Both Cate Campbell & McKeon Go Under 53; Chalmers 52.0 In 100 Fly

Lilly King By Jack Spitser


The 2019 Australian National Championships kicked off today in South Australia, with Cate Campbell, Mitch Larkin and several other Olympic starts in the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre pool.

Although athletes are vying for national titles and bragging rights, the qualifying competition for the 2019 World Championships in Gwangju is the Australian Swimming Trials, which won’t take place until mid-June. As such, some swimmers to the tune of Emily Seebohm and Thomas Fraser-Holmes are sitting out this competition.

Men’s 100m Back – Final

  • GOLD – Mitch Larkin, 53.51
  • SILVER – William Yang, 53.59
  • BRONZE – Tristan Hollard, 54.02

Collecting a remarkable 15th national title, 25-year-old Mitch Larkin took gold in the men’s 100m backstroke tonight. The St. Peters Western athlete notched a winning time of 53.51 to beat out a charging Ravenswood swimmer in William Yang. Bobby Hurley-trained Yang hit the wall in 53.59.

Yang opened in the fastest split of the field in 25.98, but faded just a tad to hit only .08 behind Larkin. Rounding out the top 3 was Tristan Hollard who touched in 54.02.

Larkin now checks-in as the 5th fastest swimmer in the world this season, while Yang is now 7th.

2018-2019 LCM MEN 100 BACK

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Men’s 400m Free – Final

World Junior Record holder Elijah Winnington made it happen tonight in the men’s 400m freestyle, registering a big-time 3:44.68 to take his first Australian Senior National Title.

The 18-year-old Bond swimmer staked his claim on the event early, leading this morning’s heats in a sub-3:50 effort of 3:49.45 to prove he meant business. Tonight, Winnington fired off his 3:44.68 to fall just .08 shy of Mack Horton’s World Junior Record set way back in 2014.

Winnington holds the SCM World Junior Record in this event with the 3:39.17 he notched last October. His time tonight wipes out his previous LCM personal best of 3:45.98 hit at last year’s Pan Pacs Trials.

Women’s 100m Free – Final

The Australian women’s sprinting contingency was out in full force tonight, led by World Record holder Cate CampbellC1 threw down a massive 52.35 to take the women’s 100m free by almost half a second ahead of another sub-53 second swimmer in Emma McKeon.

McKeon clocked 52.84, just .04 off her own personal best of 52.80 logged at the 2016 Olympic Trials. This represents just her 3rd time under the 53-second barrier.

20-year-old St. Peters Western athlete Shayna Jack ripped a 53.20 for bronze tonight, a new PB by .20

Campbell’s time tonight checks-in as the 5th fastest of her storied career, which is saying a lot considering the 26-year-old has been under the 53 second threshold well over a dozen times.

As she is used to, C1 now tops the world rankings with her time tonight, displacing former #1 Rikako Ikee of Japan who held 52.79. Ikee is away from the pool battling leukemia.

McKeon is now situated 3rd fastest in the world, with Jack right behind in 4th. Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay prospects are stacking up to be downright frightening once World Championships come around.

2018-2019 LCM WOMEN 100 FREE

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Other finishers in the race included Brianna Throssell clocking 53.80 for 4th, marking the first time the Western Australian swimmer has been under 54 seconds in the event. Bronte Campbell settled for 5th in 53.81, while Madi Wilson notched 53.91 for 6th, also scoring a new personal best.

At the end of the session, several of these same swimmers competing in the 100m free relay, with C1 anchoring in 52.35 for Knox Pymble, McKeon anchoring in 52.84 for Griffith University, while Jack split 53.20 for St. Peters Western.

Men’s 100m Fly – Final

Leading the men’s 100 fly final was 2016 100m free Olympic champion Kyle ChalmersA true thoroughbred sprinter, Chalmers set himself up for success by taking the top seed of the morning in 52.67, leading Matthew Temple by .02.

Tonight, however, the 20-year-old Marion athlete busted out a winning effort of 52.07, collecting a new lifetime best in the process. Between the NSW Championships just last month and tonight, Chalmers, has hacked .54 off of his PB to put his name in the ring for this event on the Australian national team.

Chalmers is now 13th in the world, while Temple’s runner-up time of 52.16 is also in the top 20. Bowen Gough hit the wall in 52.78 for bronze tonight.

Women’s 100m Breast – Final

  • GOLD – Abbey Harkin, 1:07.02
  • SILVER – Jessica Hansen, 1:07.45
  • BRONZE – Jenna Strauch, 1:07.79

Jess Hansen opened with a fiery split of 31.60 tonight, but wound up fading a tad to ultimately hit the wall .43 behind winner Abbey Harkin in tonight’s women’s 100m breast.

Harkin claimed the national title in 1:07.02, her fastest by over a second, while Hansen picked up silver in 1:07.45. Also under 1:08 tonight was Jenna Strauch, who rounded out the top 3 in 1:07.79.

Hansen’s time of 1:06.91 from NSW’s keeps the 23-year-old Nunawading swimmer at #4 in the world rankings for this season, but Harkin’s effort rockets the St. Peters Western athlete to #5.

2018-2019 LCM WOMEN 100 BREAST

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Women’s 800m Free – Final

The top 3 finishers in tonight’s 800m free all went over their entry times for the event, but still put together some extremely solid swims still several weeks out from the World Championships Trials.

18-year-old Ariarne Titmus put up an especially notable performance, logging the 2nd fastest time of her young career with her gold medal-garnering 8:18.61 this evening.  That moves the St. Peters Western Commonwealth Games champion to slot #3 in this season’s world rankings.

2018-2019 LCM WOMEN 800 FREE

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Only Titmus’ 8:17.07 from last year’s Pan Pacs, where she took silver behind American icon Katie Ledecky, has been faster.

Kiah Melverton beat her season-best of 8:30.52 from the Queensland Championships with a nice 8:27.72 to snag silver this evening. Melverton took bronze in this event at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and also notched 1500m freestyle silver at Pan Pacs.

Bronze tonight went to Maddie Gough in 8:28.43, though she was slightly faster in the 8:27.44 she threw down in Marseille.

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3 years ago

Cate Campbell does not hold the 100 freestyle World Record(or any other LCM WR for that matter).

Reply to  Joe
3 years ago

Yes. I did acknowledge that she has the SCM world record. However this was LC. And when it comes to LCM WR in the 4×100 free so does Emma McKeon. I just don’t see the relevance and I think it is misleading. C1 is an absolute phenomenal swimmer without question, but the race was LCM individual … where she is not the world record holder. (By the way I think the Rio choke was sad and painful)

Reply to  Joe
3 years ago

SC perhaps should be added before World Record Holder…but she is a world record holder over the distance , and a former LC world record holder. These are not unimportant facts when talking about a swimmer.

Reply to  torchbearer
3 years ago

I’m with swimjohn, list her as former record holder or SCM record holder.

3 years ago

Surprisingly no comments on Titmus’ 8:18. Does anybody care Down Under?

Miss M
Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Has more to do with the time this article was posted than anything else – a few hours ago was literally the middle of the night! It was a good swim, with very little competition. The talk is that she is focusing on the 200/400 more than the 800.

Reply to  Miss M
3 years ago

What about her splits 4:05 – 4:13? Quite untraditional. Ledecky swam something similar 4:04 – 4:10 but it was only once at her high school freshman year at her first ever international meet and then never again. Was Ariarne just checking the state of her 400 and then simply completed the race without competition or it was an attempt to beat Wang Jianjiahe time?

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

In an interview aired during the race Titmus said she planned on going out harder using her speed as Melverton and Gough are 1500m swimmers. She mentioned that the 800m is her least favourite race because and that she tends to drift mentally during the third quarter and that’s something they’re working on. She said this is her first competition 800m since Pan Pacs because she didn’t do it at SC worlds so she’s a bit rusty on how to pace it.

Post race she seemed pleased with the time as she’s still in heavy training. She’s had some 800m races at Comm Games & Nationals, where despite winning she’s been disappointed with the times so I tend to believe… Read more »

Reply to  Laps
3 years ago

I’m not buying this “rusty” stuff. A swimmer of her caliber and experience knows how to swim one of major event in her program. 8 sec difference between first and second parts of the race is too much to explain it by “rusty” accidental miscalculation. I think it was a training exercise to go for 4:05 – 4:08 splits and to see how it will go. Ledecky does it all the time during the season for years. Last time at Nationals she made first 300 under 3min ending up with 8:11.98 So it looks to me like Titmus did same kind of exercise targeting 8:13 – 8:15. After Wang Jianjahe made recently very firm claim for being #2 in 800free… Read more »

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

“ledecky does it all the time” and there’s the point. titmus has swum the 800m far less. answered your own question

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

Yes we care, and it was exciting being there for her first 400m when something big looked like it was happening. This championships is about titles- there are no World Champ places on offer, or qualifying times to achieve…so I imagine she eased off after 400m when she had it won. The WC Qualifiers in June will be different.

3 years ago

Fast swim indeed by C1 and McKeon. But I do think it is odd to refer to C1 as world record holder as she has it in SC

3 years ago

Loretta; unlike the able bodied National Championship events the Para events are actually being contested as selection events for Worlds (plus the able bodied swimmers are contesting for University Games selection) so it would be great to have some coverage for these events/athletes. Goodness knows they certainly need it given the very poor and embarrassing understanding/coverage by the SA/Ch7 partnership this evening.

Reply to  NickW
3 years ago

NickW – I’m sure if you’ve read this site, that you know that historically we do cover para swimming. The reality is, that with the mess that selection and everything else has become in para swimming, most of our staff doesn’t have the depth of knowledge needed to cover it much beyond simply listing results – which we didn’t think would add much value above and beyond results. Unfortunately, our writers who are able to give that depth are otherwise occupied this weekend and on other assignments.

But, we will plan to do a few Para wrap-ups throughout the meet.

Thanks for reading!

3 years ago

I really would love to see Emma McKeon hone in on the 200 free and take her first individual world title this summer. She is the workhorse and the linchpin of the Australian women’s team. She’s always on when it counts.

Reply to  Aquajosh
3 years ago

She had her chance in Budapest but surprisingly together with Ledecky stopped swimming last 30 meters letting Pellegrini who was a body length behind at last turn to win the title. I smell a conspiracy 😀

3 years ago

Australian ladies fire straight back to talk of USA challenging them in the 4×100. Personally feel Australia turning up fit & healthy are still rock solid the best in the world. Winnington & Chalmers – Oz will take a lot of beating in the 4×200 at Worlds, I see them as the main threat to USA.

Reply to  Dee
3 years ago

A fully fit quartet of C1, C2, McKeon & Jack would most certainly be firm favourites for Worlds (and taking the current WR down further) and quite probably next year unless we see some significant advances from the Americans. As yet they have no-one splitting sub52 whereas AUS has two with multiple such splits (one with sub51sec). The best US current split (Manuel) at 52low is only 0.1 ahead of the AUS 3rd string (McKeon) who would be the 1st/2nd seed for nearly everyone else. Jack’s PB hints that she too could split sub53 but its most likely she will be lead-off.

Whilst I DO agree that the AUS M4X200 does look much stronger, and more reliable than in… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
3 years ago

“A fully fit” is the key term here. For each swimmer in mentioned by you quartet you can find American swimmer who has a history of successful competing against her. Even if you go with the competition by personal bests I don’t see that Australians are prohibitive favorites.

Reply to  Yozhik
3 years ago

It’s not so much about the team being fully fit as it’s about Cate being fully fit. The Australian winning time at Pan Pacs last year was still faster than the American record winning time at world’s 2017 despite the fact that C2 was missing. Her replacement was Seebohm who lead off in 54.56 more than 2 seconds slower than what C2 swam at Comm Games. The world record from Comm Games had Jack leading off in 54.03 which is now being bettered fairly consistently by Jack and Wilson with Throssell going a PB last night. The WR should be at least 1 second faster than it currently is but with C2 having undergone surgery this may have to wait.… Read more »

3 years ago

I didn’t expect such fast times in the women’s 100FS with the WC trials still more than two months away. Cate Campbell and Emma McKeon were super fast and not far away from their PB’s. The next four all went under 54 seconds with PB’s coming from Jack, Throssell and Wilson. Bronte Campbell with “only” a 53.81 did not shine by her standards but everyone knows she’s a very gutsy swimmer when it really counts. It looks like Australia is still the team to beat in the women’s 4 X100FS.

Reply to  straightblackline
3 years ago

C2 is traditionally fairly quick in season but has been “muted” in her few appearances this season. Hard to read whether its a case of her looking to peak for selection meet OR whether her shoulder issues are still a factor. Fully agree that she is a clutch performer (stronger in that regard than big sister) but it would be better to know just what her fitness situation truly is. If McKeon replicates this level in Jun, then the 2nd indiv spot is up for grabs. These times are certainly a warning shot to challengers in the 4×100 but they need to be backed up at the selecton meet and it will be interesting to see the response from the… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
3 years ago

Australia definitely looking good, seemed they have really focused on this meet for some reason. Was really surprised to see Throssell go 53.80 as well, a really good sign. Madi Wilson also returning to form 53.91

Miss M
Reply to  seans
3 years ago

Most seem to be training through. Throssell commented a few days ago that her coach had said “no taper for you”.

3 years ago

Are Cate and Emma peaking for the Australian Championships?

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Lille
3 years ago

C1 is always fast in season, don’t know about mckeon though

Reply to  Lille
3 years ago

Aussie elites often semi-taper for nationals, akin to an elite collegiate swimmer at conference.

It gets lots of press in Oz, so most sponsors expect their top athletes to turn up and put on a bit of a show even though it’s not the trials.

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

I’d say youre spot on, Togger. Love Emma McKeon but never imagined her swimming sub 53 without some substantial rest.

Reply to  Togger
3 years ago

Traditionally Nats have been the selection trials for the major intl meet (Olympics/Worlds) so you do see swimmers peak for this meet. The problem has been that all too many cannot replicate/peak again when it comes to the intl meet.

This year is actually going to be curious with Nats NOT being the selection meet; and not everyone has turned up so the depth of fields will be variable to say the least. I expect to see times to be variable with regards to international competitiveness as some ARE clearly looking at the selection meet in Jun.

Will we see some swimmers be “caught out” by peaking now but not being able to replicate when it counts ? I… Read more »

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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