Flynn Southam Enters Sub-48 Second 100 Free Territory For First Time


While the men’s 50m freestyle has been shaky for the nation of Australia in recent years, tonight’s finals at the World Championship Trials proved that the green and gold have a solid arsenal of 100m freestylers at their disposal.

A total of six finalists dipped under the 49-second threshold, giving us a glimpse into what an Aussie men’s 4x100m free relay may look like in a few weeks.

Competing on day four of the Fukuoka-deciding meet, multi-Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers fired off a warning shot of 47.44 en route to taking 1free gold. Chalmers split 22.76/24.68 to get to the wall first and establish himself as the #2 swimmer on the planet this season.

That’s the type of statement-making swim we’ve come to expect out of Chalmers, especially now that the 24-year-old ace is healthy, non-injured and not coming off a shoulder or heart surgery.

However, the runner-up in the race, 18-year-old Flynn Southam, defied most onlookers’ expectations as he chased Chalmers down the pool.

Southam wound up laying down a marker of his own in this 100m free event, stopping the clock in an impressive time of 47.77.

That not only dipped under the Swimming Australia-mandated qualification time of 47.96 needed for Fuokoka but it also hacked about a half second off of the teen’s lifetime best in this event.

Entering this competition, Southam’s career-quickest 100m freestyle rested at the 48.23 notched at the 2022 Junior Pan Pacific Championships. That garnered Southam the gold there in Hawaii, while the speedster also cleaned up the 50m free and 200m free titles at the meet.

Southam opened tonight’s race in 23.32 and closed in 24.45, starting to nip at Chalmers’ heels in the final 15m. That’s a much quicker front half than his previous 48.23 PB which saw the teen split 23.79/24.44.

His 47.77 demonstrated Southam’s mature composure this evening as he beat out seasoned racers Jack Cartwright, Matt Temple and Alex Graham. It’s the type of performance that’s been bubbling beneath the Southam surface for some time and finally broke through tonight in Melbourne.

Top 8 Men’s 100m Freestyle Finishers at 2023 Aussie World Trials

  1. Kyle Chalmers 47.44
  2. Flynn Southam 47.77
  3. Jack Cartwright 48.50
  4. Kai Taylor 48.60
  5. Matt Temple 48.82
  6. Dylan Andrea 48.94
  7. Cody Simpson 49.11
  8. Alex Graham 49.40

And, just like that, Southam becomes Australia’s 7th fastest man in history in this event.

Top 5 Australian Men’s LCM 100 Freestyle Performers All-Time

  1. Cameron McEvoy – 47.04, 2016
  2. Eamon Sullivan – 47.05, 2008
  3. Kyle Chalmers – 47.08, 2019
  4. James Magnussen – 47.10, 2012
  5. James Roberts – 47.63, 2012
  6. Matt Targett – 47.68, 2008
  7. Flynn Southam – 47.77, 2023

Last year Southam clocked times quick enough at the Australian Swimming Championships to have earned a spot on relays for the 2022 World Championships. He finished 4th in the 200m free with a time of 1:46.82, 3rd in the 100m free in 48.76 and 4th the in 50m free in 22.39.

However, it was decided Southam would bypass Budapest and instead focus entirely on the Junior Pan Pacs as well as the Commonwealth Games. At the latter competition, Southam placed 10th in the 50m free (22.60) but logged a 48.54 lead-off split to help the Aussies win men’s 4x100m free gold.

Southam indeed contested the 200m free already at this competition but fell short of individual qualification. The Bond teen logged an effort of 1:47.11 to place 5th, well off his PB of 1:46.24 registered at the Aussie Age Championships this past April. Had he produced that kind of result at this competition he would have grabbed the silver.

Nevertheless, Southam bounced back with this stellar 100m free time, settling in as the 6th best performer in the world this season.

2022-2023 LCM Men 100 Free

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8 months ago

The number of 47s so far this season is utterly insane.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
8 months ago

also the 6th fastest junior all time

1. David Popovici 46.86 2022
2. Hwang Sun-woo 47.56 2021
3. Andrei Minakov 47.57 2021
4. Kyle Chalmers 47.58 2016
5. Pan Zhanle 47.65 2022
6. Flynn Southam 47.77 2023
7. Wang Haoyu 47.79 2023
8. Kliment Kolesnikov 48.04 2018
9. Jacob Whittle 48.11 2021
10. Matheus Santana 48.25 2014

Last edited 8 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  Emily Se-Bom Lee
8 months ago

Damn whatever happened to Santana. I remember he seemed really promising

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  monsterbasher
8 months ago

yeah everyone on this list did their best junior time in the last 3 years, except for chalmers, kolesnikov and santana. chalmers reached 47 low when they turned 21, whereas santana never improved, which stands out since he’s the oldest person in this ranking.

brazil was 0.28 off winning the 4×100 free in 2017. santana’s junior trajectory suggests that he was on track to go 47 very soon after, and he was 21 in 2017, so if his career went better he could have peaked when that relay was competitive and gotten them across the line.

Last edited 8 months ago by Emily Se-Bom Lee
8 months ago

Great effort by Flynn. He’ll be a great boon to the relay this year and looks like he might be a force to be reckoned with in future (just turning 18 last week).

Reply to  Sub13
8 months ago

Popovici needs some competition and Southam is just right.

Reply to  Sub13
8 months ago

His progression from 15 onwards has been so similar to Chalmers including busting into the 47 zone not long after turning 18.

15 49.68 49.55
16 48.69 48.60
17 48.03 48.23
18 47.58 47.77

Reply to  Troyy
8 months ago

Let’s hope the progression path leads to Olympic medal in Paris….

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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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