With no prior notice to prepare for the meet, some of Australia’s top swimmers competed in a relay meet, titled Relay Blitz, on Thursday at the Bond University Pool. The goal of the relay meet was, according to Taylor, to prepare athletes for the Olympic Games environment where they will be tired and uncomfortable. The meet was held in short course meters.
Full Relay Blitz Event Schedule
- Men’s 8x50m Free Relay
- Women’s 8x50m Free Relay
- Women’s 5x300m Free Relay
- Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay
- Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay
- Men’s 5x300m Free Relay
- Women’s 8x100m Free Relay
- Men’s 8x100m Free Relay
- Mixed 300m IM
- Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay
In the first women’s event of the day, the 8x50m free relay, Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon stood out while both serving as the 4th and 8th legs of their respective relay teams. On their first swims of the event, Campbell touched with a split of 23.16, while McKeon was just behind her in a time of 23.45. Also dipping below 24 on her relay split was Madi Wilson, who touched in 23.88.
Campbell had to say of the opportunity to compete:
“It feels great. Most of us have really, really missed competing. It’s that little bit extra that keeps you motivated throughout the year. To be able to stand up and see where you are this early in the season on short notice is a nice surprise. Expect the unexpected. We have had things thrown at us and it is about adapting and coping. It’s a wonderful initiative and a great opportunity to get some friendly rivalry within the team and it makes everyone excited looking forward to Tokyo. As long as the Olympics are on, that is all we care about. If there is a swimming pool, a starting block and a starter, that’s honestly all we need. I think the world will need an Olympics after the couple of years we’ve had.”
Another unique event that took place during the meet was the 5x300m freestyle relay however, instead of a team swimming the event, all five of the legs were swum by the same athlete. Each 300 was on an interval of 4:30, making the event a broken 1500m race.
The 400 medley relays featured a trio of fast swims from Mitch Larkin, Kaylee McKeown, and Emma McKeon. Larkin led off one of the men’s relays, finishing with the fastest backstroke time of 51.61. His time was only just over a second off of his best, a 50.48 from a virtual meet last fall.
Joining Larkin with an impressive backstroke leg was Kaylee McKeown. McKeown beat out the current world record holder in the event, Mina Atherton, to finish with the fastest time of 56.47. That time is less than a second off of her 55.68 from last fall, which stands as the second-fastest time in the world currently. McKeown was recognized as SwimSwam’s Female Swimmer of the Year for 2020.
McKeon rounded out the impressive swims from the 400 medley relay with a 55.00 fly leg. She later added a 55.29 split in the 100 fly as part of a mixed 400 medley relay.
The entire meet video can be found here.