Day 2 of the 2014 Australian National Championships, and Pan Pac/Commonwealth Games Trials, included four Olympic event finals (the ones that matter in the Australian Selection Procedures), three for the men and one for the women.
The men saw qualifiers go on the board in the 200 free, the 400 IM, and the 100 back, while the women posted a trio in the 100 fly. The men also wrapped up the finals of the 50 fly and the women in the 50 breast.
Men 200 Free – FINALS
At still only 19 years old, Cameron McEvoy, as good as he is, is still improving, and the result was a lifetime best of 1:45.46 in the 200 free on Wednesday. McEvoy used a strong first 100 meters to build a lead over 22-year old Miami Swimming star Thomas Fraser-Holmes, who doesn’t have quite the speed of his younger competitor. Though Fraser-Holmes had a big last 50, he came up .12 seconds short in a 1:45.58 for 2nd place.
The two combined are the leaders of what could be Australia’s best 800 free relay since 2004 when they won a silver medal at the Olympics with Hackett, Thorpe, and Klim leading the way.
Coming in 3rd in the race is West Illawarra’s David McKeon in 1:46.37, which locks up both individual and relay swims for him at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacs to go with his entries in the 400;and Ned McKendry from St. Peter’s Western will round out the relay in 1:47.16.
Mack Horton, who is already qualified for the team in the 400, took 5th in 1:47.36, and Grant Herzog is 6th in 1:47.92.
Men’s 400 IM – FINALS
In his second event of the night, Thomas Fraser-Holmes secured a third swim for the summer’s big championships with a 4:10.68 that rushed him to 2nd in the world this year. That swim successfully defended his title from last year, even though he added about half-a-second.[ranking title=”2014 LCM Men 400 IM World Ranking” top=4]
Though the men’s 400 IM in Australia is a little better than the women’s (mostly because Fraser-Holmes is a medal contender), Fraser-Holmes was unchallenged throughout this 400 IM, and will be the only swimmer representing Australian men in the event for sure this summer. 2nd place went to Travis Mahoney in 4:17.39, and 3rd belonged to Jared Gilliland from Nudgee Brothers in 4:17.77, who will both have a chance at the Commonwealth Games squad as they’re under the “B” standard.
Men’s 100 Back – FINALS
More success for St. Peter’s Western at this meet, who if team scores were being tallied would likely be running away with the title. Mitch Larkin swam a 53.46 to win his first national title. That time will secure his spot in both the individual 100 backstroke and as a part of the 400 medley relays this summer, and surprisingly already puts him within half-a-second of the Australian National Record.
Joining him in the individual race, and perhaps as a prelims relay swimmer, is Ben Treffers from Burley Griffin with a 53.73 to just sneak under the “A” qualifying time. Josh Beaver of the Tigersharks will swim at the Commonwealth Games with his B standard of 53.84 should there be enough qualifying spots left on the team’s 52-swimmer roster limit, and would have a chance to qualify for Pan Pacs there.
Meanwhile, the defending champion Ashley Delaney took just 4th in 53.95, and will still be looking to earn his qualification; both he and the 5th-place finisher Bobby Hurley (54.57) added time from the semi-finals on Tuesday. Daniel Arnamnart, who was expected to defend for this team, was DQ’ed.
Women’s 100 Fly – FINALS
The women had to wait until the last non-Para race of the session to earn their first qualifiers, but they took advantage in a huge way with three women going under 58 seconds in the 100 fly final.
Alicia Coutts led the way in a 57.70 – which is not as fast as she was to win this title last year, but there was much, much more pressure on from the competition this year.
“It’s kind of like cool, it’s done, it’s like a weight off my shoulders,” Coutts said of her win and her first qualification, elaborating that she can now relax and look forward to the 50 fly on Thursday.
That pressure was coming in part from Ellen Gandy, who is swimming her first major qualification meet since switching her sporting citizenship from British to Australian. Gandy applied that pressure well, going out even with Coutts and coming back just behind her to take 2nd in 57.98. It also came from the young talented butterfly group that includes 3rd-place finisher Emma McKeon, who took a second off of her previous best time with a 57.99 for 3rd and a second summer qualification for her.
18-year old Madelin Groves took 4th in 58.40, and veteran Marieke D’Cruz (nee Guehrer) was 5th in 59.10.
18-year old Yolane Kukla, who has plateaued a bit the last 18 months after being an absolute barn-burner when she was younger, was 6th in 59.55.
Note that this race could have been even tighter, had 19-year old Brittany Elmslie not been DQ’ed in the semi-finals; she is capable of a sub-58 second swims as well.
Men’s 50 Fly – FINALS
Without Matthew Targett, this race was wide open, and a wide-open finish is what we got. Little-known 20-year old Nathaniel Romeo won his first career national championship in 23.83. That’s just a tad off of his time from the semi-finals, but both would leave him in the world’s top 10 this year.
Maybe even more of a shock is that 15-year old Kyle Chalmers swam a 24.01 – which ranks him 13th in the world. He will now have just over three years to drop four-tenths of a second in that race to get Daniel Bell’s Junior World Record – a seemingly temporary target.
Third place went to Southport’s Chris Wright in 24.07.
Women’s 50 Breast – FINALS
In the other non-qualifier final of the night, Southport’s Leiston Pickett completed a nice warmup for the 100 breaststroke, where she’ll be the top seed, by posting a 30.89 in the 50 breaststroke. That put her just ahead of Marion’s Sally Hunter and Indooroopilly’s Lorna Tonks.
The only teenager in the final was St. Peter’s Western’s Georgia Bohl in 31.34 for 4th place.
Qualifying Status After Wednesday
Note: we have pared down the definitions of these selection criteria to what will realistically happen at the meet. To read full selection criteria, click here. Note that at the Commonwealth Games, the winners of the 100 strokes and the 1-2-3-4 finishers of the 100 and 200 freestyles, not already qualified, take the same priority. For Pan Pacs, the freestylers have a higher priority. All will likely be taken with rosters of 26 men and 26 women available.
Priority 1: “SAL A Times”
Emma McKeon (200 free, 100 fly, 800 free relay)
Bronte Barratt (200 free, 800 free relay)
Ellen Gandy (100 fly)
Alicia Coutts (100 fly)
David McKeon (200, 400 free, 800 free relay)
Mack Horton (400 free)
Jordan Harrison (400 free)Christian Sprenger (200 breast)
Cameron McEvoy (200 free, 800 free relay)
Thomas Fraser-Holmes (200 free, 400 IM, 800 free relay)
Mitch Larkin (100 back, 400 medley relay)
Ben Treffers (100 back)
Priority 2: Relay Swimmers
Brittany Elmslie (200 free – for relay)
Meagen Nay (200 free – for relay)
Ned McKendry (200 free – for relay)
Priority 3: Top 3 Under “B” standard (Commonwealth Games only)
Keryn McMaster (400 IM)
Ellen Gandy (400 IM)
Jessica Penngellly (400 IM)
Meagen Nay (200 free – individual at CWG, with opportunity to qualify for PP)
Daniel Tranter (200 breast)
Josh Beaver (100 back – individual at CWG, with opportunity to qualify for PP)
Travis Mahoney (400 IM)
Jared Gilliland (400 IM)
- Cate Campbell is not taking any chances by cruising through the early rounds of the women’s 50 free; she posted a 24.13 in the semi-finals, after a 24.23 in the prelims, for the top seed. Nobody can blame her though, with an incredibly tallented field chasing her. That includes her younger sister Bronte Campbell (24.60), Mel Schlanger (24.69), the hot hand Emma McKeon (25.03), and the very-hungry-after-her-DQ Brittany Elmslie (25.04).
- In the women’s 100 backstroke semi-final, two are already under a minute, including top-seeded Olympic silver medalist Emily Seebohm, who was a 59.34. Belinda Hocking took 2nd in 59.87, and Meagen Nay is 3rd in 1:00.47. Nay would need to hold her position and drop about two-tenths in finals to guarantee qualification for the Commonwealth Games with an SAL A standard.
Multi-Class, Para-Swimming Finals
In the multi-class Para-Swimming finals, athletes are compared to the world record for the category in that event and assigned a score that determines the winner, so it’s important to keep in mind that the fastest time is not always the most impressive. A score of 1000 relates to equaling a World Record.
- In the women’s 100 freestyle, 15-year old Maddison Elliott staked her claim to the title out of the S8 class with a 1:06.14. That earned her a whopping 977 points, placing her ahead of S7 competitor, and Paralympic star, Jacqueline Freney (1:09.83 – 925 points). Both have sealed up qualifications to the Commonwealth Games with those swims. The two should have an even better race in the 100 backstroke final on Friday
- In the men’s 100 free final, Rowan Crothers broke his 2nd World Record of the meet. At just 16-years old, the Yeronga Park swimmer put in a 54.95, which broke the old S9 World Record belonging to Matthew Cowdrey in 55.30. Cowdrey took 2nd in this race in 56.02 (for 962 points), and S14 swimmer Michell Kilduff took 3rd in 55.42 (945 points).
- Kayla Clarke of the Waterworx club crushed her title-winning time from last year with a 2:33.13 in the women’s 200 IM, dominating a field that included 17-year old Amanda Fowler (2:39.17).
- Rick Pendleton of Flinders won the men’s 200 IM in 2:14.93, for a FINA score of 895 points. Swimming out of the SM 10 class, his time appears a mile faster than runner-up Matthew Levy, who as an SM7 earned 850 points for his 2:41.66.
Full, live meet results available here.