Start Lists Reveal Stacked Fields For 2021 Australian Swimming Championships

2021 Australian Swimming Championships

The 2021 Australian Swimming Championships will get underway this week in Southport, Queensland from Wednesday, April 14 until Sunday, April 18. While not Australia’s Olympic Trials event (that will be a one-shot meet in June), this week’s National Championship event will serve as one of the last times we’ll see Australia’s top swimmers compete all in the same pool until the upcoming 2021 Australian Olympic Trials which is set to take place from June 12 – June 17. 2021.

Despite the fact that spots on the Olympic team won’t be on the line, we can still expect some fast racing to go down as the meet will feature most of the country’s top swimmers and Olympic hopefuls.

Considering the morning finals and night-time prelims format set to take place in Tokyo, Swimming Australia has elected to do the same for this meet to give athletes a chance to prepare for the format. The meet will run with the following schedule:

2021 Australian Swimming Championships
Session Start Time / Date (Australia) Start Time / Date (EST)
Prelims 1 6:00 PM Wednesday, April 14 4:00 AM Wednesday, April 14
Finals 1 10:00 AM Thursday, April 15 8:00 PM Wednesday, April 14
Prelims 2 6:00 PM Thursday, April 15 4:00 AM Thursday, April 15
Finals 2 10:00 AM Friday, April 16 8:00 PM Thursday, April 15
Prelims 3 6:00 PM Friday, April 16 4:00 AM Friday, April 16
Finals 3 10:00 AM Saturday, April 17 8:00 PM Friday, April 16
Prelims 4 6:00 PM Saturday, April 17 4:00 AM Saturday, April 17
Finals 4 10:00 AM Sunday, April 18 8:00 PM Saturday, April 17

Women’s Preview

Among those who will be present in Southport this week is multi-Australian record holder and 200 backstroke world record holder Kaylee McKeown. McKeown had an outstanding 2020 performance, establishing new Australian records in the long course 100 (57.93) and 200 (2:04.49) backstrokes, as well as a new world record in the short course 200 back (1:58.94) and Australian record in the 200 IM (2:03.68).

McKeown is entered this week to swim the 50 and 100 backstroke, along with the 200 IM and the 200 free. Despite being entered as top seed in the 100 back with her NR of 57.83, McKeown will be met by short-course world record holder Minna Atherton as second seed as well as seasoned veteran and Olympian Emily Seebohm who is third seed.

Another event battle brewing for this week is the women’s 200 meter freestyle in which Ariarne Titmus and Emma McKeon are separated by less than half a second. Titmus will enter as top seed in the event with her national record of 1:54.27 while Emma McKeon is second seed in a 1:54.55. As Titmus and McKeon go head-to-head a solid contingent will look to infiltrate the top two in the form of Madi Wilson, Brianna Throssell, Leah Neale, and Lani Pallister, among others.

While Titmus and McKeon lead the field in the 200 on day 1, we’ll see the Campbell sisters enter the conversation in the sprint freestyles later on in the week. Cate Campbell is top seed in both the 50 and 100 freestyles with her 2018 swims of 23.78 and 52.03, respectively. Behind Cate Campbell in the 50, sister Bronte Campbell and McKeon each come in with a 24.17 seed time, setting up a solid race.

In the 100 on the other hand, Emma McKeon is entered as second seed with a 51.41 behind Cate Campbell‘s 52.12 while Bronte Campbell is third in a 52.84. While he can’t be sure exactly how close to their best times they will be, the possibility of having 3 sub-53 swims in the 100 free final is an exciting prospect.

Looking at the women’s 100 breaststroke, we’ll get a preview of the battle for the Olympic spots in the event as Jessica Hansen, Chelsea Hodges, and Abbey Harkin are entered with just 0.11 seconds separating them. Hansen and Hodges are tied for top seed with a 1:06.91 and Harkin just barely trails the two with a 1:07.02.

That trio represents the three fastest Australian women in the event since the beginning of 2019 but another trio entered as 4th-6th seeds will be looking to make their case in the event. 2019 World Champs semi-finalist in the 200 breast Jenna Strauch, Commonwealth Champ in the 50 breast Leiston Pickett, and 2016 Olympian in the 100 breast Georgia Bohl all boast sub-1:08 entry times of 1:07.41, 1:07.61, and 1:07.94, respectively.

Men’s Preview

In the men’s breaststroke, former world record holder and 2019 bronze medalist in the 200 breast Matthew Wilson has a shot to get himself into the top 5 rankings this season in the event. Wilson held the world record in the 200 breast for one day in 2019 when he hit a 2:06.67 to tie Ippei Watanabe‘s 2017 WR during the semi-finals at World Championships. The next day, however, Anton Chupkov lowered the mark to a 2:06.12.

Wilson will likely race at his first-ever Olympics this summer and is entered as top seed not only in the 200 breast this week but also in the 100. While his 2:06.67 gives him a decent lead over second seed Zac Stubblety-Cook in the 200, the 100 will likely make for a closer race. Wilson enters with a 59.17 as one of three entrant with a sub-minute time as Stubblety-Cook has a 59.83 and Jake Packard a 59.89.

Another much-anticipated showdown will be the men’s 100 freestyle in which a whole 7 swimmers are entered with a time faster than 49.00. Leading the pack in terms of entry times is 2016 Olympic champion in the event Kyle Chalmers with a 47.08. Behind him, Clyde Lewis (48.45) and Jack Cartwright (48.58) will be second and third seed while current Australian record holder in the event Cam McEvoy goes in with a 48.66 compared to his 2016 NR of 47.04.

Filling out the top 8 will be Matthew Temple and Alexander Graham, each with a 48.95, Louis Townsend with a 48.99 and Ashton Brinkworth with a 49.00.

There will be no shortage of heated battles in Southport this week, another one of which being the men’s 400 freestyle. 2016 Olympic Champion Mack Horton currently holds a PB of 3:41.55 in the event but hasn’t been quicker than a 3:43.17 in the event since he swam the event at World Championships in 2019. That 3:43.17 leaves him with a seed time within less than a second of Elijah Winnington‘s PB and entry time of 3:43.90 for second seed. While those two constitute the top 2 seeds heading into the meet, Jack McLoughlin and Thomas Neill are both entered with times under the FINA A standard of 3:46.78 meaning that it could end up being anyone’s race this week and at Trials in a few months.

One notable competitor this week will be Cody Simpson who is entered in the 50/100 butterfly, as well as the 100 freestyle. Simpson is widely known for being a pop star but has transitioned to having a greater focus on swimming. He is qualified to swim at the upcoming Olympic Trials in the 100 fly and has posted the 10th fastest time this season with a 53.85.

With too many star-studded events to mention for this coming week, make sure to check in regularly here at SwimSwam for daily recaps of both prelims and finals session of the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships.

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Dee
3 months ago

Nobody missing from that mens 200 line up. I think most will rest up to some degree, so we should see some fast times and a response to the Russians.

Last edited 3 months ago by Dee
Robbos
Reply to  Dee
3 months ago

I’m surprised you get negatives for such a nice statement.

Taa
Reply to  Robbos
3 months ago

I don’t see Australia posting 6 swimmers times anywhere close to the Russians

Troyy
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

Luckily only 4 are needed given Australia’d have to DQ to not make the final even with 2 slower swimmers.

Taa
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

You must be too young to remember 2015 worlds 4 x 100 free.

Robbos
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

The entrant time for Aussie 200free starting tonite, so we will get better idea, but contrasting your comment;

1.44.90 Clyde Lewis
1.45.69 Alex Graham
1.45.76 Kyle Chalmers
1.45.79 Elijah Winnington
1.46.82 Jack MacLoughlin
1.47.05 Mack Horton (swam fastest leg in the world Championship final in 2019 in a 1.44.8)
1.47.66 Thomas Neill, 18 year with a bullet.

So maybe you don’t but I think Dee is closer to the mark.

Taa
Reply to  Robbos
3 months ago

Agree your list has a lot of potential but Russia has already performed at a high level which counts a lot more than a list of times which in theory are just a possibility. I guess we find out.

Troyy
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

We won’t really find out until trials anyway.

Robbos
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

Hence why Dee said she’s looking forward to them swimming fast in this trials. They won the 2019 WC, they have some very good quality swimmers here, they have the times to match the Russians & they have some young uns that have potential to even get better.
We will find out, but those reading the tea leafs shows that Australia has the potential to swim the fast times as Dee mentions.

commonwombat
Reply to  Robbos
3 months ago

Am tending to agree with TAA as regards M200FR times ….. for this meet. Trials may be another matter. Someone may break 1.46 but any more than 2 would surprise.

As regards relay prognostications; RUS has certainly put down a very strong marker but we’re going to need to wait until end June to know if we have a clear favourite or, most likely, a 4 way lottery.

For almost all of the ’10s, this has been the weakest of the AUS male relays; often looking a contender on paper but rarely if ever delivering but generational change HAS altered that picture. The old “flakier” performers have either left the scene or are no longer front-line contenders for this… Read more »

Robbos
Reply to  commonwombat
3 months ago

Yes your favourite swimmer McKeon (male) has since retired.
Interesting that you see only 2 in the 1.45s, both Graham & Winnington, did just that at recent low key NSW championship. Lewis bypassed that meet, so will be interesting to see how he goes tomorrow. You probably right about Chalmers & Horton, they tend to keep their best for Olympics & World championships.
Also young Thomas Neill is on the improve but he’s looking at longer events so may not taper.
However, 2 in the 1.45s & a couple in the low 1.46s matches Russia’s trails as their 3rd & 4th were high 1.45s
I think this is by far Australia’s best chance in the relays… Read more »

commonwombat
Reply to  Robbos
3 months ago

Yes, McKeon’s collected his superannuation but he wasn’t the only rubbery one. McEvoy was capable of a 1.45 flat start but was terribly unreliable on this relay. TFH was probably the only reliable relay performer of that “old school”.

I certainly see the potential for at least 5, maybe 6, below 1.46 at Trials but it would be a surprise to see more than 2 here. Agree with all the names you’ve put forward and Neill may certainly be a contender. Cartwright is the other potential gatecrasher.

Given, we have far from a complete 2021 picture of where all 4 suspected “main players” stand but I currently see it as a case that any one out of AUS, USA, GBR… Read more »

Verram
Reply to  commonwombat
3 months ago

Matthew Wilson had a horrid breastroke leg in gwangju

commonwombat
Reply to  Verram
3 months ago

Awful medley relay leg, granted he wasn’t helped by Larkin’s opening leg. He did, howver, split around 58.3 in the mixed medley relay.

Taa
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

so we should just use 2019 swims to determine 2021 medals? Townley Haas did a 143 high in relay once upon a time. He should be gold medal favorite?

Troyy
Reply to  Taa
3 months ago

By your logic everyone besides those who’ve had trials should be dismissed as medal contenders.

Taa
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

Anyone who has swim under 145.5 in the last year is a medal contender. Anyone else is more of a long shot. The best indicator is the most recent taper meet. Sorry I don’t know where that puts the Australians. The USA looks pretty week right now that’s all I know.

Guest
Reply to  Dee
3 months ago

Sam short ??

Meow
3 months ago

I see Cody Simpson’s on the psych sheet. He’s been training in California, right? I’m assuming he got an exemption from the 2 week quarantine requirement.

Samesame
Reply to  Meow
3 months ago

No one gets an exemption but he may have been able to quarantine in a private home with a pool

Verram
Reply to  Meow
3 months ago

Cody was training in Spain and flew into Australia in late March so that’s already more than two weeks ago.. I applaud the fact that he’s keeping it low key and letting his swimming be the focus not his celebrity status

Samesame
3 months ago

McKeon is entered at 52.41 . C.Campbell is 52.12.

Jonny Davis
3 months ago

Zac Cook will take Wilson this year (in the 200), and the aussie men will be medalless in relays in Tokyo, just my predictions……

Jackman
Reply to  Jonny Davis
3 months ago

Who’s going to keep them off the 4×200 podium?

GATOR CHOMP 🐊
Reply to  Jackman
3 months ago

GB, russia, and the US

Robbos
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

Chalmers, Winnington, Horton, Graham & Lewis & watch out for young Neill.
Yeah good luck GB, Russia & the US.

Samesame
Reply to  GATOR CHOMP 🐊
3 months ago

GATOR CHOMP having a Wednesday morning laugh

Jackman
3 months ago

iYiYi beg of swimming Australia to hit me with that HY-TEK live results page



Troyy
Reply to  Jackman
3 months ago

I hope they’re just slow to put the link up.

Troyy
Reply to  Jackman
3 months ago
Jackman
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

YAY!

maverick1993
3 months ago

I am sorry but there are so many errors in the article.

Yozhik
3 months ago

I’m beginning to enjoy the advantage of being an American. No need anymore to get up early in the morning before sunrise, quietly get through to the computer with the flashlight in the mouth, put the screen into “eye safe mode” when almost nothing gets visible and to watch emotionlessly as much as possible to not get disturb the other residents of household.

Troyy
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

*Privilege of being America. In a fair world finals at the Olympics would be at night regardless of whether it’s convenient for Americans or not.

Yozhik
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

😀 😀 I am sorry to tell that, but as you know life isn’t fair 😀 😀

Samesame
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

More fair for Americans maybe?

Yozhik
Reply to  Samesame
3 months ago

Hey, guys. I’m excited in anticipation of this event and i am glad that I would be able to enjoy fully watching it should it be aired.
Take it easy. The ” 😀 ” means I’m joking or teasing friendly.
Have a good meet.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Yozhik
3 months ago

If the US ever hosts its 1st World Champs since they started in Belgrade 1973 , then that will be another Yozik friendly viewing .

Last edited 3 months ago by Corn Pop
Gen D
3 months ago

No 200 back for K. McKeown :O

Last edited 3 months ago by Gen D
Troyy
Reply to  Gen D
3 months ago

Clashes with the 200 IM so maybe she wants to lay down a time while fresh in that event instead.

Corn Pop
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

To test her back/ Breast & fly/ back combo work at States. Plus bringing in her 200 free for relay consideration .
.

Gen D
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

Ok for 2 seconds (more like half a day) I thought these were the Aussie Olympic trials 🤦🏽‍♀️ Makes sense for the 2IM then. Do those two events clash at the Olympics for women too?

Troyy
Reply to  Gen D
3 months ago

The 200 IM semi and 100 BK final are in the same session at Tokyo with the 100 BK earlier so it’s not too bad when you consider she went 57.93 at QLD Champs and 4:32.73 in 400 IM later in the same session.

Gen D
Reply to  Troyy
3 months ago

thanks for the info! and i agree, in theory she should do just fine in that context.