2024 Australian Open Championships: Day 2 Prelims Live Recap

2024 AUSTRALIAN OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Good morning (or evening for international viewers), it’s day two of the 2024 Australian Open Championships.

As a reminder, this meet is NOT a selection meet for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Most elite-level swimmers will use this meet as a tune-up for the Olympic Trials, which are scheduled to take place from June 10-15 at the Brisbane Aquatic Center.

This morning’s prelim session will include the women’s 400 IM, men’s 200 freestyle, women’s 100 backstroke, women’s 50 freestyle, men’s 200 breaststroke, women’s 200 butterfly, men’s 50 backstroke, and women’s 100 breaststroke.

WOMEN’S 400 IM — HEATS

  • World Record — 4:25.87, Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • Australian Record — 4:29.45, Stephanie Rice (2008)
  • Commonwealth Record — 4:25.87, Summer McIntosh (2023)
  • Australian Olympic Qualifying Time — 4:38.53

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Kaylee McKeown (GUSC) – 4:42.07
  2. Ella Ramsay (CHAND) – 4:46.15
  3. Tara Kinder (MVC) – 4:46.50
  4. Kiah Melverton (STPET) – 4:46.67
  5. Jenna Forrester (STPET) – 4:49.88
  6. Kayla Hardy (CRUIZ) – 4:51.39
  7. Lucy Dring (SCGS) – 4:52.40
  8. Xiandi Chua (PHI) – 4:53.51
  9. Jacinta Essam (ACUB) – 4:53.68
  10. Tiana Kritzinger (RACKL) – 4:54.55

Kaylee McKeown was the class of the 400 IM field this morning at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre. She won the first heat by nearly over 4 seconds in 4:42.07, which held up for the fastest morning.

The multi-Olympic gold medalist crushed a 4:31.68 at the Sydney Open last May, which sliced .07 off her previous career-quickest outing of 4:31.74 from the 2022 Australian Championships. Keep an eye on that marker during tonight’s final. In yesterday’s 200 IM, McKeown broke Stephanie Rice’s legendary 200 IM national record to become the 5th fastest performer in history.

It was 19-year-old Ella Ramsay who won heat two in 4:46.15, which was the 2nd quickest time of the morning. The Chandler representative sprinted to a new lifetime best in yesterday’s 200 IM final (2:10.71) to place 2nd behind McKeown. She has been as quick as 4:39.51 in this 400m IM distance, which she notched at the Japan Open last December. Ramsay trains under the guidance of veteran coach Vince Raleigh, and his training group is coming off a lengthy altitude training camp over in the United States.

20-year-old Jenna Forrester’s underwater skills were on full display in the second heat. Her 1:10.60 backstroke split was a clear highlight, and she ultimately earned the 5th seed for tonight’s final with a time of 4:49.88. At the 2023 World Championships, Forrester peaked at the right time to earn a silver medal in this distance with a massive lifetime-best of 4:32.30.

St. Peters’ Forrester was 6th overall in Wednesday’s 200 IM final, where she finished in 2:16.45, nearly eight seconds off her personal best time from July. She was 4th in the 200 IM at the Fukuoka World Championships where she hit the wall in a new best time of 2:08.98.

Former relay world record holder Kiah Melverton booked her ticket to the final. She finished in 4:46.67 this morning to qualify in 4th position. Her best time still stands at the 4:36.78 that she logged en route to silver at the 2022 Commonwealth Games. At last year’s World Championship meet, she finished 13th overall in 4:41.96.

MEN’S 200 FREESTYLE – HEATS

  • World Record — 1:42.00, Paul Biedermann (2009)
  • Australian Record — 1:44.06, Ian Thorpe (2001)
  • Commonwealth Record — 1:44.06, Ian Thorpe (2001)
  • Australian Olympic Qualifying Time — 1:45.97

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Elijah Winnington (STPET) – 1:46.08
  2. Thomas Neill (RACKL) – 1:46.75
  3. Maximillian Giuliani (MIAMI) – 1:46.88
  4. Woomin Kim (KOR) – 1:46.93
  5. Kai Taylor (STPET) – 1:47.06
  6. Zac Incerti (USCS) – 1:47.52
  7. Alexander Graham (MIAMI) – 1:47.66
  8. Flynn Southam (BOND) – 1:48.62
  9. Jack Cartwright (STPET) – 1:49.12
  10. Noah Millard (MOC) – 1:49.74

Dean Boxall-coached swimmer Elijah Winnington (1:46.08) will walk away from the men’s 200 freestyle prelims with the fastest time. The 23-year-old stopped the clock in 1:46.08 to win the first heat, and he split 51.87/54.21 en route to victory. Winnington won the men’s 400 freestyle last night in the fastest time in the world so far this season.

Winnington’s training partner, 20-year-old Kai Taylor, punched a time of 1:47.06 to sit in 5th position. In last night’s 4×200 free relay, Taylor checked-in with a near best time of 1:45.89 leading off the St. Peters Western squad. What was significant about that swim wasn’t really the final time, but rather how he swam it. Known for going out fast in this particular race, he showcased a brand new strategy by splitting 53.36 at the first 100 before closing in a mind-boggling 52.53. His splits from that race included 25.29 on the first 50, 28.07 on the 2nd, 26.31 on the 3rd, and 26.22 on the way home. His career-best stands at 1:45.79, which he put on the books at the 2023 World Championships, so keep an eye on the clock tonight.

The next fastest time of the morning came from Rackey’s Thomas Neill, who finished with a time of 1:46.75. The Damien Jones-trained swimmer opened in 51.89 before closing in 54.86. Maximillian Giuliani, who scorched a big-time 1:44.79 in December, put his hand on the wall in 1:46.88 to advance in 4th place. Korean World Champion Kim Woomin was the only other swimmer under 1:47 this morning in 1:46.88. Kim earned the status of World Champion via his 1st place finish in the 400m free at February’s Doha competition.

Jack Cartwright, who has steered away from this 200m distance since battling injury in 2019, qualified himself for the A-final with a time of 1:49.12. He has been as fast as 1:46.38 back in 2018. Relay mainstays Zac Incerti (1:47.52) and Alexander Graham (1:47.66) also safely qualified.

Australia’s depth chart has really skyrocketed in this 200m distance over the past season, particularly with the rise of Guiliani (1:44.79 at December’s Queensland Championships), improvements of Taylor (1:45.79 best time from 2023 Worlds), and the return to form of Neill (1:45.78 near best time in December). Winnington and Kyle Chalmers have been mainstays on the national scene with veterans Graham and Incerti also being contenders come Trials. It can’t go without mentioning that Clyde Lewis, who recently rejoined the St. Peters Western squad to reunite with Dean Boxall, has been a sizzling 1:44.90 back in 2019.

Yesterday’s 50m fly gold medalist, Kyle Chalmers, did not show up for his heat.

WOMEN’S 100 BACKSTROKE – HEATS

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Iona Anderson (BRW) – 59.78
  2. Mollie O’Callaghan (STPET) – 59.90
  3. Bronte Job (RACKL) – 1:00.38
  4. Hannah Fredericks (STPET) – 1:00.50
  5. Jaclyn Barclay (STPET) – 1:00.70
  6. Emily Seebohm (STMAR) – 1:01.32
  7. Stephanie Au (HKG) – 1:01.34
  8. Laticia Transom (NZL) – 1:01.53
  9. Ingeborg Loeyning (NOR) – 1:01.82
  10. Olivia Lefoe (NUN) – 1:01.86

2024 World Championships silver medalist Iona Anderson (59.78) was the fastest female backstroker in the field this morning. She opened the first 50 meters of her heat in 29.09 before busting out a 30.69 closing 50 split. Fellow rising backstroker star Jaclyn Barclay (1:00.70), who bagged gold at the World Junior Championships back in September, earned 5th place status.

Mollie O’Callaghan, who holds the world record in the 200 free, qualified 2nd for the final with a time of 59.90. She recorded splits of 29.11/30.79 during her swim. She owns a best time of 58.42 in the event, which she recorded on two occasions during the 2023 season. O’Callaghan won the 100 free last night in 52.27, which checked-in as the 3rd fastest time in the world so far this season.

Rackley’s Bronte Job (1:00.38) and St. Peters Western’s Hannah Fredericks (1:00.50) produced swims in the 60-second realm to move through in 3rd and 4th. New mom Emily Seebohm, who has amassed seven Olympic medals throughout his illustrious career, clocked-in at 1:01.32 for the 6th fastest effort of the morning session.

23-year-old Minna Atherton, who holds the short course world record in this event, missed the A-final in 15th place (1:02.87). She won silver in this event at the 2019 World Championships and has since moved to train under the tutelage of Chris Mooney at Bond.

World record holder Kaylee McKeown did not show up for her heat this morning. She set the world record in this 100m backstroke at the Budapest World Cup stop last October (57.33), and has since posted marks of 57.79 (Queensland Championships in December) and 57.57 (NSW Championships in March) so far this season. She is the reigning Olympic Champion in this event and won the World title at the 2023 Fukuoka Championships.

WOMEN’S 50 FREESTYLE – HEATS

  • World Record — Sarah Sjostrom, 23.61 (2023)
  • Australian Record — Cate Campbell, 23.78 (2018)
  • Commonwealth Record — Cate Campbell, 23.78 (2018)
  • Australian Olympic Qualifying Time — 24.67

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Shayna Jack (STPET) – 24.21
  2. Meg Harris (RACKL) – 24.42
  3. Cate Campbell (CHAND) – 24.59
  4. Mollie O’Callaghan (STPET) – 24.74
  5. Emma McKeon (GUSC) – 24.96
  6. Neza Klancar (SVN) – 24.98
  7. Milla Jansen (BOND) – 25.12
  8. Alexandria Perkins (USCS) – 25.14
  9. Rikako Ikee (JPN) – 25.31
  10. Mia O’Leary (BOND) – 25.59

The women’s 50 free heats were quite deep as five Australian swimmers notched sub-25 second swims. Slovenian Neza Klancar made it six with her 24.98 performance.

Shayna Jack, 25, was the fastest in the pool this morning at 24.21. The St. Peter’s Western swimmer has been mighty consistent in this event over the past two years. At the 2023 World Championships, she swam 24.01, 24.02, and 24.10 in the three rounds and collected silver in the final. Her season best time rests at a similar mark of 24.09, and she looks to be on the cusp of breaking 24-seconds sometime this calendar year. Jack won the event at this meet last year in a time of 24.45. Jack was 4th in the 100 freestyle (53.20) final yesterday.

22-year-old Meg Harris was the 2nd fastest qualifier into tonight’s final, courtesy of her 24.42 clocking. Harris is off to a great start here on the Gold Coast, as she made a statement in yesterday’s 100m distance. She took down defending World Champion Mollie O’Callaghan in the heats with a massive best of 52.60 before placing 2nd in the final (52.59).

Harris, who scored bronze at the 2022 World Championships in the one-lap sprint, owns a best time of 24.30 from last June’s World Championship Trials. She garnered a silver medal at the 2022 Commonwealth Games with a similar performance of 24.32.

Cate Campbell, who holds the Australian record in this event, was 3rd overall in 24.59. She’s been a very swift 24.10 so far this season. 100 and 200 free World Champion Mollie O’Callaghan wasn’t far behind with a 24.74, about two tenths off her best time (24.52) from the 2022 Australian Championships.

Reigning Olympic Champion Emma McKeon was the fifth swimmer under 25 seconds. She sprinted to a final result of 24.96 to ensure a ticket to tonight’s final. The 29-year-old’s lifetime best (23.81) is just a blink off the Aussie national record (23.78).

MEN’S 200 BREASTSTROKE – HEATS

  • World Record – 2:05.48, Qin Haiyang (2023)
  • Australian Record – 2:05.95, Zac Stubblety-Cook (2022)
  • Commonwealth Record – 2:05.95, Zac Stubblety-Cook (2022)
  • Australian Olympic Qualifying Time — 2:09.50

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Ippei Watanabe (JPN) – 2:09.65
  2. Zac Stubblety-Cook (CHAND) – 2:10.09
  3. Daiya Seto (JPN) – 2:11.25
  4. Matthew Wilson (SOSC) – 2:11.42
  5. Joshua Yong (UWSC) – 2:11.95
  6. Bailey Lello (CHAND) – 2:12.92
  7. Adam Selwood (PROP) – 2:13.43
  8. William Petric (NUN) – 2:13.69
  9. Angus Menzies (KPSC) – 2:15.25
  10. Junhao Chan (SGP) – 2:15.68

Three former world record holders in this 200m breaststroke event will feature in tonight’s championship final: Ippei Watanabe, Zac Stubblety-Cook, and Matthew Wilson.

Watanabe (2:09.65) was the fastest of the bunch this morning, and he split 1:02.38/1:07.27 en route to winning the 2nd heat. Watanabe recently won the Japanese Olympic Trials in the 200m breaststroke, where he produced a world-leading time of 2:06.94.

Reigning Olympic champion Stubblety-Cook (2:10.09) easily took the win in heat one, punching a morning time of 2:10.09. He is the defending champion from this meet a year ago where he swam a time of 2:09.03. ZSC already won the men’s 100m breast here on the Gold Coast (59.85).

400 IM specialist Daiya Seto (2:11.25) dabbled in some breaststroke action this morning. The 29-year-old touched 7th in yesterday’s 100m final (1:00.96) and advanced through 3rd in this longer distance.

Wilson checked-in at 2:11.42 for 4th overall in the heats. At last month’s New South Wales Championships, Wilson showed a return-to-form of sorts. He posted a new career best in the 50 breast (27.30) in addition to marks of 1:00.69 and 2:09.87 in the 100 and 200m distances. He was a slightly slower 1:01.04 in yesterday’s 100m final.

22-year-old Joshua Yong (2:11.95) was less than three tenths off his best time (2:11.69) to qualify 5th overall.

WOMEN’S 200 BUTTERFLY – HEATS

  • World Record – 2:01.81, Liu Zige, China (2009)
  • Australian Record – 2:03.41, Jessicah Schipper (2009)
  • Commonwealth Record – 2:03.41, Jessicah Schipper (2009)
  • Australian Olympic Qualifying Time — 2:07.72

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Elizabeth Dekkers (CHAND) – 2:07.85
  2. Abbey Connor (USCS) – 2:08.09
  3. Bella Grant (TRGR) – 2:09.33
  4. Laura Taylor (CHAND) – 2:11.21
  5. Brittany Castelluzzo (TTG) – 2:11.92
  6. Lucy Dring (SCGS) – 2:13.41
  7. Jacqueline Davison-McGovern (STPET) – 2:15.20
  8. Amber Clark (NUSW) – 2:17.13
  9. Gemma Cooney (BGRAM) – 2:17.35
  10. Lily Price (RACKL) – 2:19.55

Chandler-trained Elizabeth Dekkers, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, produced the fastest 200m fly prelim time. She put her hands on the wall in 2:07.85 to undercut her heat time from last year by over a second (2:08.83).

Dekkers owns a lifetime best of 2:05.26 from the 2023 World Championship Trials. She backed up that time a month later at the Fukuoka World Championships, where she walked away with a silver medal-winning effort of 2:05.46.

Abbey Connor touched in 2:08.09 for the 2nd seed while Bella Grant (2:09.33), Laura Taylor (2:11.21), and Brittany Castelluzzo (2:11.92) were 3rd through 5th. At last month’s New South Wales Championships, Connor ripped a big-time personal best (2:06.59) en route to capturing gold. Connor’s swim from that competition elevated her to the 9th-best Australian 200m fly performer in history. Grant and Castelluzzo tied at 2:09.34 for 2nd behind Connor last month, so Grant’s prelim time today undercut her March effort by 0.01.

When Connors set the previously mentioned best time, she opened in 1:00.72 and brought it home in 1:05.87. This morning, Connor split a much more controlled 1:03.53 over the first 100 before roaring home in 1:04.56. She notably clocked 31.96 on the third 50 during today’s heat.

24-year-old Taylor, who won silver in this race at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, has been as fast as 2:06.80 in her career.

MEN’S 50 BACKSTROKE — HEATS

  • World Record — 23.55, Kliment Kolesnikov (2023)
  • Australian Record — 24.12, Isaac Cooper (2023)
  • Commonwealth Record — 24.04, Liam Tancock (2009)

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Ben Armbruster (BOND) – 25.08
  2. Mark Nikolaev (SOMGC) – 25.31
  3. Lewis Blackburn (STAND) – 25.46
  4. Juho Lee (KOR) – 25.74
  5. Toby Peknice (KPSC) – 25.82
  6. Tom Wyatt (BRW) – 25.97
  7. Kalani Ireland (SOMAQ) – 26.04
  8. James Bayliss (CHAND) – 26.05
  9. Kai Van Kool (SOMGC) – 26.09
  10. Tane Bidois (KPSC) – 26.12

Defending champion Ben Armbruster busted out a winning time of 25.08 in the first heat. It was not only faster than his winning time from last year (25.27), but it also undercut his previous career-best performance of 25.10. The 21-year-old Bond swimmer notched 25.40 at last month’s NSW Championships, so the progression from just one month ago should be a confidence booster.

Five additional athletes joined Armbruster under 26-seconds: Mark Nikolaev (25.31), Lewis Blackburn (25.46), Juho Lee (25.74), Toby Peknice (25.82), and Tom Wyatt (25.97). 29-year-old Lee won the 200 back on Wednesday with a time of 1:56.97.

There were two notable individuals that missed the A-final: Mitch Larkin (11th — 26.13) and Bradley Woodward (12th — 26.21). Larkin holds the Australian records in both the 100 and 200m backstrokes while Woodward has been Australia’s most consistent multi-distance backstroker since the 2022.

2024 World Champion and Australian Record holder Isaac Cooper did not enter this event.

WOMEN’S 100 BREASTSTROKE — HEATS

  • World Record — 1:04.13, Lilly King (2017)
  • Australian Record — 1:05.09, Leisel Jones (2006)
  • Commonwealth Record — 1:04.82, Tatjana Schoenmaker (2021)
  • Australian Olympic Qualifying Time — 1:06.31

Top 10 Qualifiers:

  1. Abbey Harkin (STPET) – 1:07.61
  2. Jenna Strauch (MIAMI) – 1:07.79
  3. Matilda Smith (MIAMI) – 1:08.29
  4. Ella Ramsay (CHAND) – 1:08.45
  5. Sienna Toohey (ALBU) – 1:09.31
  6. Mikayla Smith (GUSC) – 1:09.67
  7. Zoe Deacon (NUN) – 1:09.83
  8. Emily Nobbs (CRUIZ) – 1:10.03
  9. Talara-Jade Dixon (SHILD) – 1:10.07
  10. Sally Hunter (CAQ) & Isabelle Rae (ALBU) – 1:10.27

In the opening heat of the women’s 100 breast, Abbey Harkin took control early. She glided into the 50m turn at 32.01 before finishing in 35.60 over the final lap. Her cumulative time of 1:07.61 held up for the quickest outing of the session. She is the defending champion in this race from last year and is already faster than her 2023 winning effort of 1:07.77.

Jenna Strauch proved to be too fast for the rest of heat two. She opened in 32.18 through the first half before increasing the tempo over the closing meters. She finished with the 2nd fastest time of the morning (1:07.79).

Strauch’s training partner at Miami, Matilda Smith, staked her claim on the third heat.After qualifying 2nd in the women’s 400 IM to open the morning, Chandler’s Ella Ramsay (1:08.45) settled for runner-up in the heat. Ramsay’s been as quick as 1:07.64 at the 2023 Queensland Championships.

Rising star Sienna Toohey, just 15, sits in 5th place with her 1:09.31. She posted a best time of 1:07.72 just last week to put Leisel Jones’ 24-year-old age group record (1:07.49) on notice.

39-year-old Sally Hunter tied with 15-year-old Isabelle Rae for 10th in 1:10.27, meaning a swim-off will be required. Yesterday, Hunter won bronze in the 50m breast distance where she shared the podium with 15-year-old Toohey. You can read more about that story here.

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Brownish
1 month ago

Sean,
As I see Sally Hunter also swam 1:10.27.
Yesterday together with a 15 years old girl on the podium, today a swim-off?

Last edited 1 month ago by Brownish
Swimmun’ Folx
1 month ago

Going to be some fast times in finals!

Daniel
1 month ago

Key race this… 1:06 tonight would be good.

Daniel
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

Solid heat by Harkin.

commonwombat
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

Would like to see it, would not care to bet the farm on it happening.

STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
1 month ago

For someone who can go 3.41 in the 400FS, Winnington’s PB of 1.45.5 in the 200FS looks relatively slow. He’s looking sharp here so a high 1.44 or low 1.45 in the final is possible.

commonwombat
Reply to  STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
1 month ago

His 100 is non competitive. Think its a case that 400 is his sweet spot with 200 & 800 either side being good but not quite intl elite.

Robbos
Reply to  STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
1 month ago

Let’s hope he does it tonight!!!!!

Oceanian
1 month ago

Ummm… no Shane..

The 50 Back is not an event on the Olympic programme *smh*

Torchbearer
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

He only said it ten times!!!

commonwombat
Reply to  Oceanian
1 month ago

Perhaps some kind folks should take Shane and Kate along to the nearest watering hole and “shout” them a good old fashioned liquid lunch …. and afternoon tea for that matter !🍺 🍸 Hopefully when 6pm comes around they’d both be under the table/sleeping it off ….. and those tuning in be actually treated to commentary that is actually accurate.

Perhaps we should take up a collection ?

RealCrocker5040
1 month ago

WinningTON is on fire

Mako
1 month ago

Nice prelims time from Dekkers.

Danpitameyer
Reply to  Mako
1 month ago

Love her!!!

Daniel
1 month ago

Connor’s 3rd 50 was huge.

Daniel
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

Out in 1:03.50, back in 1:04.50.

Robbos
Reply to  Daniel
1 month ago

She just exploded, thinking she has more to give tonight.