SS Digest: Everything You Need To Know From The Aussie Olympic Trials

SWIMMING AUSTRALIA OLYMPIC TRIALS

If you were preoccupied with the U.S. Olympic Trials over the last week and missed what was going on in Australia, have no fear.

Below, find everything you need to get back up to date on the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials that came to a close on June 17 with 35 swimmers being named to the Aussie Olympic team.

TOP PERFORMERS

Kaylee McKeown

McKeown went three-for-three to qualify for Tokyo in a trio of events, but that wasn’t the highlight of her meet.

On the second night of competition, the 19-year-old broke the world record in the women’s 100 backstroke in a time of 57.45, resetting the previous mark of 57.57 set by American Regan Smith in 2019.

McKeown followed that up by slicing a few one-hundredths off her Commonwealth Record in the 200 back, clocking 2:04.28 for the fourth-fastest swim in history, and she also set a lifetime best in winning the 200 IM (2:08.19).

Set to race at her first Games next month, McKeown heads into Tokyo ranked first in the world in all three of her Olympic events.

Ariarne Titmus

Titmus’ performance was simply sensational. The 20-year-old came incredibly close to world records in the women’s 200 and 400 freestyle, registering the #2 swim of all-time in both.

Titmus clocked 3:56.90 in the 400 free, torching her previous Commonweath Record of 3:58.76 to trail only Katie Ledecky‘s world record swim of 3:56.46 from the 2016 Olympic Games.

In the 200 free, Titmus scared the super-suited world record set by Federica Pellegrini in 2009, touching in 1:53.09 to fall just .11 shy of Pellegrini’s 1:52.98. Titmus held the previous Commonwealth, Oceanian and Australian Records of 1:54.27 set back in 2019.

Titmus won a third event in the 800 free, inching past her Australian Record of 8:15.70 in 8:15.57 to qualify for three individual events in Tokyo.

Zac Stubblety-Cook

While McKeown and Titmus were producing historically fast times on the women’s side, Zac Stubblety-Cook did the same thing for the men in the 200 breaststroke.

Stubblety-Cook dropped an incredible 2:06.28 to register the second-fastest swim ever, trailing only Anton Chupkov‘s world record of 2:06.12 set in 2019.

Stubblety-Cook, who set his previous best time of 2:07.00 in May, also took down Matthew Wilson‘s Commonwealth Record of 2:06.67 with the swim, which had previously stood as the world record.

Stubblety-Cook also placed first in the 100 breast in a time of 59.69.

Emma McKeon

McKeon set the tone for the meet in the first final on opening night, lowering her Oceanian and Australian Record in the women’s 100 butterfly in a time of 55.93. McKeon held the previous record of 56.18 set in 2017.

The 27-year-old went on to set lifetime bests in her three remaining events as well, winning the 50 free (23.93), 100 free (52.35, with a 52.19 PB in prelims) and finishing as the runner-up to Titmus in the 200 free (1:54.74).

McKeon currently ranks first in the world in the 50 and 100 free, third in the 100 fly and fourth in the 200 free.

CAMPBELL, SEEBOHM QUALIFY FOR FOURTH OLYMPIC TEAM

29-year-olds Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm both qualified for their fourth Olympic team at the Trials, joining Leisel Jones as the only Australian swimmers to reach the milestone.

Campbell was the runner-up to McKeon in both the women’s 50 (23.94) and 100 free (52.59), earning her individual entries in both events in Tokyo.

Seebohm placed second to McKeown in both the women’s 100 (58.59) and 200 back (2:06.38), also qualifying for two events at the Games.

Notably taking third in that 100 back was 17-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan, who dropped over seven-tenths from her previous best time in 58.86.

OTHER NOTEWORTHY SWIMS

  • Matthew Temple broke the Australian Record in the men’s 100 butterfly, clocking 50.45 to move into #3 in the world this season.
  • Elijah Winnington defeated a loaded field in the men’s 400 free in a lifetime best of 3:42.65, taking over the top time in the world this season. In fact, the top three times in the world rankings were produced in that final, with Jack McLoughlin (3:43.27) second and 2016 Olympic champion Mack Horton (3:43.90) locked out in third.
  • Another reigning Olympic champion, Kyle Chalmers, will have the opportunity to defend his 2016 title in the men’s 100 freestyle after winning the event in a time of 47.59. Chalmers also won the 200 free in a time of 1:45.48, with Winnington (1:45.55) a close second.
  • Mitch Larkin dropped the 200 back for the 200 IM, and it paid off as he roared to a decisive victory in a time of 1:56.29. Larkin also won the 100 back in 53.40.
  • Brendon Smith broke the Australian Record in the men’s 400 IM in a time of 4:10.04.
  • Maddy Gough downed the Aussie mark in the women’s 1500 free in 15:46.13.

THE OLYMPIC TEAM

35 swimmers were officially named to the Australian Olympic team, with the inclusion of Matthew Wilson among the decisions that was up in the air prior to the announcement.

Wilson finished second to Stubblety-Cook in the 200 breast in a time of 2:08.52, just off of the Australian qualifying time of 2:08.26.

The 22-year-old former world record holder was nominated under Swimming Australia’s ‘extenuating circumstances’ clause as he was reportedly grieving a recent death in the family.

The roster also includes Horton, who won’t compete individually but was added after taking sixth in the men’s 200 free.

Full Roster

•    Bronte Campbell, Knox Pymble, NSW
•    Cate Campbell, Knox Pymble, NSW
•    Tamsin Cook, UWA West Coast, WA
•    Madeleine Gough, TSS Aquatic, QLD
•    Jessica Hansen, Cruiz, ACT
•    Meg Harris, St Peters Western, QLD
•    Abbey Harkin, St Peters Western, QLD
•    Chelsea Hodges, Southport Olympic, QLD
•    Emma McKeon, Griffith University, QLD
•    Kaylee McKeown, USC Spartans, QLD
•    Kiah Melverton, TSS Aquatic, QLD
•    Leah Neale, Chandler, QLD
•    Mollie O’Callaghan, St Peters Western, QLD
•    Emily Seebohm, Griffith University, QLD
•    Jenna Strauch, Bond, QLD
•    Brianna Throssell, UWA West Coast, WA
•    Ariarne Titmus St Peters Western, QLD
•    Madison Wilson, Marion, SA
•    Kyle Chalmer, Marion, SA
•    Isaac Cooper, Rackley, QLD
•    Alexander Graham, Bond, QLD
•    Tristan Hollard, Southport Olympic, QLD
•    Mack Horton, Melbourne Viccentre, VIC
•    Zac Incerti, UWA West Coast, WA
•    Mitch Larkin, St Peters Western, QLD
•    Se-Bom Lee, Carlile, NSW
•    Cam McEvoy, TSS Aquatic, QLD
•    Jack McLoughlin, Chandler, QLD
•    David Morgan, TSS Aquatic, QLD
•    Thomas Neill, Rackley, QLD
•    Brendon Smith, Nunawading, VIC
•    Zac Stubblety-Cook, Chandler, QLD
•    Matthew Temple, Nunawading, VIC
•    Matthew Wilson, SOPAC Swim, NSW
•    Elijah Winnington, St Peters Western, QLD

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Hswimmer
4 months ago

I learned they always perform well at trials and not so much outside of the country. Yes they win relays and get a few medals individually, but we will see come Tokyo.

There's no doubt that he's tightening up
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

There were Olympics before 2012 and 2016, you know…

I personally think they’re good for maybe 6 to 8 gold medals, which is a decent haul. There are about 4 (maybe 5) events in which they are the closest non-Peaty thing to a lock, and there’s the potential for 10+ golds if all the close touches go the way of the Aussies, but I don’t think that’ll happen.

Robbos

Exactly, if we win 8 golds, that would equal our best ever at the Olympics, we would be very happy with that.
America is the greatest swimming nation in the world & even for a little country like Australia to be considered 2nd best is huge, but we are a long way back We do have the depth across all events.
We have never won a medal in the M50Free & M200IM.
The only times American dominance was challenge was the East German women in the 70s & 80s & the Chinese women in the 90s.

Hswimmer
Reply to  Robbos
4 months ago

Also in Australia swimming is a top sport, in US it’s way down at the bottom… if more people swam here in the US it would be even more competitive

Joel
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

No actually …. Way more people play football, netball, soccer etc in Australia.

Robbos
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

Depends how you look at top sport, yes top Olympic sport, we not that great at Track & field. so Swimming top Olympic sport.
Australia has 4 football codes (Australia Rules Football, biggest sport in the land, 2 forms of Rugby & real football, soccer) far bigger then swimming, there is cricket.
But yes swimming in Australia is far bigger then swimming in the US.

Personal Best
Reply to  Robbos
4 months ago

And Netball for the women as a huge sport. There’s a lot of competition for swimming in Australia. The Australians almost lost Kyle Chalmers (Olympic Gold medal winning Kyle Chalmers) to AFL – good thing he chose swimming instead.

Oz swimmer
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

Olympics are in Japan. Aussie swimmers compete well in places close to out time zone. Always have

DDias
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

I think the timezone will be a BIG(positive) factor for Australia. And Titmus must have a strange taste in her mouth being too close to two WR´s.

Bill G
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

Speculation on my part … Trials are much closer to the Olympics for Australia than usual. I think this might help in terms of translating a fast trials to a fast Olympics. Not much time for athletes / media to ruminate or speculate on chances … between packing their bags, heading to the staging camp for training, and getting to Tokyo the Olympics will be here in no time.

Auzzie
4 months ago

Other notable swims were in the women’s 100 free where the top four finished under 53 seconds and the top 6 finishers in the women’s 200 freestyle all under 1.57. The depth shown in these freestyle events was simply world class and produced races with a scoreboard displaying multiple quick times that will be hard to be be replicated at the Olympics.

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
4 months ago

Everything we need to digest : Australia > Usa

wow
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
4 months ago

In Swimming
USA: Total Golds = 246, Total Medals = 553
AUS: Total Golds = 60, Total Medals = 188
246 > 60, 553 > 188
USA Total Golds is greater than AUS total medals.

Last edited 4 months ago by wow
Jess
Reply to  wow
4 months ago

Now multiply them by their respective populations and see who would be the better country historically with equal populations.

dresselgoat
Reply to  Jess
4 months ago

Virtually no one cares about swimming in the US so the population argument doesn’t hold water.

dresselgoat
Reply to  dresselgoat
4 months ago

I didn’t mean this as an insult. Just that percentage of population that is involved in swimming is much lower in the US thus the total number of people involved is pretty similar despite the overall population difference.

Last edited 4 months ago by dresselgoat
Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
Reply to  dresselgoat
4 months ago

Even if ‘virtually no one cares’ (which is even miles off being hyperbole), there is enough sponsorship for thousands of those who do care to fund their way to college and swim while doing so. No other country in the world offers that kind of financial support for swimmers. The reality is that the USA has a much larger pool of talent hanging at the optimum swimming age because of this. So even if you want to talk sheer numbers, you have to accept that many other countries don’t have that pool to choose from at the roughly 18-26 year old range, and that inevitably results in fewer opportunities for medals in other countries (including Australia).

Just a guy
Reply to  Jess
4 months ago

Ignorant comment. Swimming is significantly more popular in Australia relatively speaking. A simple population ratio doesn’t weigh the relative significance within each country. While folks on this site love swimming, the general US population is more interested in other sports. The US medal haul will reflect this.

Having said that, regardless of size or interest level, the US will again lead the swimming table in both golds and overall medals.

Personal Best
Reply to  Just a guy
4 months ago

There’s a difference between swimming for leisure and club swimming.
Leisure doesn’t always translate into competition.

I don’t think there is anything in Australia that is equivalent to the NCAA. It’s huge in the US. In Australia the ‘college’ system is vastly different, and any university sports are no where as huge as they are in the US.

Therefore the opportunities for funding and competition for Australian students pales in comparison to their US counterparts. The NCAA produces national sporting champions in the US.

Ghost
4 months ago

Any bets as to who wins more gold medals? Aussie women or USA women? I will take the Aussies this year. From a country of 28 million vs a country of 360 million!

wow
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

AUS this year most likely (McKeown looking great). The amount of young women for the Americans is very promising for 2024!

Last edited 4 months ago by wow
dresselgoat
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

Swimming Australia number of members 100,000

USA Swimming number of members 346,735

would be more accurate

Last edited 4 months ago by dresselgoat
BKP
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

…so India and China are going to run the tables on everyone in swimming, right!? …or maybe you made a bad correlation

Robbos
Reply to  BKP
4 months ago

No India & China are not 1st world countries, the US is by far the biggest populated 1st country in the world.
1st world countries include Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Korea & US & Canada.
In countries like India & China, people are too busy living day day, surviving & have little time participating or attending sporting events.

BKP
Reply to  Robbos
4 months ago

Now compare the popularity and participation rate of the sport in Australia vs the US. I would say that is a more relevant metric

Rafael
4 months ago

Potential Gold for the aussies
Women: 50/100/200/400 free, 200 IM, 100/200 back, 4×100 free, 4×200 free are very strong contenders for gold. A little lower 4×100 medley, women 100 fly and 800 free.

Men: 400 free is their strongest event right now, and contending could be the 200 breast, 100 free, 200 free, 200 IM and 4×200.

maybe?
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Men have no chance in the individual 200 and men’s 200IM is a bit bold too however all of the rest of the events you mentioned are almost certain medals for the aussies

Last edited 4 months ago by maybe?
Robbos
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Very good summary Rafael, if Australia won 8 or 9 golds we would be ecstatic as they would be a record for us.

Hswimmer
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Alex Walsh will be sub 2:08 and Douglass since they will have less swims in IM.

Robbos
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

What is your prediction for McKeown?

Ghost
Reply to  Hswimmer
4 months ago

Huh? Less swims In IM? What does that mean? If you meant other events, she didn’t swim a lot of events last week!

Rafael
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

It is like judo where you enter 2nd round probably. Cause murica nbc and rowdy will skip prelims

Hswimmer
Reply to  Ghost
4 months ago

Less swims than trials I meant…. Alex and Kate both had a lot of events

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Lower in 4×100 medley ? Are you kidding me?
McKeown 57.4
Hodges 1.05.9
Mckeon 55.5
Campbell 51.1
WR 3.50.1

Last edited 4 months ago by Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
maybe?
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
4 months ago

Yeah but USA have:
Smith: 57.5
King : 1:04.1
Huske : 55.4
Weitzel/Manuel : 52.9
Also 3:50.1 WR,
so yes AUS have a lower chance of getting Gold than other events because you can’t expect Campbell to go 51.1 again especially when she’s looked a bit slower at trials (in the 100) then when she was in 2019

Last edited 4 months ago by maybe?
Troyy
Reply to  maybe?
4 months ago

King has only been that fast on a relay at Budapest 2017. Otherwise 1:04 high or slower.

SHG
Reply to  maybe?
4 months ago

Don’t ever discount Cate in a relay…She ALWAYS performs…

Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
Reply to  maybe?
4 months ago

Cate never dissapoints on relays

Troyy
Reply to  Eric the Eel > Michael Phelps
4 months ago

Cate was about the same time at Pan Pacs trials in 2018 before going her fastest ever split at Pan Pacs and PB in the individual.

dresselgoat
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

I think you can give Cook more than contending.

Rafael
Reply to  dresselgoat
4 months ago

No way I bet against chupkov

swimswammer33
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Chupkov is going to be out to slow!!

Last edited 4 months ago by swimswammer33
Tyson
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Mixed 4×100 medley is a possibility

STRAIGHTBLACKLINE
Reply to  Rafael
4 months ago

Australia is faster in the women’s medley relay based on the aggregated times. It turned out that Reagan Smith was slower than expected in the 100BK and in the 100FS they all disappointed. Australia look to be the favourites on paper but if the USA swims to its potential in those legs they will probably win it.

VA Steve
4 months ago

Go USA! Go Australia. Let’s rumble and bring out the best in both.

Robbos
Reply to  VA Steve
4 months ago

I agree, I have always respected the American swimmers, they are winners, USA v Australia in some events in Tokyo are HUGE;
Ledecky v Titmus
Smith v McKeown
AND THE BIG ONE
Dressel v Chalmers

This is not disregarding any other swimmers in these events eg Masse, Kolesnikov & Pellegrini.

Dressel will come 3rd in 100 free
4 months ago

I don’t get this need that HSwimmer has of insisting swimming isn’t that big of a sport in the USA in order to effectively talk USA’s swimming pedigree up.

Americans aren’t some sort of master race (if you think that, get help). They aren’t born more talented than other countries and they don’t have a culture of working harder than other countries. Additional swimming success definitely comes from somewhere. Maybe swimming is a bigger sport in Australia? But it’s definitely bigger in the USA than it is in most other countries in the world, so what’s the argument? If anything there’s more investment in USA Swimming (whether directly or indirectly, i.e. though college scholarships etc) in USA than anywhere… Read more »

Tyson
4 months ago

Yeah Australia hasn’t performed the best at the last two olympics I think 2017 worlds were no different but look at 2019 words although there was only one individual gold we had athletes who still did pb’s in the finals or went close to it which does give hope for Tokyo i just hope there’s not too much pressure out on the athletes by swimming Australia and the Australian Olympic team because there’s athletes that have complained about that in the past

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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