sheet, giving him a decent edge, but there are still no guarantees given the closeness of those after him.

Shaun Champion is the #2 seed with a time of 51.28, followed by Kyle Chalmers (51.61), Jesse Coleman (51.66), Ben Armbruster (51.67) and Cody Simpson (51.67).

With the top six entrants being separated by just hundredths in the seedings, this race will certainly be one to watch at Trials.

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Phil
1 month ago

Anyone knows if there will be a livestream for overseas fans ?

Sub13
Reply to  Phil
1 month ago

Livestream on 9Now. Use VPN

gitech
1 month ago

Predictions day 1:
W 400 free: titmus 3:57,4 pallister 4:00,6
W 200 im: Mckeown 2:06,85 Ramsay 2:09,3
M 100 breast: Williamson 59,0 stubletty Cook 59,6
W 100 fly: Mckeon 55,98 throssel 56,56
M 400 free: short 3:39/3:40?? Winnington 3:41

Troyy
Reply to  gitech
1 month ago

Winnington will be quicker than Short at trials because he’s tapering for the 200.

Swimmer
1 month ago

I think it’s just been announced that Michael Bohl will retire after Paris. I wonder where McKeown (and others) will go next??

Joel
Reply to  Swimmer
1 month ago

Janelle Pallister might become head coach. Along with Thomas Fraser-Holmes and a third coach (unsure who) – that would be the coaching group moving forward.

Troyy
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Is this something you’ve heard or just speculating?

Joel
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Pure speculation. I said might. Janelle has been under Bohl’s guidance for a number of years now. Fraser-Holmes has been the coach of the younger swimmers for a while too.

Troyy
Reply to  Swimmer
1 month ago

It’s a not a sure thing. He’s taking a 12 month break before deciding if he’ll retire.

dg5301
1 month ago

Williamson was really impressive in Doha. His 50 had me thinking that he must have 58 potential in the 100, which could be huge for the medley relay.

RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

Giuliani or Guiliano

Sub13
Reply to  RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

Max Giuliani is Australian.

Chris Guiliano is American. Also Guiliano appears to be a misspelled version of Giuliano lol

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

you mean chris gilliland, according to giaan rooney?

Sub13
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

Oof that is much worse misspelling of Giuliano lol

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

I hope no one will be calling Olivia wench at trials

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

hopefully neither winch nor woonsich

Last edited 1 month ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Sub13
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

Speaking of Woonsich, I hate that the women’s 50 and 100 free are the last 2 days. Get one of them out of the way early. So many swimmers probably have those as their only events.

Joel
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Shannon Rollason was happy on his podcast as it gives Bronte slightly longer to recover from her injury.

Sub13
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

Shannon Rollason also said the women’s 200 breast will be “the race of the meet” so it’s hard to take him seriously lol

KeithM
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

I remember an Aussie swimmer called Nick Ffrost from awhile back. I initially thought it was a typo or keyboard issue. Then I realized well everyone can’t have the same defective keystroke issue.

Sub13
1 month ago

All four freestyle relay events should be good battles. All four with strong medal shots.

My predictions

W100
MOC
Jack
Harris
McKeon
C Campbell
Wunsch (sorry Bronte 😭😭)

W200
MOC
Titmus
Pallister
McKeown
Throssell
Jack

M100
Chalmers
Cartwright
Yang
Taylor
Southam
Giuliani

M200
Giuliani
Winnington
Taylor
Neill
Southam
Incerti (Graham dark horse, Short will set a significant PB but can’t swim in Paris due to 800 conflict)

Troyy
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Winnington has the same problem as Short so I really wonder what his plan is. If he makes the team in both (which seems likely) will he see how he goes in the 800 heats and if he doesn’t make the final or feels like his chances in the final are poor then prioritise the 4×2?

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

Winnington isn’t doing anything in the 800. He should drop it and just do the 400. But yeah I’m not sure exactly how he’ll approach it

Robbos
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Interesting call before the trials on Winnington!!!!

Robbos
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

Yeah pretty good calls here. The most interesting will be the order of these events.

RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

I’m very interested to see who gets second in the men’s 50 and if we can finally go sub 3:40 in the men’s 4free

RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

There’s a pretty good chance that the top 4 in the women’s 100 free are all 52.3 or faster 💀💀

Not Andrew
Reply to  RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

Will top four be faster than the us winning time?
Would be funny

Meow
Reply to  Not Andrew
1 month ago

I wouldn’t be surprised.

Greg P2
Reply to  Not Andrew
1 month ago

I would say only Kate Douglass can stop the top 4/5 of the Australians girls

Robbos
Reply to  Not Andrew
1 month ago

American has some fairly decent young girls coming thru, Douglas, Huske, G Walsh, I wouldn’t write them off just yet.

JimSwim22
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Douglas, Huske, Walsh…are young?

Robbos
Reply to  JimSwim22
1 month ago

Youngish.

MadamButterfly20596
Reply to  JimSwim22
1 month ago

Walsh is older than MOC

BairnOwl
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

I feel like this is a comment from right before the 2021 Olympic Trials.

Troyy
Reply to  BairnOwl
1 month ago

There are some predictions like before 2021 Trials as well.

Andy
Reply to  RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

Calling this for the Paris relay
MOC leads off in 51.8. Shayna/Meg/Emma all split 51s. First sub 52 second relay

Joel
Reply to  Andy
1 month ago

Yes please

Dinuka
Reply to  Andy
1 month ago

Hope they will leave a place to Cate to go for unprecedented 5th consecutive medal. She will still be able to medal as a heat swimmer. But if she is to anchor in the finale it will be a remarkable finale. I thinks Aussie should use 3 different anchor leg swimmers in the relays! i. e. Cate 100 Free, Shayna Mixed Medley, Meg Medley Relay (with MOC/Kaylee/Emma)