Winnington Tops Men’s 200 Free, As Chalmers Misses Final In Queensland


The first day of individual events in Queensland brought some surprises, with young guns stepping up into the limelight to take state titles. With Olympians Kyle Chalmers, Cameron McEvoy, and Emma McKeon and others in the midst of heavy training gearing up for the Commonwealth Games Trials in February, the rising stars of the sport took to the stage to take gold in Brisbane.

17-year-old Ariarne Titmus of St. Peters Western already made a name for herself by claiming 4th place in the women’s 400m freestyle in Budapest. She showed she’s still on form tonight, cracking a new age group record en route to winning the women’s open 200m freestyle.

Splitting 27.43/29.29/29.85/29.77, Titmus clocked a final time of 1:56.34 to overtake the old 17 age record held by Olympian Brittany Elmslie at 1:57.24 since 2012. For perspective, Titmus’ time tonight would have resulted in a 7th place finish at the 2017 World Championships.

After barely making into the final, Olympic medalist McKeon rocketed up to 2nd place behind Titmus to claim silver in a solid time of 1:57.77. That’s well off her bronze medal-garnering performance in Rio, but indicative of where the Griffiths University athlete is at training-wise at this point. Of note, Budapest standout Shayna Jack, 19, won the women’s 200m freestyle B-final in 1:59.91.

McKeon scored another 2nd place later in the session in the women’s open 100m butterfly, finishing in 58.94. That time fell just .15 shy of winner An Sehyeon of Korea, who notched 58.79 to top the field and lead a trio of sub-minute swimmers. Rounding out the top 3 was Emily Seebohm, the do-it-all girl who summoned a mark of 59.66 for bronze.

The men’s 200m freestyle saw a surprise victor in 17-year-old Elijah Winnington of Bond. The teen was already on the radar by claiming bronze in this event at this year’s World Junior Championships and trains with McEvoy on a daily basis as part of the same squad under Richard Scarce. Tonight, the protegé outdid his mentor, clocking 1:47.96 for the win.

Korea’s Le Hojoon took 2nd in 1:48.49, with the next-fastest Australian represented by speedster Jack Cartwright from St. Peters Western. Te 19-year-old World Championships finalist clocked 1:48.99 to stand on the podium as well.

Not landing a spot in the spotlight was McEvoy, with the fastest 100m freestyler ever in a textile suit clocking a modest 1:48.99 this evening for 4th in the 200m free final. Again, the performance most likely indicative of where the top Aussie arsenal are at with Commonwealth Games trials coming up early 2018. Mitch Larkin earned 8th in 1:51.04 in this off-event, while Olympic gold medalist in the 400m freestyle, Mack Horton, wound up 9th in 1:51.37.

Not making the final at all was 100m freestyle Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers, who settled for 2nd in the B-final in 1:50.76. He clocked a time of 1:51.75 this morning to find himself as the 12th seeded swimmer headed into tonight.

As no doubt a warm-up swim for the highly anticipated 100m free, Ravenswood swimmer James Magnussen cruised to a morning effort of 1:51.77 for 13th seed, but wound up scratching the final.

16-year-old Kaylee McKeown joined Titmus in breaking an age group record, winning the women’s open 400m IM in a huge personal best time of 4:40.29. That mark surpasses the previous record for 16-year-olds that rested at the 4:41.17 Ellen Fullerton produced back in 2009. According to the Australia times database, McKeown’s previous career-fastest was the 4:43.61 she rendered in Budapest, so the teen hacked off well over 2 seconds from that PB with tonight’s swim.

Additional Winners on the Day:

  • 22-year-old Taylor McKeown finished on top of the women’s 200m breaststroke, earning a time of 2:23.50.
  • Zac Stubblety-Cook, a promising breaststroker hoping to fill the void in this discipline by the Aussies, touched in 2:12.29 to take the men’s 200m breaststroke.
  • Japanese swimmer Yuki Kobori earned the top prize in the men’s 100m butterfly, stopping the clock in 53.47. The fastest finisher for Australia was Bowen Gough, who was also sub-54 in 53.96. Of note, David Morgan earned the top seeded time with his morning result of 53.20, but was reportedly short of the target set by his coach and, therefore, did not swim in tonight’s final.
  • 16-year-old Kyle Niesler was tonight’s winner for the men’s 400m IM in a mark of 4:30.08.
  • Minna Atherton took the women’s 17-18 100m backstroke, registering a time of 1:01.10.
  • Argentina’s Delfina Pignatiello took the women’s 17-18 400m freestyle with a time of 4:11.27.

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2 years ago

Titmus went a 1:56.34 not a 1:57.19 ….. 1:57.19 was her prelim time.

2 years ago

Well, I was excited by Titmus after her 25.6 relay split, but gosh I wasn’t expecting a 1.56.3 just yet. Always had her down as a 400/800 girl – She could be electrifying this year.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Suspect she’s going to be more a 200/400. Her only 800 of any note was at AUS Nats but she “died” in the 800 at Worlds. It WILL be interesting to see how she tracks through this AUS summer (particularly, will she swim any of the other state meets leading into CG Trials) ? This time certainly looks a promising sign for the AUS W4X200 with the prospects of another strong leg to take some of the weight of McKeon. IF Cook can return to her Rio level, then this relay starts to look a much stronger medal chance at World level. The W400 at AUS Trials may also be one to watch with 3 swimmers with PBs in the… Read more »

Reply to  commonwombat
2 years ago

Titmus already at 4.02.86.., fairly impressive.

Reply to  commonwombat
2 years ago

I fully expect Titmus 4.01 this year – Won’t let expectations get too high as I know these state meets in Aus can be very fast, but what potential Ariarne has.

Reply to  Dee
2 years ago

Agree, and also very interesting how 16 years-old fantastic backstroker Kaylee McKeown’s becoming a versatile swimmer: smooth 4.15 in the 400 free and short later 1.10 in the 100 breaststroke.
I think that yesterday’s 4.40 in the 400 im is just the beginning..

Reply to  nuotofan
2 years ago

Both McKeown’s have dabbled at IM but it would appear that Jr may have the greater range. Curiously, she did not swim the Open W100 back tonight.

With AUS female distance freestylers, caution has had to be the accepted rule given there have been many who showed promise/swam internationally competirve times then faded for whatever reasons (often injury). Ashwood has been the one who has actually shown longevity; the next 12 – 18 months will tell us much re Titmus.

EM see
Reply to  commonwombat
2 years ago

McKeown Jr swimming in her age group rather than open swims. And in lots of events, so not really room to swim the open events as well.

2 years ago

If only the last decade of Australian mens 100 freestylers pull it together and hit their PBs on a relay, that would be a WR never to be broken. All sub 47s, ah but not to be. I blame the kangaroos and the New Zealand all blacks

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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