Aussie Gwangju Entries: McKeown Drops IM, McEvoy Sole 50 Swimmer

2019 FINA WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

  • All sports: Friday, July 12 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
  • Pool swimming: Sunday, July 21 – Sunday, July 28, 2019
  • The Nambu University Municipal Aquatics Center, Gwangju, Korea
  • Meet site
  • FinaTV Live Stream
  • Entry Lists

We’re gleaning the pool swimming official entry lists for the 2019 FINA World Aquatic Championships and reporting items of note. For the nation of Australia, we already called attention to the fact that Mack Horton will indeed be racing the 800m free in addition to his 400m, but a few other entries are capturing the spotlight.

For one, 18-year-old Kaylee McKeown has dropped the women’s 200m IM entry and will instead be solely focusing on her backstroke events. The USC Spartan is set to take on the 50m, 100m and 200m back events here in Gwangju, the latter of which she finished in 4th place at the 2017 edition of the World Championships when she was just 16.

The 200m IM was an event in which McKeown wowed the Aussie crowd at their World Trials, with the teen firing off a massive personal best of 2:09.94 to dip under the 2:10 threshold for the first time in her career. Entering the Trials, the younger sister of Olympic finalist Taylor McKeown held a personal best of 2:11.04 in this women’s 200m IM event, a mark clocked just the month prior.

Her 2:09.94, which took gold in the only Worlds-qualifying marker, inserted McKeown into the 4th slot among all-time Aussie performers, as well as into the 6th slot in the worldwide rankings on the season.

Schedule-wise, the women’s 200m IM falls on day 1 prelims/semi-finals, with the final taking place on day 2 in the same session as the women’s 100m back. That’s a conflict that some other swimmers such as Olympic champion Katinka Hosszu take in stride, but McKeown is trying to break out with her first senior international medal and has a huge battle to fight in the 100m back. She’s ranked 8th in the world in the sprint event but will deal with the likes of Hosszu, World Record holder Kathleen Baker and Canadian former WR holder Kylie Masse, among others.

As such, Australia will be without representation in the women’s 200m IM event in Gwangju.

Another notable Aussie outage comes in the men’s 50m freestyle event. Kyle Chalmers took the World Trials title in Australia but missed the QT en route to gold. Given the fact he’s already on the team in the 100m and 200m freestyle races, however, he most likely could have added this event to his lineup if he wanted to do so. No dice, however, as Cameron McEvoy is the sole Australian entrant in the 50m free. He carries the 17th fastest time on the entry lists in 21.92.

Finally, Bradley Woodward‘s name appears alongside the men’s 100m back and 200m back events, which raised some eyebrows given the fact he missed qualification in both events at the Aussie World Trials. Named to the Worlds roster as a medley relay swimmer, Woodward finished 3rd in the individual 100m back and 2nd in the 200m back at the Trials, well off the QT in each.

William Yang took the 100m back silver medal behind Larkin at Trials but was already named to the Aussie World University Games roster, rendering him ineligible for Worlds. Yang would end up taking 50m fly gold in Naples.

Speaking of Larkin, the Olympic medalist appears to be keeping his 200m IM entry, despite the fact he held some reservations about the arrangement of his events in Gwangju. As a refresher, already holding the Aussie 200m IM National Record with the 1:56.21 at last year’s Pan Pacific Championships, Larkin delved into entirely new territory at his nation’s Worlds Trials, registering a world #1 mark of 1:55.72.

Larkin calls the IM his ‘bit of fun’ event and said back in June, “If there wasn’t a clash I would consider it a lot more.

“To do both [backstroke and IM] I don’t want to jeopardize one. At Olympics you have to put all your eggs in one basket. If I did (both medley and backstroke) and it wasn’t the best I would look back and regret it.”

If Lark indeed stays true to the entry lists and swims the back events in addition to the 200m IM, below is how his schedule would potentially shape up assuming he’s swimming at his best. It looks doable and he has the #1 time in the 200m IM in the world by almost a second now, so for him to not swim the 200m IM would be almost a shame.

As a trial run for Tokyo, perhaps Larkin will indeed swim the IM in Gwangju and see how it impact his backstroke, but he may consider that even a gamble he doesn’t want to take.

Monday, 07/22 AM – 100 back prelim
Monday, 07/22 PM – 100 back semi-final

Tuesday, 07/23 PM – 100 back final

Wednesday, 07/24 AM – 200 IM prelim
Wednesday, 07/24 PM – 200 IM semi-final & mixed medley relay final

Thursday, 07/25 AM – 200 back prelim
Thursday, 07/25 PM – 200 IM final & 200 back semi-final

Friday, 07/26 PM – 200 back final

Sunday, 07/28 AM & PM – men’s medley relay

Additional Notable Entries for Australia:

  • Back-into-the-fold Thomas Fraser Holmes is set to swim both the 200m IM and 400m IM.
  • Both David Morgan and Matthew Temple will contest the 100m and 200m fly events.
  • Matt Wilson is entered in the 100m breast along with his 200m.

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MIKE IN DALLAS

These are interesting pieces of the larger “puzzle” for me, i.d., the overall state of Australia swimming. As I have commented elsewhere, the general trend line, I think, is still on a downward slope after London 2012. I have long seen the strength of the Aussie team expressed most clearly in terms of its various relays performances (excluding the newly added mixed relays). I think how they do in those events will pretty much reflect what we’ll see in personal performances as well.

Verram

Lets see how seriously Australia will take the mixed relays this time… particularly 4×100 free relay which is a non Olympic event.

with a return to form, Horton would be an asset in 4x200m free as well… but his swimming form has always been an enigma

Dee

His fluctuations remind me of Bronte Barratt. Could get a tired looking 1.59 in heats of an individual event, then a 1.56 relay lead off 3 days later. Recall her 1.55low PB coming from nowhere in the 2016 Olympic final.

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