2021 AUSTRALIAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
- Wednesday, April 14 – Sunday, April 18, 2021
- Southport, Queensland
- Long Course Meters (LCM)
- Meet Central
- Start Lists
- Heat Sheets
- Schedule of Events
- Live Results
- Results Also Available on Meet Mobile Under “2021 Australian Swimming Championships”
- Livestream Available On Amazon Prime Under “Australian Swimming Championships”
- Day 1 Prelims Recap | Day 2 Finals Recap
- Day 2 Prelims Recap | Day 3 Finals Recap
- Day 3 Prelims Recap
During day 3 prelims at the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships, Mitch Larkin posted a 1:54.38 200 backstroke, marking his quickest performance in the event since 2016 when he won Olympic silver with a 1:53.96. The swim makes Larkin the #2 ranked swimmer in the event globally this season.
Larkin’s swim is second only to Evengy Rylov‘s top-ranked 1:53.23 which he recently swam at the 2021 Russian Olympic Trials, qualify to swim at his second Olympic Games. In 2016, Rylov swam to a bronze medal in the event with a 1:53.97 to Ryan Murphy‘s gold medal-winning 1:53.62 and Mitch Larkin‘s 1:53.96 for silver. Reigning 200 backstroke Olympic champ Ryan Murphy currently sits with a season-best of 1:56.06 from the San Antonio stop of the 2021 Pro Swim Series.
The swim for Larkin is a considerable season-best in the event, improving upon the 1:57.16 that he swam in March. It also gives Larkin a sizeable lead over the rest of the Australian men in the 200 backstroke, the fastest of which being Bradley Woodward with a 1:57.14 in December 2020 at, followed by Ty Hartwell who swam a 1:58.30, also in December.
Following his 1:53.96 performance at Rio, Larkin hadn’t yet gotten back under 1:55 in the event until now. His best post-Rio swim stood at a 1:55.40 which he hit at the 2018 Pan Pac Trials in Adelaide, Australia. Larkin has swum the 200 back at 4 major international meets since 2016 but didn’t go faster than his 1:56.02 finals swim at 2018 Pac Pacs.
|2017 World Championships||1:58.00||1:59.10|
|2018 Commonwealth Games||1:57.99||1:56.10|
|2018 Pan Pacific Championships||1:58.15||1:56.02|
Larkin was entered to race the event at World Championships in 2019 but scratched the event in favour of the 200 IM.
It will likely take more than a 1:54 to reach Olympic gold and maybe even to reach the podium but Larkin’s return to the 1:54 range is a positive sign for him in the lead up to the Games. Even more so considering that it was a prelim swim at a meet which is basically serving as prep work for Olympic Trials. Larkin will have a shot to lower his season-best again during the final of the 200 backstroke as he goes in with the top seed by nearly 5 seconds.
Both of Australia’s 2nd and 3rd faster 200 backstrokers this season, Hartwell and Woodward raced in the prelims of the 200 back at the 2021 Australian Championships, earning 3rd seed (1:59.40) and 6th seed (2:00.11), respectively. Filling out the top 6 was Tristan Hollard with a 1:59.17 for 2nd, Thomas Hauck with a 1:56.46 for 4th, and Joshua Edwards-Smith in a 1:59.91 for 5th.
2021 Australian Championships – Men’s 200 Backstroke Prelims
- Mitch Larkin – 1:54.38
- Tristan Hollard – 1:59.17
- Ty Hartwell – 1:59.40
- Thomas Hauck – 1:59.46
- Joshua Edwards-Smith – 1:59.91
- Bradley Woodward – 2:00.11
- Se-Bom Lee – 2:01.54
- Stuart Swinburn – 2:02.50
- Cameron Tysoe – 2:02.65
- Nathan Foot – 2:02.11
With Mitch Larkin holding a sizeable lead ahead of the field, it’s likely that the main fight at Australian Olympic Trials in the event will be for silver. There, it will take a top 2 finish and a 1:57.26 to qualify for the team.