2022 DUEL IN THE POOL
- Friday, August 19 – Sunday, August 21, 2022
- Sydney, Australia
- Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (pool swimming, Aug. 20-21)
- Bondi Beach (open water, Aug. 19)
- Start Times
- Friday – open water: 9:00 am local / 7:00 pm ET on Thursday
- Saturday – 7:00 pm local / 5:00 am ET
- Sunday – 7:00 pm local / 5:00 am ET
- LCM (50m)
- Meet Central
- Full US roster
- Full Australian roster
The 2022 Duel In the Pool concluded on Sunday, with the United States beating out Australia 309 to 284. In this article, we review some of the top performances and what we think were some fun moments that displayed the unconventionality of this meet.
- See the most notable swims from Day Two here.
The Best Performances
The para swimming MVP of this meet has got to go to Will Martin, who won three out of the four individually contested para events. Yesterday, he finished second in the mixed multi-class 100 free and went on to win the mixed multi-class 50 form stroke skins event. He then backed up those performances today with wins in the mixed multi-class 50 free skins and the mixed multi-class 100 form stroke races.
What’s special about Martin is that at 21 years old, he represents the next generation of Aussie para swimming. In fact, his win in the multi-class 100 form stroke was also the last race for veterans Matt Levy and Ellie Cole, who are two of Australia’s most decorated para swimmers of all time. Martin beating both Cole and Levy is virtually a display of a “passing of the torch”, as Martin will continue the legacy of his now-retired teammates.
Luke Hobson‘s 200 Free
Luke Hobson won the men’s 200 free race in a time of 1:45.59, which was 0.55 seconds faster than his official personal best of 1:46.14. This culminates a year of major improvement in the 200 free for him, as he came into 2022 with a lifetime best of 1:49.10 and has since then lowered that by nearly four seconds. With his time having been fast enough to take third at this year’s U.S. International Team trials, Hobson is now a favorite to make future international teams in the 4×200 free relay and potentially the individual 200 free.
Read more about Hobson’s swim here.
Chelsea Hodges‘ 100 Breast
While Chelsea Hodges has been great at the 50 breast this year, having broken the Australian record twice in the event, her 100 breast just has not been in the same shape. After coming off the high of 2021, where she set a best time of 1:05.99 and helped the Aussies to Olympic gold in the women’s medley relay, she failed to make the World Championships team in the event this year.
In her final race of Duel In The Pool (which was probably her last long course race of the summer), she won the 100 breast in a time of 1:06.90. That mark was an unofficial season-best for her, beating out the 1:06.94 she clocked to finish third at Australian trials and the 1:07.05 she clocked to take bronze at the Commonwealth Games. And while Hodges still hasn’t neared her Tokyo 100 breast form, a season-best is a great way to end things off after a rough long course season.
Kaylee McKeown‘s 200 IM
Having to swim breaststroke last in a mystery 200 IM has got to be one of the hardest things about the event, because you’re racing the slowest stroke when you have the least amount of energy left. That’s exactly what Kaylee McKeown had to face today, as she was assigned a free-fly-back-breast stroke order and had to go from essentially her fastest to her slowest stroke.
Finishing off with breast didn’t seem to be a problem for McKeown though, as she got out to an early lead and held on for the final 50. She ended up touching first in a time of 2:12.75, which would have been fast enough to make semi-finals in the event at this year’s World Championships. In fact, finishing with breast didn’t do much to cut her lead, because she ended up finishing over two seconds faster than second-place swimmer Beata Nelson, who had to swim freestyle as her final stroke.
Being elite in all four 50-meter events, Michael Andrew was built for skins. After making the final round of the 50 back skins yesterday, he went on to finish top 2 in both the 50 breast and fly skins and outsmart Australia’s “double dip” attempt en route to claiming 50 breast victory.
Australian swimmer Sam Williamson handily won the first two rounds of the men’s 50 breast skins, and the Aussies threw in the double dip following the third round. However, Andrew wasn’t fooled, and slowed down immediately after Williamson did the same. Then, in the fourth round, Andrew beat out Williamson to take first place—the only time that a double dip did not work out in the favor of the country that implemented it. Andrew put up a time of 27.12 in that fourth 50 breast race, which is really impressive considering how much swimming he had to do beforehand.
Andrew later on went to make the final round of the men’s 50 fly alongside his teammate Shaine Casas. And since that was their last race of the meet, they decided to go all out just for the sake of it. Casas ended up winning, but it didn’t matter as all the points were going to the United States.
The Most “Fun” Races
The Men’s Broken 400 Free
The American men pulled off an incredible strategy in the broken 400 free, as three different Americans won the three rounds. First, it was David Johnston who took victory in the 200-meter round, clocking a 1:50.74. Luke Hobson then won the next 100-meter round in 51.24, before Grant House went a 51.23 to win the final 100 round. From dividing the wins amongst the three Americans entered in the race, Team USA was able to earn all three bonus points available while making sure that everyone was conserving energy throughout different rounds.
The Mixed Able-Bodied/Para Freestyle Relay
In yesterday’s “most notable races” article, I mentioned that I liked the para skins events because you got to see swimmers of different genders and disability classes competing in one race. So to no surprise, I found the mixed 4×50 able-bodied/para freestyle relay super fun to watch, because you’re essentially putting together every kind of swimmer in a singular relay competition.
Emma McKeon got the Aussies off to a strong start with a strong 24.36 leadoff, but Americans Jamal Hill, Lizzi Smith and David Curtiss tore past their competition (Will Martin, Ellie Cole, Grayson Bell) to eventually beat Australia by nearly two seconds—a crucial relay win for the Americans.
In formal competition, swimming is divided by so many factors like age, stroke, gender, and disability class. And while that’s done for the good purpose of creating a level playing field, it also makes us appreciate unique opportunities like this where swimmers from all categories come together. This relay was the first time we’ve seen both male and female able-bodied and para swimmers compete together, but hopefully there will be more to come.
Annie Lazor‘s Balloon Rescue
Prior to the start of the women’s mystery 200 IM, a pink ballon ended up in the middle of the pool and delayed the start of the race. American swimmer Annie Lazor went in to retrieve it, providing a moment of light-hearted entertainment before the racing action began. Although this isn’t directly related to swimming, we decided to include it because it highlights the laid-back and low-pressure nature of the meet. Let’s be real here, in what other competition are you going to see an Olympic bronze medalist go into the water to fetch a ballon prior to a race that she wasn’t even competing in?
The 2×200-Meter vs. 4×100-Meter Random Relay
Just like the mixed able-bodied/para swimmer relay, this 2×200 vs. 4×100 free relay is also a race that we’ve never seen before, and it ended up being a very dramatic way to close off the meet.
Trenton Julian and Bella Sims, who were both swimming a 200, were given a 19-second head start and had to hold off Zac Incerti, Cody Simpson, Madi Wilson, and Mollie O’Callaghan, who were all swimming a 100 each. The United States was winning the race up until the last 100 meters, when O’Callaghan yet again pulled off a clutch anchor move and overtook a fatiguing Sims to give the Aussies a win.
This relay is interesting because it sparks debate on whether 19 seconds is enough of a head start for the 2×200 team or not, and makes us wonder whether a 2×200 relay (with a head start) is stronger than a 4×100 relay, or vice versa.
Mollie O’Callaghan’s 100 Free Splitting
Without live results, there wasn’t much we could talk about regarding splits. But thanks to some of the commenters on our day three live recap, we decided to highlight Mollie O’Callaghan‘s negative split 100 free race, where she went out in 27.01 and closed in 27.00 to clock a time of 54.01. Obviously, that is far from what she’s capable of going, and we’ve seen her do crazier things before (such as splitting 26.42/26.43 en route to a 52.85 100 free). However, a negative-split 100 free on an elite level of the sport is always something mind-boggling regardless of the final time.