Zac Incerti Jumps From 23rd Seed To 1st Place In 400 Free Prelims – 3:49.75

by Ben Dornan 2

April 16th, 2021 Australia, International, News


The second-to-last prelims session has wrapped up at the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships, setting up yet another finals session filled with tight races and close finishes. Day 3 prelims featured the 400 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 200 IM, and the 100 butterfly, all of which are Olympic events. With only 2 days left to go, there is still lots of fast racing expected to go down as swimmers get their last shot at top-tier racing before Australian Olympic Trials to be held this June.

In the men’s 400 freestyle, Zac Incerti has a strong prelim swim of 3:49.75, representing the only man to get under 3:50. With the swim, Incerti jumps from 23rd seed to 1st, even better than when he went from 10th to 1st during the prelims of the 200 free on day 1. The 3:49.75 is nearly 11 seconds faster than his entry time of 4:00.49.

Having earned a 6th place finish in the 200 free final, Incerti will have a shot to retain the top spot during the 400 freestyle finals but will need to fend off a solid field behind him. Elijah Winnington and Thomas Neill were both less than a second slower than Incerti with a 3:50.21 for second and a 3:50.54 for third seed, respectively. Also among those looking to infiltrate the top 3 during finals will be Jack McLoughlin (3:52.84), Brendon Smith (3:53.19), and Elliot Rogerson (3:54.22), among others.

Ariarne Titmus continued her post-injury return to racing during the 400 freestyle prelim where she posted the top time of 4:06.53. Titmus is the reigning world champion in the event, having posted a gold medal-winning swim of 3:58.76 at Gwangju 2019. Titmus is the favourite to win the event at Australian Trials this June and her prelim swim was already under the 4:07.10 she’ll need to swim the event in Tokyo.

1500 freestyle champion Madeleine Gough wasn’t too far behind Titmus during the prelims and managed to get within a second of the Olympic selection cut with a 4:07.91. That’s just under her entry time in the event of 4:07.97. Second seed Kiah Melverton managed to deliver a 4:08.68 in the prelims which was enough to get third seed heading into the finals.

Despite being the Australian record holder in the event, Kaylee McKeown decided to opt out of the 200 backstroke at 2021 nationals and instead swam the 200 IM. McKeown posted the top 200 IM swim of the morning with a 2:13.66 to Meg Bailey‘s 2:14.16 and Tara Kinder‘s 2:14.89. Should any of those three wish to swim the 200 IM in Tokyo, it will take a 2:10.49 or faster and a top 2 finish at Trials this June.

In McKeown’s absence from the 200 back, Emily Seebohm posted the fastest morning swim with a 2:11.80, trailing her entry time of 2:08.45 and her PB of 2:05.68 which she swam and World Championships back in 2015. Seebohm’s closest competitor in tonight’s final will be Mollie O’Callaghan who swam a 2:14.31 for second in the prelims. O’Callaghan was a bit off her best time in the event which sits at a 2:11.03 from earlier this season.

After getting disqualified in the 100 backstroke prelims for a false start, Mitch Larkin returned to swim the 200 backstroke and posted the fastest time in the field with a 1:54.38. Larkin’s swim gets him within a second and a half of his current PB and Australian record in the event of 1:53.72 from 2015.

100 backstroke champion Tristan Hollard was a 1:59.17 to claim second seed in the heats but was closely followed by another trio of sub-2 minute finishers. Heading into the finals, Ty Hartwell (1:59.40), Thomas Hauck (1:59.46), and Joshua Edwards-Smith will be among those fighting for a spot on the podium.

Mitch Larkin notch a second top 3 finish in the prelims as he hit a 2:02.85 200 IM, landing 7 seconds over his current PB of 1:55.72. Despite placing 3rd in the heats, Larkin was only 0.37 seconds behind top seed Louis Townsend who posted a 2:02.48 and was even closer to second seed Thomas Hauck who was a 2:02.78. The three will enter the final together as top 3 seeds but are closely followed by Elliot Rogerson who was a 2:03.20 for 4th and Liam Hunter who was a 2:03.79 for 5th.

In the women’s 100 fly, Emma McKeon continued her 2021 Australian Nationals campaign with a 58.14 to establish the quickest time in the field. McKeon won the 100 freestyle last night with a 52.49 and will look to add a second title here in the 100 fly. While she swam the only 58 in the prelims, McKeon will be faced with stiff competition as 4 more swimmers notched a sub-1:00 swim. Brianna Throssell will enter the final as second seed with a 59.06 prelim swim while Alexandria Perkins (59.43), Meg Bailey (59.44), and Mia O’Leary (59.61) were 3rd, 4th, and 5th.

In the men’s 100 fly, Matthew Temple was the top finisher with a 52.49 and will attempt to improve upon his second-place finish in the 200 fly from day 3. It won’t be a runaway for Temple, however, as he’ll be joined by Shaun Champion and 200 fly victor Bowen Gough who hit swim of 52.64 and 52.99, respectively.

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1 year ago

There’s too many swimmers scratching their pet events .. I’m confused for a country that doesn’t have much race practice in the last two years .. and would rather train and train than race each other before the olympics …

1 year ago

I just looked – Mack Horton didn’t swim the 400?! Was that planned and I missed it?