2024 Australian Olympic Trials Previews: The Veterans

2024 AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TRIALS

With Australia’s Olympic Trials coming up in just a few weeks, the countdown is on to see who will qualify to represent the green and gold in Paris. The Trials will run June 10-15 at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre.

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:

  • The Locks
  • The Veterans
  • The Young Guns – Likely to Qualify
  • The Young Guns – Flying Under the Radar
  • The Battles
  • The Holes

Here we’ll take a look at some of Australia’s top Olympic veterans who will be racing at Trials to see where they stack up in the current field.

A Fifth Straight Games For Cate Campbell?

Cate Campbell is one of Australia’s most seasoned Olympic swimmers, having already competed and medaled at four separate Games. Qualifying at the Trials in June would make the Paris Games her fifth consecutive Olympics, as Campbell made her debut at Beijing 2008.

Campbell’s best individual Olympic finishes were a bronze in the 50 free in 2008 and a bronze in the 100 free in 2021, and she still holds the Australian and Commonwealth record in the 50 free (23.78) that she set back in 2018. As such, she poses a threat in the sprint free races at the upcoming Trials.

Campbell is seeded third in the 50 free, just .09 behind the second seed, and fifth in the 100 free. Her personal best times would place her in the top spot in both events, so there is significant potential for her to move up the rankings if she swims faster than her entry times.

Even if an individual qualification is not guaranteed, it is more than likely that Campbell will return to the Olympics as part of at least one relay squad this summer. Widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest relay swimmers to compete for Australia, she is a four-time Olympic relay gold medalist and has helped break two world records in relays.

Australia holds two Olympic records, the 400 free relay and 400 medley relay, that Campbell helped set at the last Olympics, and that same time in the medley also set a national record that still stands today.

Bronte Campbell Pushing to Make Fourth Olympic Roster

The other half of the renowned Olympic swimming sibling duo, Bronte Campbell is a notable veteran in her own right, competing at her first of three Games in 2012. Campbell established a name for herself in the sprint freestyle events over the years, and with three Olympic relay medals to her name, has proved herself a powerhouse on the relays.

A former world record holder and current Olympic record holder in the 400 free relay, Campbell has been a consistent presence on many of Australia’s relays for the last 12 years, where she has often raced alongside older sister Cate.

Heading into the Australian Trials, Campbell is seeded sixth in the 100 free, just behind .07 behind Cate, and fifth in the 50 free, giving her room to possibly move up the ladder for an individual qualification or earn a relay spot.

McKeon Looking to Defend Olympic Titles

As Australia’s most decorated Olympian of all time, Emma McKeon is always one to watch in the water. While she has only competed at two Olympic Games, McKeon has won more Olympic medals than any Australian in history, and in 2021 she brought home seven medals, more than any other female swimmer in a single Olympics.

The world and Olympic record holder has an impressive haul of 11 Olympic medals, including five gold, and still sits at the top of many of the Australian and world rankings.

McKeon currently holds the Australian records in both the 100 free and 100 fly, as well as the 400 free relay and 400 medley relay. So far in 2024, McKeon has swam the fastest time among Australians in the 100 fly and stands at 3rd on the national rankings in the 50 free and 4th in the 100 free.

Heading into Australian Trials, McKeon is the top seed in the 100 fly and 50 free and is the #2 seed in the 100 free, just behind Mollie O’Callaghan, who is a heavy favorite to take the top spot in the event.

Seebohm On Comeback Trail

A four-time Olympian, Emily Seebohm is another swimming veteran looking to qualify for her fifth consecutive Olympic team. On par with Cate Campbell, Seebohm made her Olympic debut in 2008 and has been a staple on the Australian Olympic team ever since.

Seebohm has medaled at every Olympics, securing her first individual medal in 2012 by taking silver in the 100 back behind American star Missy Franklin. Her next individual medal did not come until 2021 when she won bronze in the 200 back to share the podium with Australian teammate Kaylee McKeown.

Over the course of her career, Seebohm has won seven Olympic medals, 14 World Championships medals, 15 Commonwealth Games medals and 12 Pan Pacific medals. She has been a regular in the backstroke events at each Olympic Games and will look to continue that streak this summer.

Although her resume is incredibly decorated, Seebohm is on the comeback trail after giving birth in October, making it a tall order for her to return to the top of the nation, especially given the presence of McKeown and Mollie O’Callaghan.

Seebohm is the #8 seed in the 200 back and #9 seed in the 100 back heading into Trials, setting her up for more of a fight to qualify for the Paris Games.

McEvoy Sprints To Paris Amid Career Resurgence

A three-time Olympian, Cameron McEvoy is one of Australia’s top-ranked sprint freestylers. He holds the Australian records in both the 50 and 100 free, making him a notable figure to watch in the pool at Trials.

McEvoy qualified for his first Olympic team in 2012 as a relay swimmer and has since earned three bronze medals in the relay events, bringing home two in 2016 and one in 2021. While he has never medaled in an individual event at the Olympics, McEvoy’s consistency in his racing makes him a dependable teammate on the relay squads.

McEvoy was previously a versatile freestyler, making history by becoming the first male swimmer to win the 50, 100 and 200 free at the Australian National Championships in 2016.

Now in a new chapter of his career, the 30-year-old is all in on the 50 free after winning the 2023 world title and producing two of the 10 fastest swims in history over the last 11 months.

He’s also entered in the 100 free at Trials, keeping his options open to potentially vie for a spot on the 400 free relay.

Larkin Aiming for a Return to Olympic Field

Despite not appearing in the original Trials lineup, three-time Olympian Mitch Larkin will be racing at the upcoming competition and is now listed in the updated psych sheet.

Qualifying for his first Olympic team when he was just 19 years old, Larkin made it all the way to the final in the 200 back in his debut in 2012, where he placed 8th overall.

Since then, he has continued to be one of the most noteworthy Australian swimmers in the backstroke events, going on to win both events at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan and claiming a silver medal in the 200 back in Rio.

Larkin has only raced a handful of times over the last 18 months after taking nearly a full year off to recover from a shoulder injury following the 2022 Commonwealth Games. Heading into the Olympic Trials, Larkin is the #8 seed in both the 100 and 200 back, requiring him to make a bit of a jump up the rankings to qualify for the Games.

Throssell Looking to Go Three for Three

Brianna Throssell made her Olympic debut alongside McKeon in 2016, reaching the final in the 200 fly and finishing 8th overall. She repeated this result in Tokyo, but this time also brought home three Olympic medals from her relay races.

Despite having yet to win an individual Olympic medal, Throssell has racked up a number of medals for her performances at other international competitions. Throssell has been one of Australia’s top-ranked butterfliers for the last several years, consistently landing within the top two fastest times each season.

Throssell’s previous Olympic appearances have only seen her compete in the butterfly events or on relays, and she will be taking on a similar event lineup at the Australian Trials. None of her races are guaranteed qualifications, so each event is likely to be a bit of a fight to secure a spot on the Olympic roster.

Throssell is listed as the #2 seed in the 100 fly, #3 seed in the 200 fly, #8 seed in the 200 free and #9 seed in the 100 free.

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Troyy
1 month ago
Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

wow. wasn’t expecting this from bohl for at least another 4 years. boxall and spw took an extended break after tokyo. without being able to read the article in full (paywall, could you please give us the article’s text?), it could simply be a repeat of that.

kaylee seems like she can do well swimming for anyone (not to ignore the fact that her current peak coincides with her move to griffith). if she were to move, spw could be on the cards, as she considered it when she left usc. if she finds it too crowded, then rackley is probably the best alternative. lani’s best alternative is probably rackley

Troyy
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
1 month ago

Full text: https://pastebin.com/4D1PNKSQ

Kaylee says that she’s sad she didn’t move to train with him sooner.

Southerly Buster
Reply to  Troyy
1 month ago

That is big news about Bohly!

Where will Kaylee go? I wonder if Kaylee’s friendship with Mollie would be an extra reason to pick SPW.

Maybe Lani Pallister would stay at Griffith Uni to be coached by her mother.

TomDeanBoxall
1 month ago

I’m actually quite high on Bronte. Most of the interviews she’s given sounded as if she wasn’t too flustered with the calf injury and has just seemed to gone on with it. Her PB to this day came at a meet where she was also probably the most injured in her life (Comm Games 2018). She’s incredibly good at showing up in the big moments, so I wouldn’t bet against her just yet.

Stephen Thomas
1 month ago

One aspect of trials that gives these “veterans” a bit of an advantage to qualify is the heat to final format. At the big meet in Paris they will have to add the semi-final to their schedule putting added physical and mental pressure on the swimmer.

Sub13
Reply to  Stephen Thomas
1 month ago

How is that more of an advantage to these swimmers compared to all the others? I feel like trials meets without semis are generally easier for everyone

Oceanian
Reply to  Stephen Thomas
1 month ago

Veterans can probably deal with heat/semi/final format better than new kids on the block. Most of them have done it many times before.

Sub13
1 month ago

When was this written? “Trials coming up in a few weeks” they’re in 4 days lol.

Larkin very unlikely to qualify but the backstrokes are very weak so it’s possible he sneaks in if he drops some major time.

Seebohm has no chance. Even if she was able to get back close to her best the up and comers aren’t far off. With her being well off her best she’s cooked.

McEvoy guaranteed barring DQ.

Throssell guaranteed barring DQ.

5th and 6th relay spots are between the Campbells and Wunsch so one of those 3 is missing out. Unless Cate qualifies in the 50 but misses top 6 which seems very unlikely.

Emma is guaranteed to qualify. I’m hoping she… Read more »

Robbos
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

I wonder what Emma has left.
She has swam some very World Class times in the last few without actually being the best.
It was hinted by her coach that she was not going to performing at her best at the last World Championships & she was gearing herself up for the Paris Olympics.

We will find out next week if Emma has one more big Olympics in her (similar to Tokyo).

She has nothing left to prove, but I just wonder!!!!!

Stephen Thomas
Reply to  Robbos
1 month ago

Coach Bohl said right after 2023 WC Trials he had been working with Emma to manage her efforts and yes put it all on the table in the next weeks.

Robbos
Reply to  Stephen Thomas
1 month ago

Yes interesting times, we will tell next tell if she qualifies for the women’s free sprint, she automatically qualifies as one of the favourites, such is quality in Australian free sprint. Although defending the 50 free, will be a near impossibility with SS.

Love to see one last hurrah from Emma. Maybe even a shot at the 100 fly, as this is not as difficult as the 50/100 free.

Sub13
Reply to  Stephen Thomas
1 month ago

This is true but how much can you really trust that? I find it hard to believe a swimmer would put in significantly less than 100% to save themselves for a meet a year later.

I guess maybe they went somewhat easy on training last year and ramped it up this year?

Robbos
Reply to  Sub13
1 month ago

This is exactly what they mean, only time will tell.

Same as David Popovici, his coach said the same thing last year of High School, Popovici wasn’t so dedicated on training all gearing up for this year.

Joel
1 month ago

In the text it says C1 has been a part of 2 WR breaking relays. I’m sure she has been in more than 2.

Sub13
Reply to  Joel
1 month ago

10 relay and 3 individual WRs

Tracy Kosinski
1 month ago

First the Aussie trials, then American trials immediately thereafter. What a great couple of weeks we have ahead of us. American trials will be so crazy amazing and heartbreaking at the same time.

commonwombat
1 month ago

Prior to recent injury, I actually had a sneaky suspiction that C2 could finish ahead of C1 in the 100FR due to her stronger finishing but that’s most likely gone out the window.

C1 most likely finishes 5th in 100FR and therefore on the 4X100. Viable chance of individual qualification in 50FR but am leaning towards younger options.

McKeon virtually assured IN 100FLY, highly possible in 50FR. At bare minimum will be part of peak 4X100 quartet, IF her free is “firing” then would favour for 2nd 100FR spot

Seebohm ……. has done remarkably to do what she has over such a compressed timeframe but realistically, its not happening with 3 swimmers at 58.5 or below IN 100BK. 200BK is… Read more »

Oceanian
1 month ago

I can only really see Cate, Cam & Brianna making the team. The rest probably won’t. A wave of retirement stories coming in the next few weeks/months.

But – thank you for your service – to all of them.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

and emma will make it, of course

commonwombat
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Hhmm, have you some top secret info re McKeon or just an oversight ?😉

Oceanian
Reply to  commonwombat
1 month ago

oversight – oops.

But she will sadly be one of the retirement stories I mentioned.

Last edited 1 month ago by Oceanian
BairnOwl
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

I’m hoping McKeon still sticks around for a bit after Paris.

skip
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

post trials/ post paris there will be a lot of retirements.