Many of the top Australians showed that they are right on track for some great performances in Rio posting some impressive times at the Australian Grand Prix in Brisbane.
The top ranked female sprinter in the world Cate Campbell recorded a 24.04 to win the women’s 50 freestyle a time that only she has gone faster than this year having posted a 23.84 at the Australian Trials. Campbell broke the Grand Prix record of 24.17, which she set in 2008.
Later in the evening she competed in a 4 x 50 freestyle relay with Shayna Jack, Madi Wilson and Brianna Throssell and split an extremely impressive 23.59.
Campbell who had to contend with serious illness, which negatively affected her performances in London four years ago knows that nothing matters until Rio, “It doesn’t really matter what I do now or in two weeks; it is what I do when it’s the Olympics,” said Campbell.
“While this is really nice and it’s a great confidence booster you can’t read too much into it.”
World Champion Bronte Campbell finished second in the event posting a 24.24.
Cameron McEvoy, who sits atop of the world rankings in the 100 freestyle took the event in a time of 48.43 setting the meet record for the second time in one day. In the prelims McEvoy broke his own competition record of 49.11 posting a 48.82 and went on to break the record once again in the final.
“I just had to focus on what I had to do and in the end the times in the heat and final were almost identical to NSW State Championships (in February),” McEvoy said.
“It’s a bit eerie but I’ll take it; I went great at NSW State and ended up backing up four or five weeks later and swam faster so I guess that’s a good sign.”
Another promising sign for the Australians heading into Rio was the performance of James Magnussen, who finished second in the 100 freestyle posting a time of 48.49. Magnussen’s time is the fastest he has swum since having shoulder surgery just over a year ago, “It has been pretty demoralizing knowing what you can do and feeling those physical limitations,” said Magnussen.
“So with my body starting to catch up with my mind it is so encouraging and gives me so much motivation for post Olympics.”
“It is getting the strength in my left arm to sit up on my stroke; I’ve got a kind of unique technique; it takes a lot of strength and energy which is partly the reason I needed the shoulder re-construction.”
“I just feel like it is sitting me back up now and just holding on longer during the race because of a better body position.”
Three more competition records were set on Saturday. Jessica Ashwood won the women’s 800 freestyle in a time of 8:21.61 breaking her own meet record of 8:33.89, which she set in 2014. Kiwi Lauren Boyle was also under the competition record hitting the wall in a time of 8:25.62.
Alicia Coutts beat the 200 IM meet record of 2:12.51 set last year by Kanako Watanabe in the prelims posting a 2:11.46. Coutts went on to break her own record in the final winning the event in a time of 2:11.18.
Mitch Larkin took the men’s 100 backstroke in a time of 53.22 beating the competition record of 53.49 set by Ryosuke Irie last year. 15 year old Leo McAlister finished third in a time of 56.18 breaking his own age group of 56.59, which he posted in March.
Although there were several meet records broken on the first day of the Grand Prix event the most impressive mark may have been set by Minna Atherton. Atherton, who is the junior world record holder in the 50 and 100 backstroke, demolished the 16 year old age record in the 200 backstroke posting a time of 2:08.00.
Atherton, who just turned 16, broke Mikkayla Sheridan‘s record of 2:09.82 by nearly two seconds. Her time was 23 one-hundredths of a second faster than her lifetime best that she put up at the Australian Trials in April.
Not to be out done 14 year old Kaylee McKeown finished third in a time of 2:09.60 breaking her own Australia age group record of 2:10.07, which she set in March.
Other winners include:
- Women’s 100 butterfly – Emma McKeon – 57.82
- Men’s 400 freestyle – David McKeon – 3:48.52
- Men’s 200 breaststroke – Matthew Wilson – 2:13.83
- Men’s 200 butterfly – David Morgan – 1:59.31
- Women’s 100 breaststroke – Taylor McKeown – 1:07.52
- Men’s 400 IM – Thomas Fraser-Holmes – 4:15.84
- Women’s 200 freestyle – Bronte Barratt – 1:56.53
Full results can be found here.
Video from the competition can be found here.