On the first evening of competition the Australians qualified six athletes in the six positions open on the Olympic team. Tonight they were just off that mark as five athletes qualified for Rio leaving one spot on the team unfilled.
The evening kicked off with Emma McKeon qualifying for her first Olympic team winning the women’s 100 butterfly in a time of 56.89. McKeon has competed in the event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships as well as the 2015 World Championships. She collected a bronze at the Commonwealth Games and finished one position away from the podium at both the Pan Pacific Championships and World Championships.
McKeon’s teammate Madeline Groves also made her first Olympic team finishing second in tonight’s final posting a time of 57.08. Alicia Coutts, who won a bronze in this event at the 2012 games, missed the team by one position hitting the wall in a time of 57.27.
Jake Packard represented Australia at a major international competition for the first time in 2014 participating in the Pan Pacific Championships on the Gold Coast. He also swam the 100 breaststroke at the World Championships in Kazan. Packard won tonight’s 100 breaststroke in a time of 59.65 a tenth of a second under the Olympic qualifying time of 59.75.
The only spot on the Olympic team that was not filled on Friday evening was the second opening in the men’s 100 breaststroke as the next fastest finisher, Joshua Palmer, recorded a time of 1:00.51.
Jessica Ashwood won the evening’s final individual event taking the women’s 400 freestyle in a time of 4:03.71. Ashwood was close to four seconds under the Olympic qualifying time of 4:07.58, earning the chance to be compete in her second Olympics in Rio. Tamsin Cook secured her Olympic berth posting a 4:06.38 to finish second.
Four of the five athletes who qualified for Rio in tonight’s finals will be competing in their first Olympic Games.