McKeon Trounces Stacked 100 Free Field At Virtual Aussie C’ships


We saw one World Record go down, courtesy of Kaylee McKeown in the women’s 200m back, while an Australian national record also bit the dust at the hands of teenager Lani Pallister

However, with Australian swimmers competing at these first-ever Virtual Swimming Australia National Championships, the big guns were out in full force all around, which meant some speedy swims were registered across the men’s and women’s events through just session 1.

As a reminder, due to the coronavirus pandemic, for the first time in history, the Australian Short Course Swimming Championships are taking place virtually. Contested as 4 sessions of timed finals, the virtual competition spans Brisbane (Chandler), Sydney (Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre), Hobart (Hobart Aquatic Centre), Perth (HBF Stadium) and Melbourne (MSAC subject to COVID restrictions).

The men’s 200m back saw short course world record holder Mitch Larkin get it done in a time of 1:50.04, clearing the collective field by well over 2 and a half seconds. Spitting 53.48/56.56, Larkin was well off his WR and lifetime best of 1:45.63 from 2015, the year he became double world champion in long course. But, his 1:50.04 was enough to get it done here domestically once all results from the 5 locations were tabulated.

Griffith University’s Emma McKeon topped a stacked women’s 100m free field, punching a time of 51.17 to get to the wall over half a second ahead of the rest. Splitting 24.45/26.72, McKeon’s outing here represents the 2nd fastest time of her career, sitting only behind the 51.02 PB she put up in Budapest during season 1 of the International Swimming League (ISL).

Behind McKeon, but still finishing under the 52-second barrier, was Marion swimmer Madi WilsonWilson continues to surge in the freestyle events, successfully transitioning from backstroke, which is the discipline in which she made her first individual Olympic final at the 2016 Olympic Games.

At these championships, Wilson’s 51.74 was comprised of splits of 24.92/26.82 to render her the 2nd place finisher. Her time here crushes her previous career-best of 52.13 from the SA State Championships just this past October.

Wilson is a long course World Record holder in her own right, having swum on the women’s 4x200m free relay that punched a new mark at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju.

Of note, also in the 100m free race were two would-be ISL swimmers in Mollie O’Callaghan and Meg Harris. 16-year-old O’Callaghan of St. Peters Western dug deep to throw down a time of 52.48 for a new Aussie National Age Record while Harris placed 6th in 53.99. Look for a separate article on O’Callaghan’s swim shortly.

As for the men, sans reigning Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers who is recovering from shoulder surgery, the 100m free was on the sluggish side, with no one dipping under 47. SPW’s Jack Cartwright came out on top in 47.24, while Cameron McEvoy touched a fingernail behind in 47.34.

Cartwright’s swim is still a personal best for the 22-year-old, dropping .05 from his 47.29 logged earlier this season. This bodes well that the man is back to form after an injury-laden 2019 that rendered him out of his nation’s World Championships Trials.

The women’s 50m breast saw Southport Olympic’s Chelsea Hodges reap the only sub-30 second effort in 29.86, while Firbank’s Sam Williamson produced a time of 26.41 to get it done on the men’s side.

Although the swimmers were in different locations, a monster of a race went down in the men’s 800m free, as 17-year-old Rackley swimmer Sam Short busted out the fastest time of his career to beat the likes of Thomas Neill and Mack Horton.

Hitting the wall in a time of 7:38.97, Short laid waste to the 7:43.85 he put up at the Vorgee Brisbane Short Course meet just this past September. That time alone had bumped him up the ranks of all-time Australians, but his outing here at these Virtual Championships put him over the edge.

Short now checks-in as the fastest 17-year-old Aussie all-time in this event, adding another accolade to the freestyle ace’s ever-growing resume. More on his individual age record will be published shortly.

Nearly out-touching Short at the end was Thomas Neillwho produced a time of 7:39.04 as runner-up. Neill, who is 18 years of age, is the reigning World Junior Record holder in the 400m free, but also nailed a big-time 7:36.10 just this past September at the Queensland Short Course Championships.

With the ISL season having just wrapped up, the Australian swimmers through session 1 would have only made a dent in one event’s top 5 rankings from this meet to Budapest. If McKeon would have been able to reproduce her 51.17 100m freestyle swim from this meet to a match in Budapest, she would have tied Energy Standard’s Sarah Sjostrom as the 3rd fastest performer in the league in the event over the entire season.

Additional Winners:

  • Laura Taylor took the women’s 200m fly in a time of 2:05.75 as the only sub-2:06 swimmer. The Commonwealth Games medalist beat out Meg Bailey who hit the wall in 2:06.06, while 24-year-old 800 free relay World Record holder Brianna Throssell was 3rd in 2:06.37.
    • Of note, Tamsin Cook, the youngest swimmer on Australia’s 2016 Olympic team, was back in just her 2nd meet in the past 2+ years. She touched here in a time of 2:19.14 after having swum the 200m free at the virtual relays earlier this month.
  • The men’s 200m fly saw Matthew Temple get it done in a time of 1:52.25. That hacked a significant amount of time off of the Nunawading swimmer’s previous PB of 1:54.64 from two years ago.

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1 year ago

So at the start of the year the women’s SC 1500m Aussie record stood at 15:43.83. Gough broke it twice and now Pallister broke it again with 15:28.33 but 4 other swimmers were also below than that old mark from the start of the year in the same race: Kareena Lee, Gough, Phoebe Hines, Moesha Johnson

I guess this is what happens when women’s 1500 becomes an Olympic event?

1 year ago

4 world records in multi class as well

1 year ago

There seems to be a delay in publishing results today. 💩

Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

Nevermind. I just realised Perth is holding things up cos they did no sessions yesterday.

Corn Pop
1 year ago

Take 4 years off & enter a 200 fly . Chutzpah .

1 year ago

This meet just highlights how much the Aussies were missed during the ISL.

Some really rapid times across the board.

1 year ago

I hope they do well at the Olympics; this seems like a pattern where they do great leading up to the Olympic games and then disappoint. It would be great if they can buck that trend and do well at the games.

1 year ago

Matt temple is always improving

Last edited 1 year ago by swimfan_00
Reply to  swimfan_00
1 year ago

49.32 this morning in 100 fly. 1.3s PB as far as I can see.

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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