Will the Emily Seebohm Be Pushed in the 100 Backstroke
Over the last two years Emily Seebohm has been far and away the best female 100 backstroke swimmer in the world. Seebohm has finished atop of the world rankings at the end of the last two seasons, she collected gold at both the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships in 2014 and came away from Kazan as the world champion.
Madi Wilson came into Adelaide with a best time of 58.75, which she posted en route to winning the silver medal at the World Championships in Kazan. Minna Atherton came into the Australian Championships with a lifetime best of 59.37, which she recorded at the Queensland Championships at the end of last year.
Both women still are over half a second away from Seebohm’s lifetime best of 58.23. So can either Wilson and Atherton push the world champion in the 100 backstroke? They will both have to make significant improvements in the next 48 hours if they want displace Seebohm from the top of the podium on Saturday evening.
Hackett Still Has a Shot at His Fourth Olympic Games
One of the biggest stories coming into these championships was Olympic legend Grant Hackett‘s attempt to qualify for his fourth Olympics at the age of 35. Hackett swam the 400 freestyle on the first day of competition finishing fourth and well off the Australian Olympic standard, something he admitted before the meet would be hard for him to achieve.
He now faces his final and one true shot at making the team, qualifying for the 4 x 200 freestyle relay. Hackett, who finished fourth at the 2015 Australian Championships qualifying for the relay at the 2015 World Championships, is going into the men’s semi-finals in fifth place after posting a time of 1:48.33.
Bronte Barratt Setting Herself Up to Have an Olympic Curtain Call
Bronte Barratt has had a long and successful career. Barratt qualified for the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne at the age of 18, which was the first time that she represented Australia at a major international competition. She is a two time Olympian and won Olympic gold in the 4 x 200 freestyle relay, a relay that destroyed the world record in the event.
Barratt is extremely well respected and has been part of the national team’s athlete leadership group. Before the competition started in Adelaide she announced that she will retire from the sport after Rio. It would be a great end to her swimming career if she had the opportunity to compete in her signature event at her third Olympic Games. This morning she put herself in position to do just that.
Barratt was the top qualifier in the women’s 400 freestyle posting a time of 4:07.37 in the prelims, which is under the Australian Olympic qualifying time of 4:07.58. She will have a challenge on her hands in tonight’s final as she faces Australian record holder Jessica Ashwood, Tamsin Cook and Leah Neale.