Melverton Makes Australian History On Day 1 Of Pan Pac Trials

2018 AUSTRALIAN PAN PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIP TRIALS

Night 1 of the 2018 Australian Pan Pacific Trials brought just 2 events, but fans were gripped to their seats throughout the men’s 800m and women’s 1500m freestyle races. Mack Horton and Ariarne Titmus were just 2 of the big names in action to kick things off, although with both athletes under heavy training, neither came away with a win.

First in the men’s 800m free, Horton led the pack through about the 650m mark before 23-year-old Chandler swimmer Jack McLoughlin turned on the heat to close out on top. 7:54.25 is what McLoughlin logged to take the title in an in-season best, with Horton less than 2 seconds back in 7:56.05. Claiming bronze tonight was Josh Parrish in 7:59.91.

No man was able to clinch the Pan Pacs qualifying mark of 7:50.97, although Horton had previously already secured qualification.

After the race, 22-year-old Horton stated, “In season racing is always going to be tough, I have shifted my training to 200-400 and I’m just seeing how the change of stroke (for the 800) was going.

“I’m enjoying the training I haven’t really had the chance to race the 800 properly it’s quite a big change I think it’s only going to get better and better over the years,  this is my focus…this will be a delayed transition. I’ve had 10 years, maybe this will be the start of another 10 years,” Horton joked.

Taking things up a notch even further tonight were the women battling in the 1500m freestyle, where the Australia All-Time top 10 list was shaken up by several swimmers.

Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Kiah Melverton, also an accomplished open water swimmer, surprised the field tonight by touching in a wicked-fast effort of 15:59.92, a huge personal best and well beneath the Pan Pacs QT of 16:20.18. Melverton was just able to hold off a charging 24-year-old in Kareena Lee from the Sunshine Coast, who touched less than half a second behind in 16:00.14.

Rounding out the top 3 was Maddy Gough, the 19-year-old who nabbed a Pan Pacs cut herself with a bronze medal-garnering effort of 16:09.11. Also in the race was Titmus, one of the world’s fastest freestylers across several mid-distance vents. Swimming only her 2nd 1500m race ever, the Tasmanian teen clocked 16:09.87 to also dip under the QT.

Melverton’s winning time of 15:59.91 marked just the 2nd occasion an Australian woman has ventured into sub-16 minute territory. The only other Aussie to accomplish the feat was Olympian Jess Ashwood, who holds a PB of 15:52.17. Behind Melverton’s checking in as the 2nd fastest Aussie effort, Lee also now sits as the 3rd fastest Aussie ever, while Gough and Titmus are now positioned as 8th and 10th, respectively.

Post-race, Melverton commented, “The 1500 was always on the radar and we were hoping it would be on the Olympic program and when it was added, coach Chris Nesbitt (TSS Aquatic) said to me ‘this is your thing now.’

“This is a fairly new event for me so it’s hard; you don’t really know what you’re doing; it’s just practicing racing really. It’s only my fourth or fifth 1500m.”

All comments courtesy of Swimming Australia.

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About Loretta Race

Loretta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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