You could not wipe the smile off Emma McKeon’s face in Adelaide tonight after she smashed her own Commonwealth and Australian record in the 200m freestyle to grab her second individual swim in the race to Rio.
The 21-year-old who trains under Michael Bohl at St Peters Western clipped 0.70 of a second off her personal best to clock 1:54.83 in a powerhouse swim on night four of the 2016 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships.
The time that takes her to second in the world behind US superstar and Olympic favourite Katie Ledecky.
“I’m very thrilled and sort of relieved as well because I really wanted to get a 1:54 done before leading in the rest of the year,” McKeon said.
“A lot of girls in other countries are doing 1:54 so it gives me a lot of confidence that I have done that this early.
“The job of this meet is to make the team and I was lucky to do that on the second night and once that job was out of the way then the job was to get a good time out of myself for the 200 free, which I am happy I did tonight.”
Her St Peters Western teammate Bronte Barratt executed a textbook final to secure her place on what will likely be her last Olympic Team. Swimming alongside her training partner McKeon, Barratt clocked 1:56.34 to slide under the qualifying time.
It was a trifecta for St Peters Western with 20-year-old Maddie Groves rounding out the top three in 1:57.74. Leah Neale (USC Spartans, QLD) was fourth and will be considered for a relay position, as will fifth place getter Tamsin Cook who already qualified in the 400m and Carla Buchanan (Acacia Bayside, QLD) who was sixth.
The pain and perseverance has paid off for Alicia Coutts (Redlands, QLD), locking in her ticket to Rio in the 200m individual medley. The silver medallist from London 2012, Coutts has overcome injuries and challenges to get form and fitness for these trials, knowing that Rio will be her Olympic swansong.
“I was pretty nervous before the race,” Coutts said.
“I just wanted to swim well. I knew I had to swim my own race. It really hurt a lot. I was hoping to go a bit faster – it wasn’t much faster than NSW States but I’m just happy to have secured a spot to go and just be there.
“I’m just glad that I didn’t give up when it was hard. I am glad I persevered and I can feel happy that I gave it everything and I want to finish on a high.”
Joining Coutts in Rio will be Kotuku Ngawati who trains alongside Mack Horton at Melbourne Vicentre, VIC.
“I was so, so nervous. I really had to pull myself together for it. It’s something I have been dreaming of since I was a little kid. Last Olympic trials I missed out. To turn a dream into reality is absolutely amazing. I’m thrilled. I’m speechless.”
Four years of hard work paid off for TSS Aquatic’s David Morgan who will now follow his mum to an Olympic Games, after using the “Jon Sieben tactics from LA in 1984” to power home over the final 50 metres to snatch victory in the 200m butterfly in a qualifying time of 1:55.63 – the only swimmer under 30 seconds for the last lap.
Morgan’s mother swam as Amanda James and was a 15-year-old on the Great Britain team at the 1976 Montreal Games in the 100m backstroke.
It was sweet redemption for second-placegetter Grant Irvine, who four years ago missed Olympic selection by the smallest fraction.
The 25-year-old, who won silver in the event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, put the heartache of missing selection for London behind him tonight, clocking a qualifying time of 1:55.73 to secure his ticket to Rio - becoming the seventh St Peters Western swimmer to make nomination.
In the semi-finals of the 100m freestyle, Cameron McEvoy sent a message to his competitors winning the opening semi-final with the fastest qualifying time of 48.09, with the veteran Matt Abood (48.89) edging out 17-year-old SA schoolboy Kyle Chalmers (49.06) and London silver medallist James Magnussen will also move through in sixth place with a 49.21.
“The warm-up is probably the worst I have felt all week so to come out and go 48 is exciting – it doesn’t happen often,” said McEvoy.
“That time would have got third at Worlds. So it’s good that I can do a time like that while feeling like this because it shows that I can step up and comfortably make that Olympic final from the semi,” said McEvoy.
But the surprise packet of the night came from Abood, the oldest swimmer in the field who set a blistering pace to turn first at the 50 and never let go of his lead.
The 29-year-old who won World Championship gold in the 4x100m freestyle relay in 2011, was decidedly unlucky at the Olympic trials four years ago, just missing a place in both the 50m and 100m.
A move to Canberra six months ago to train under Shannon Rollason is paying dividends for the veteran, clocking a 48 time for the first time since 2013.
“I thought I had something like that in the bag,” Abood said. “I’m pretty happy with it but that’s that and we still have tomorrow night to go.
“It will be another big race and I’m happy I’ll be a part of it. It will be a big occasion, I’ll be in the middle lanes and I am sure it will be an interesting race. There will probably be a few guys going out like scalded cats and other guys coming home just the same.”
A deserved place in the final went to the improving Commercial QLD sprinter Will Stockwell, whose father Mark won the silver medal in the blue ribband event in LA in 1984 after winning the Australian title in Brisbane.
Stockwell, who trains alongside Cate and Bronte Campbell at the Valley pool under Simon Cusack, clocked two personal best times in one day – 49.32 in his heat and 49.29 in the first semi-final.
The youngster left some beaming smiles on the faces of his father Mark and mother Tracy Caulkins – herself one of the USA’s swimming legends - a triple Olympic gold medallist from LA and a five-time world champion.
Meanwhile in the Multi Class events, the swimmers sent warning messages to their international rivals with a number of near world record times.
Nelson Bay’s Taylor Corry took the 100m Butterfly Multi-Class title, with a time of 1:09.63. She edged out Madeleine Scott (Canberra) who was second in 1:10.35 (854 points) and Prue Watt was third on 1:09.72 (811 points.
In the corresponding men’s event, Brenden Hall was victorious, the S9 swimmer taking the Multi-Class title in 1:02.13 (852 points). Veteran Sam Bramham who competed as a teenager at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games proved his comeback to swimming is in good form, coming second in 1:03.72 (790 points). Rick Pendleton of USC Spartans was third in 1:00.61 (788 points).
Following on from her impressive performance in the Multi Class 400m freestyle earlier in the meet Lakeisha Patterson continued her run of success, taking the title in the Women’s 200m Freestyle Multi Class final tonight. Patterson clocked 2:18.98 for a total of 988 points. The silver medal went to Kayla Clarke (2:16.25 – 772 points) with Katja Dedekind rounding out the top three in 2:20.97 for 754 points.
After narrowly missing the world record in his heat and amassing and almost perfect 999 points, Daniel Fox went after the world mark again in his final tonight. Fox hit the wall in 1:57.54, just outside world record time for a total of 968 points, making his intentions for Rio clear. The silver medal was awarded to Liam Schulter (1:59.57, 919 points), while Joshua Alford (2:00.05, 908 points) bagged the bronze.
Read more about the preview of the men’s 100m freestyle as well as the other Day 5 finals here - SPRINTERS
LOCKED AND LOADED FOR 100 METRE SHOOT OUT
Women’s 100m Butterfly Multi-Class
1. Taylor Corry S14 (Nelson Bay, NSW) 1:09.63 (937 pts)
2. Madeleine Scott S9 (Canberra, NSW) 1:10.35 (854 pts)
3. Prue Watt S13 (Cranbrook Eastern Edge, NSW) 1:09.72 (811 pts)
Men’s 100m Butterfly Multi-Class
1. Brenden Hall S9 (Lawnton, QLD) 1:02.13 (852 pts)
2. Sam Bramham S9 (Unattached, VIC) 1:03.72 (790 pts)
3. Rick Pendleton S10 (USC Spartans, QLD) 1:00.61 (788 pts)
Women’s 200m Freestyle
1. Emma McKeon (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:54.83
2. Bronte Barratt (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:56.34
3. Madeline Groves (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:57.74
Men’s 200m Butterfly
1. David Morgan (TSS Aquatics, QLD) 1:55.63 (896 pts)
2. Grant Irvine (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:55.73 (894 pts)
3. Keiran Qaium (Sydney University, NSW) 1:56.84
Women’s 200m Individual Medley
1. Alicia Coutts (Redlands, QLD) 2:09.95
2. Kotuku Ngawati (Melbourne Vicentre, VIC) 2:11.03
3. Blair Evans (UWA West Coast, WA) 2:11.14
Men’s 200m Freestyle Multi-Class
1. Daniel Fox S14 (Chandler, QLD) 1:57.54 (968 points)
2. Liam Schluter S14 (Kawana Waters, QLD) 1:59.57 (919 points)
3. Joshua Alford S14 (Tuggeranong Vikings, NSW) 2:00.05 (908 points)
Women’s 200m Freestyle Multi-Class
1. Lakeisha Patterson S8 (Unattached, QLD) 2:18.98 (988 points)
2. Kayla Clarke S14 (Waterworx, QLD) 2:16.25 (772 points)
3. Katja Dedekind S13 (UQ, QLD) 2:20.97 (754 points)
Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Club Relay
1. Melbourne Vicentre, VIC 7:35.09
2. Carlile, NSW 7:38.47
3. Yeronga Park, QLD 7:44.48
Heats will start at 11:00am SA time and will be live streamed at http://www.swimming.org.au/live-streaming.aspx