Seto Clocks 1:56.99 200 IM, McEvoy 21.91 50 Free On Day One Of 2024 Sydney Open


We entered day one of the 2024 Sydney Open & Unisport Nationals, a non-Olympic qualifying competition featuring some of the nation’s highest-profile athletes.

There is also a sprinkling of international athletes such as Daiya Seto and Rikako Ikee of Japan to up the ante with the Paris Games fewer than 80 days away.

With reigning world champion Erika Fairweather having scratched the 400m free heats, the door was wide open for 19-year-old Ella Ramsay to take control.

Ramsay of Chandler produced a winning effort of 4:11.49, eking out the victory over 24-year-old Caitlin Deans of New Zealand who settled for silver only .06 behind in 4:11.55.

Olympic veteran Leah Neale rounded out the podium just .01 off 2nd place with 4:11.56 in the extremely tight battle.

For Ramsay, tonight’s outing represents a big-time personal best, wiping out the 4:15.72 notched at this year’s Brisbane Metro Championships. Neale, too, outperformed an earlier swim, surpassing the 4:15.51 she logged for 8th at last month’s national championships.

As for 24-year-old Kiwi Deans, she was nearly identical to the 4:11.66 performance she put up for bronze at the 2024 New Zealand Olympic Trials.

Kiwi Kane Follows pulled the mild upset over Bradley Woodward en route to winning the men’s 200m back.

26-year-old Follows punched a result of 1:58.56 in another super close race where Woodward settled for silver just .11 behind in 1:58.67.

19-year-old Enoch Robb was also right in the mix, producing 1:58.78 for bronze in the only other sub-2:00 time of the field. Olympic medalist Mitch Larkin earned 4th place in 2:00.08.

Woodward is the reigning Australian national champion from his 1:57.67 registered last month. That was about 2 seconds off his lifetime best of 1:55.56 established at the 2023 Japan Open.

Follows is a newly-minted New Zealand national record holder in this 2back, turning in a time of 1:57.13 at last month’s Olympic Trials. That performance was good enough to add his name to the NZL Olympic roster for Paris. The 26-year-old trains under Lars Humer, who also trains Fairweather and Deans.

20-year-old Elizabeth Dekkers was the decisive victor in her signature 200m fly, the event in which she produced a new All Comers Record at last month’s national championships.

There she posted 2:05.20 as a new lifetime best and tonight was within range, logging 2:06.57 to beat the field by over 2 seconds.

19-year-old Bella Grant was also under 2:10, securing silver in 2:08.92, just half a second away from last month’s 2:08.42. Brittany Castelluzzo captured bronze tonight in 2:11.29.

National record holder Matthew Temple once again displayed his dominance, clocking a time of 51.27 to take the men’s 100m fly. The Marion ace was one of two sub-52 second swimmers with 24-year-old Shaun Champion sneaking under the barrier in 51.99.

The pair finished in this 1-2 order at the national championships where Temple crushed 50.80 and Champion blasted a new lifetime best of 51.28. Champion’s outing rendered him Australia’s 4th-fastest 100m butterfly performer in history.

Bronze tonight went to Harrison Turner in 52.64 and Bond speedster Ben Armbruster placed 4th in 52.65.

All eyes were on the pool to watch the duel unfold between 17-year-old Olivia Wunsch of Carlile and Ikee of Japan in the women’s 50m free.

This morning out of the heats, Wunsch earned the lane 4 advantage with a swim of 25.01 to Ikee’s 25.11.

Tonight, Wunsch took things even further, firing off a result of 24.78 to come within .19 of the 24.59 which garnered her the World Junior Championships gold medal last year.

Ikee snagged the silver in 25.03, off the 24.88 she achieved at this year’s Japanese Olympic Trials. Brittany Castelluzzo was the bronze medalist this evening in 25.09 while Milla Jansen fell to 4th in 25.26.

2023 world champion and 2024 world silver medalist Cameron McEvoy looked sharp in producing another 50m free time under 22 seconds. McEvoy hit 21.91 to follow his 21.93 put up at the national championships.

Training partner at Somerville House Aquatics, 16-year-old rising star Joshua Conias, collected silver in 22.35, tying his lifetime best in the process.

Conias registered that same time of 22.35 at this year’s Australian Age Championships to become the nation’s 2nd-fastest 16-year-old 50m freestyler in history.

William Yang rounded out the podium this evening in 22.40 while Temple (22.59), Southam (22.60) and Armbruster (22.61) were also among the top 8 after their earlier events.

The men’s 200m IM was world-class tonight with Japanese Olympic medalist Daiya Seto going head-to-head with reigning 400m IM world champion Lewis Clareburt of New Zealand.

Seto threw down an impressive 1:56.99 for the gold, with the outing sitting just .12 outside the 1:56.87 he produced at the Japanese Olympic Trials to earn his Paris 2024 berth.

Clareburt also brought the heat, registering 1:57.55 to snag the silver. That’s right on par with the 1:57.36 which rendered the 24-year-old national champion en route to adding the event to his Olympic lineup.

19-year-old William Petric of Nunawading continues to hunt the Australian Olympic Qualification Time of 1:57.23. Tonight he bagged bronze in 1:58.05 in his 3rd straight personal best in this event.

At the New South Wales Championships earlier this year Petric notched his first-ever result under the 2:00 barrier, hitting 1:58.78. Then last month at nationals he clocked 1:58.53 to win over Clareburt in a confidence boost.

Thus, tonight’s 1:58.05 sliced another .48 off to teeter on the 1:58 barrier, one which he’ll need to bust through in order to add his name to the Aussie Olympic roster.

Additional Winners

  • 19-year-old Flynn Southam of Bond took charge of the men’s 400m free, getting to the wall over 4 seconds ahead of the next-closest swimmer. Southam clocked 3:53.21, a mark within striking distance of his lifetime best 3:52.07 registered at the 2023 edition of this competition. Visiting Dutchman Luc Kroon scored silver in 3:57.58 while Koby Bujak-Upton also landed on the podium in 3:58.42.
  • The women’s 50m back saw Norwegian Ingeborg Loeying hold onto her top seed out of the heats. The 23-year-old sliced over half a second off her morning swim of 29.22 to check in with 28.44 for gold. That got the edge over Layla Day who notched 28.74 and Gemma Cooney baged bronze in 28.92. Minna Atherton was just .04 shy of the podium, hitting 28.96 for 4th place. Atherton dealt with an injury last year and is still trying to find the form that established the SCM 100 back world record she established in 2019.
  • Griffith’s Hayley Mackinder touched first in the women’s 200m breast, stopping the clock in 2:29.17 as the only sub-2:30 performer in the field. Teammate Mikayla Smith hit 2:31.28 for silver and Kalyce Pressler scored 2:33.17 as the bronze medalist.
  • No man was under a minute in the 100m breaststroke. Former 200m breast world record holder Zac Stubblety-Cook touched first in 1:00.21 with Bailey Lello next in line at 1:00.66. Irish national record holder Darragh Greene rounded out the top 3 in 1:00.84. At the national championships, ZSC did get in the 59-zone, posting 59.85.
  • The women’s 200m IM saw 18-year-old Sophie Martin turn in a time of 2:16.88 to take the event handily. Emily White was the silver medalist in 2:19.58 with 21-year-old Lexi Harrison right behind in 2:19.95.


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2 months ago

PB for Dekkers in the 50 fly heats: 27.16

2 months ago

Solid heat by Ramsay in 100 Breast – 1:07.87

2 months ago

Yang 48.42 in 100 free heats. Only 0.22 off his recent PB from Nationals.

Sleeper pick for an individual berth? I’m sticking with Cartwright as mine behind Chalmers, but Southam, Yang and Taylor all have a shot.

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

He’s usually pretty quick in the heats even when there’s not much competition.

2 months ago

Wunsch 0.28 off her 200 free PB in heats. Will she swim the 200 at trials? She would need to drop quite a lot to be in the mix for top 6, but there are quite a few girls hanging around in that 1:56 high range

Reply to  Sub13
2 months ago

200 training will help her 100 so it’ll be good to see her go a PB even if she has no intention of swimming it at trials.

2 months ago

Wait until trials, then the real entertainment begins….

2 months ago

McEvoy’d better deal with the foreseeable stress in big competitions that seems to calcify or even deform his stellar strokes and kicks, otherwise he’ll flop in Paris, ten to one.

Hopefully McEvoy could rejuvenate his sprint swimming in 3 months….

Just Keep Swimming
2 months ago

American trolls on this article about a small Australian meet claiming that Australia is obsessed with America. The irony and lack of self-awareness is really something to behold.

2 months ago

Joshua Conias .02 from Chalmers’ 16yrs 50 free Aussie Age record for a second time. That’s got to be fuel to his fire 🔥🔥🔥.

Reply to  SHRKB8
2 months ago

Hope the coach let’s him lead off the 4×50 free relay tonight.

Reply to  Troyy
2 months ago

More chances at trials also, pretty sure he’s second half of the year born so still 16 at trials I believe.

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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