Chalmers Clocks 1:57 200 Fly/48.2 100 Free, McKeown 2:06 200 Back At NSW


In the midst of swimming meets both small and large being cancelled or postponed around the world, the New South Wales State Open Championships are indeed taking place at Syndey Olympic Park Aquatic Center.

As we reported, special instructions regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) were published prior to the meet, including advising against competitor handshakes during medal ceremonies, as well as keeping an eye out for unwell spectators in the stands.

Also, this meet is being held against the backdrop that both the Australian Senior and Australian Age Swiming Championships previously slated for April have been cancelled. The Olympic Trials meet for June is still on at this point, but those meets mean two fewer elite competitions at which to hone in on strategy before things get serious.

Of note, at the 11th hour, St. Peters Western determined not to make the trip to these NSWs, leaving the likes of Mitch Larkin and Ariarne Titmus at home. But, there was plenty of action for those who stayed and raced, with day 1’s highlights below.

The reigning Olympic champion in the men’s 100m freestyle, Kyle Chalmers, has shown his versatility over the past few years by trying different events on for size, such as the 200m IM and the 200m fly. It was the latter race he turned some heads in tonight at SOPAC, achieving a big-time personal best of 1:57.35 to take the gold.

Entering this meet, Chalmers had only been under the 2:00 barrier one time, which was the 1:59.52 posted at a South Australian meet around this same time last year.

The Marion swimmer, however, dropped that down to a 1:58.85 during this morning’s heats before lowering it further to his winning 1:57.35 to check-in with a time that falls just oustide the top 25 performers this season. Splits for Chalmers tonight included 56.41/1:00.94.

19-year-old Bond swimmer Elijah Winnington got it done for gold in the men’s 400m free, clocking the only time under the 3:50 threshold. 3:48.69 is what the teen produced to nearly match the 3:48.68 he put up at the 2019 edition of this same meet.

Winnington is the man who topped the field in this event at the 2019 U.S. National Championships, posting a time of 3:47.39 there in Stanford.

A trio of Olympians powered their way to the top tiers of the women’s 50m fly podium, led by versatile Griffith University swimmer Emma McKeon. The 25-year-old hit a time of 25.87, a new lifetime best for the relay world record holder.

Entering this meet, McKeon had only dipped under the 26-second threshold on one other occasion, represented by her previous PB of 25.99 from this same meet 5 years ago.

Behind McKeon this evening was 200m fly Olympic finalist Brianna Throssell, who is now a world record holder as a member of Australia’s women’s 4x200m free relay from the 2019 World Championships. Throssell hit the wall in 26.32 tonight while Emily Seebohom clocked 26.93 for bronze.

Several of the same swimmers were back in action a few events later in the women’s 100m free. Olympian Cate Campbell was indeed one of the competitors, but the 27-year-old Knox Pymble athlete was charged with flinching at the start and disqualified from the race. That’s fairly ironic given the fact she pointed to the thought of a DQ as a reason for her non-medal result in Rio. You can read more about that here.

McKeon was the one to top the podium in the women’s 100m free tonight then, touching in a solid 53.00 for the NSW state title. Marion racer Madi Wilson was just over half a second behind in 53.50 for silver, while C2, Bronte Campbell, scored 55.02 for bronze.

For McKeon, her time here of 53.00 falls just .25 behind the 52.75 that garnered her the 4th place finish in the women’s 100m free event in Gwangju.

As for Wilson, her time indeed checks-in as a lifetime best, overtaking the 25-year-old’s previous PB of 53.60 posted at the 2019 World Championships Trials. In Gwangju, Wilson was a prelims swimmer on the women’s 4x100m free relay, helping the squad get a final spot and ultimately win gold. Wilson posted a relay leg of 53.90 in the morning there.

Chalmers was back in the pool for the men’s 100m freestyle, where the World Championships silver medalist from last year posted a winning effort of 48.28. That was after he already crunched a 48.27 in the morning heats, giving him lane 4 for the final.

Splits for Chalmers’ final swim include 23.27/25.01 to give him the edge over Shinri Shioura of Japan, who touched in 48.90. That’s a solid time for Shioura as well, just over 2 weeks away from the Japanese Olympic Trials.

Rounding out the top 3 was Alexander Graham of Bond who touched in 49.19, while veteran James Roberts was also under 50 in 49.64.

Chalmers already ranks 5th in the world with his 47.99 season-best offered up at the South Australian State Championships in January. Shioura was faster earlier this season as well, with a 48.77 from the Kosuke Kitajima Cup.

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Also nearing a season-best was 18-year-old World Championships silver medalist Kaylee McKeown in the women’s 200m back. McKeown owns the world’s fastest time this season with the 2:05.83 posted at the aforementioned South Australian Championships.

Tonight, splitting 1:02.62/1:03.76, McKeown threw down a quick 2:06.38, a time just outside the 2:06.32 that earned her the silver in Gwangju last year.

She topped short course world record holder in the 100m back, Minna Atherton, who punched a time tonight of 2:08.59. She owns a PB in this event of 2:06.82 from last year’s World Championships Trials and wound up 6th in Gwangju in 2:08.26.

Seebohm snagged another bronze tonight to pair with her 50m free, taking 3rd here in 2:10.12.

Additional Winners:

  • Jenna Strauch took the women’s 100m breast in 1:08.33, while Matt Wilson reaped gold in the men’s 50m breast in 27.96.
  • The women’s 400m IM saw Meg Bailey clock a time of 4:41.22 to take the title. That’s the 23-year-old’s 2nd best time ever, sitting only behind her 4:40.49 from last Novembers FINA World Cup stop in Doha.
  • Loreto Normanhurst’s William Yang hit a time of 25.12 to take 50m backstroke gold tonight. Yang is the reigning World University Games gold medalist in the 50m fly last year.

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2 years ago

Just saw that . Swimming well Old Man ! Very good signs if Olympics go ahead for these two.

Reply to  Samesame
2 years ago

Yes great swimming!!!!! These 2 seems to be swimming very well. Could Chalmers take on the 200 Free this year in a big way.

Reply to  Samesame
2 years ago

Gonna be sad for them if it doesn’t. Seems like it might be McKeon’s time to shine if the circumstances will let her …

2 years ago

Chalmers will win 100 free Tokyo 2020

Reply to  Sqimgod
2 years ago

I think Caeleb’s start is better than his

Reply to  Anny
2 years ago

Yes. We know. But Chalmers has an awesome last 25 metres

2 years ago

McKeon is becoming a bit of a monster in the 100 free.

I also noticed 15 year old Haig Buckingham inserted himself at the top of the age ranking in 50 breast with his 29.06 from the prelims.

Reply to  Troyy
2 years ago

yes- McKeon may not win international titles, but she often medals, and is invaluable across the relays…she already has 17WC medals!

Reply to  Torchbearer
2 years ago

Really hoping she gets individual gold soon.

Coach Troy’s 4IM Set
2 years ago

I thought Caeleb Dressel was impressive with his in season range… this guy is something else. Tokyo will be crazy (*knocks on wood*)

Hydro Homie
Reply to  Coach Troy’s 4IM Set
2 years ago

Are we forgetting that Dressel swam a 1:56 in season?

Gen D
Reply to  Hydro Homie
2 years ago

No, but Chalmers isn’t an established flyer like Dressel is

Hydro Homie
Reply to  Gen D
2 years ago

I understand that but I was countering their implication that Chalmer’s range is somehow more impressive because of this

Reply to  Gen D
2 years ago

Chalmers has always done fly as his 2nd stroke in non-championship meets. Has dabbled in the 100 and 200 previously. He’s just not good enough to make international teams in it.

Reply to  goggles123
2 years ago

feel confident that Chalmers could make the team in the fly this summer. But the 100 and 200 frees keep him busy enough with all the relays.

2 years ago

Swimming Australia is clearly in disarray with C1 having mental breakdowns, Jack suspended, and a general lack of depth/talent following its rockstar lineup of the 2000s/early 2010s. But if Australia can somehow keep its population healthy and everything running as normal (where other countries shut down pools, suspend training programs, etc), we might see Australia come in to Tokyo with a huge advantage, not to mention the pre-existing time zone advantage. Interesting times…

Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

I disagree that it is in disarray. They will never be as deep as the US but they have a number of strong areas right now – women’s back, men’s 200 free, Chalmers, women’s sprint free, men’s breast. I think they are doing fine.

Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

So if Australia does well, you’ll say it’s because of Corona ? Lol. Well played . Now you have a reason

Reply to  leisurely1:29
2 years ago

Well they won the overall relay medal count ahead of the US at the recent WCs, that is a pretty good indication of depth.

Swimmer A
2 years ago

I’m impressed

2 years ago

Is this on tv/interwebs anywhere? My bookie and I are bored

Reply to  coach
2 years ago


2 years ago

Have heard C1s DQ was successfuly appealed and thus reinstated to 2nd with a time of 53.05. Not shabby but to put it in context, its not unknown for her to be sub53 “in season”. McKeon is usually fairly quick “in season” but 53flat is almost certainly her best.

Sharp 200 back from McKeown Jr; hard to get a read on where Atherton may be as this is her weakest event and this is probably her first serious LCM outing. 100 will be interesting both with regards to whether McKeown can drop another sub59 after her break-out at SA and whether we see any LCM follow-on from Atherton’s break-out ISL SCM season.

Whilst Chalmers 200fly PBs are nice, its highly… 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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