Cameron McEvoy And Olivia Wunsch Highlight First Prelims Session Of 2024 Sydney Open


  • Thursday, May 9th – Saturday, May 11th
  • Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre
  • LCM (50m)
  • Meet Central
  • Start List
  • Heats Program
  • Live Results on Meet Mobile: “2024 Sydney Open Meet”

The first preliminary session of the 2024 Sydney Open & Unisport Nationals took place this morning in Australia. A host of significant talent is descending upon the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre over the course of this 3-day meet, giving us a glimpse into athletes’ preparation for next month’s Olympic Trials.

Day 1 Event Schedule: 

  • Women’s & Men’s 400 Freestyle
  • Women’s 50 Backstroke
  • Men’s 200 Backstroke
  • Women’s 200 Butterfly
  • Men’s 100 Butterfly
  • Women’s 200 Breaststroke
  • Men’s 100 Breaststroke
  • Women’s & Men’s 50 Freestyle
  • Women’s & Men’s 200 IM

The women’s 400m free saw visiting New Zealand Olympian Erika Fairweather scratch out of the event. She has already logged a time of 3:59.44 at the Doha World Championships to rank 3rd in the world this season. She also recently won the New Zealand Olympic Trials last month, where she hit the wall in a time of 4:02.35. In her absence, New Zealand teammate Caitlin Deans (4:15.44) notched the fastest morning time. Behind Deans, 22-year-old Rebecca Jacobson (4:15.97) and rising star Ella Ramsay (4:16.02) touched in 2nd and 3rd overall for tonight’s final.

19-year-old Ramsay, who trains under veteran coach Vince Raleigh at Chandler, has been having a breakthrough over the past several months. So far this season, Ramsay has produced best times in her main four events, which makes her a multi-event threat at next month’s Olympic Trials:

  • 100 Breast – 1:07.64
  • 200 Breast – 2:24.28
  • 200 IM – 2:10.71
  • 400 IM – 4:36.94

Flynn Southam was the quickest men’s 400 freestyler of the session. He put his hand on the wall in 3:57.38 to represent as the only sub-4:00 athlete. The teen punched a time of 3:52.07 during finals of this meet last year, and that mark still stands as his lifetime best. His season best rests at the 3:52.13 that he threw down at last month’s Australian Age Championships.

18-year-old Southam is more known for his 100 and 200 free abilities, as he helped Team Australia to 4×100 free relay gold at the 2023 World Championships. He owns career bests of 47.77 and 1:46.36 in those shorter distances.

Four swimmers clocked 29.2 times in the women’s 50 back heats. Norwegian record holder Ingeborg Loeyning (29.22) leads the way into finals ahead of Gemma Cooney (29.25), Minna Atherton (29.28), and Layla Day (29.28). Atherton, who holds the short course 100m backstroke world record, owns the quickest lifetime best of the bunch. Her best stands at 27.49 from the 2016 Brisbane Sprint Championships.

25-year-old Bradley Woodward topped the men’s 200 back heats with his time of 2:00.57. He won this event at last month’s Australian Open where he finished in 1:57.67. His best time in this distance stands at 1:55.56, which he put on the books at the 2023 Japan Open. New Zealand record holder Kane Follows (2:00.89) advanced to the final ranked 2nd while Australian record holder Mitch Larkin (2:01.76) sits 5th.

19-year-old Bella Grant was the fastest 200 butterfly swimmer this morning at 2:10.30. She won silver in this event at September’s World Junior Championships. She also claimed a bronze medal in the 200 back at that same meet. Her quickest ever time 200 fly time is 2:08.42.

Chandler-trained Elizabeth Dekkers was another highlight of the women’s 200 fly prelims. She raced her way to the 2nd qualification spot with an effort of 2:11.31, and recorded splits of 29.50, 33.30. 33.92, and 34.59. At last month’s Australian Open, 19-year-old Dekkers stopped the clock at 2:05.20, a new lifetime best, to overtake her own All Comers Record of 2:05.26 from 2023. As a refresher, All Comers Records are akin to U.S. Open Records and represent the fastest time recorded on Australian soil.

2016 Olympic silver medalist Madeline Groves, who has focused on the sprint fly distances ever since those Olympic Games, recorded a time of 2:16.53 this morning. She moves through in the 6th spot for tonight’s final and split 29.03, 33.72, 35.67, and 38.11 on her four 50s. Her best time is 2:04.88 from the 2016 Olympic Final, where Spain’s Mireia Belmonte Garcia outpaced her for gold by just 0.03.

24-year-old Shaun Champion stole the show from Australian record holder Matt Temple in the 100 fly. Champion posted a marker of 52.46 with Temple (52.57), Harrison Turner (52.83), and Ben Armbruster (52.94) joining him under 53. Temple powered his way to a new Australian Record of 50.25 at last year’s Tokyo Open, which ranks #2 in the world so far this season. Abbotsleigh representative Champion posted a lifetime-best 51.28 at last month’s Australian Open.

In breaststroke action, 16-year-old Hayley MacKinder secured the top spot with her swim of 2:30.42. MacKinder has been as quick as 2:28.01 in this longer breaststroke distance, and she trains under Thomas Fraser-Holmes at Griffith University. In the men’s 100m sprint, Irish swimmer Darragh Greene (1:01.28) was fastest ahead of Bailey Lello (1:01.29), Zac Stubblety-Cook (1:01.70), and Joshua Collett (1:01.70).

World Junior Champion Olivia Wunsch staked her claim in the women’s race. She nabbed 1st during prelims with an outing of 25.01. Japan’s Rikako Ikee (25.11) sprinted to the wall 2nd overall, just ahead of 17-year-old Milla Jansen (25.20). Wunsch won the World Junior title back in September, where she scorched a best time of 24.59. Jansen set her best time of 24.86 quite recently at the Australian Age Championships.

Three-time Australian Olympian Cameron McEvoy made his presence known in the men’s 50 free heats. The 29-year-old posted a 22.09 to clear the field by four tenths. He owns the Australian record at 21.06, which he posted en route to gold at the 2023 World Championships. He recently bagged silver at the Doha World Championships in February (21.45). 16-year-old Joshua Conias also impressed with a near lifetime best of 22.49. After swimming earlier in the session, Southam (22.60) and Temple (22.91) touched 4th and 8th to qualify in a 2nd event.

18-year-old Sophie Martin was swiftest in the women’s 200 IM, as she got to the wall in a time of 2:18.51. She was the only one individual to crack the 2:20-barrier, but others will have the opportunity in tonight’s final. In the men’s race, Japan’s Daiya Seto (1:59.16) was the lone man under two minutes. Nunawading-trained William Petric (2:00.45) and New Zealand’s Lewis Clareburt (2:01.88) will look to mount a charge later today.

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2 months ago

1:58.05 for a 0.4 PB for Petric in the 200 IM. Still about 0.8 from the QT.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
2 months ago

wunsch 24.78, her fastest time outside of junior worlds. mcevoy 21.91

2 months ago

2:06.4 for Lizzie. Decent time. 2:08.9 for Bella, 0.5 off her PB

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

One ought to think she will venture into the 2:04s soon. She is a serious threat to upset one of the big 3 (for not even just bronze).

Reply to  snailSpace
2 months ago

I wouldn’t consider her medaling to be an upset at all. Zhang hasn’t been faster than Lizzie’s PB since Tokyo.

A gold would be an upset but it could happen…

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Especially where it’s Lizzie’s only race and one of the many races of Summer

2 months ago

Four second PB in the 400 free for Ramsay bodes well for her 400 IM. She’s dropped about 9 seconds so far this year.

2 months ago

Minna unfortunately looking like she won’t be a factor at trials

2 months ago

Flynn 1 second off his PB in the 400.

He is such an enigma for trials. Could cook up a 47 low or could barely scrape into the relay.

2 months ago

The article says Lizzie topped the 200 fly heats with a 2:11.30 but Meet Mobile says Bella Grant went a 2:10.30. If that’s right then Bella could be due for a PB tonight

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

Lizzie won her heat 1 but Bella beat Lizzie on time from her heat 2 win. Final will sort them out head to head tonight.

Reply to  SHRKB8
2 months ago

Either I misread the article initially or they updated it to include Bella. It is possibly the former haha. I’m a bit sick and delirious

Southerly Buster
2 months ago

Hoping to see Milla Jansen push through the 54 barrier in the 100 Free later this meet. She’s been knocking on the door lately. Also hoping Wunsch can get under her season best of 53.99 and start testing her PB of 53.71.