Commonwealth Games Australia has announced a 70-strong swimming team for next month’s 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The team was announced on the Gold Coast following the four-day Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials at the Optus Aquatic Centre.
Made up of 49 able-bodied swimmers and 21 Para-sport athletes, Queensland dominated team selection with 40, followed by NSW (10), Victoria (nine), WA (six) and SA (five).
The team continues swimming’s strong family ties at the Commonwealth Games with three sets of siblings; Chandler sisters Cate and Bronte Campbell; Griffith University’s sister-brother combination Emma and David McKeon and USC Spartans sisters Kaylee and Taylor McKeown.
There is also a father daughter on the team with Griffith University’s Georgia Bohl and father, team coach Michael Bohl.
It was a special night for the Bohls and the McKeons – with Michael Bohl along with Ron McKeon and wife Susie Woodhouse all members of the 1982 Commonwealth Games team in Brisbane.
The two youngest members of the team are 13-year-old Jasmine Greenwood (Bay and Basin) and 16-year-old Kaylee McKeown while the oldest members of the group are Holly Barratt (UWA) and Matt Levy (North Sydney) 31.
Commonwealth Games Australia Team Executive Andrew Baildon - a five time Commonwealth Games swimming gold medallist, congratulated the team, saying: "We have witnessed a great few days up here on the Gold Coast at the Australian Swimming Trials.
“There has been some amazing performances throughout the trials and it has really given us a great taste of the action we can expect to see from our team in April. It is very exciting.
“I know how special it is to be named on an Australian Commonwealth Games Team and I feel extremely humble to welcome these 70 swimmers on to TeamAUS for Gold Coast 2018."
Cate Campbell capped a stunning return to the team with a record breaking 50m freestyle win on the final night in front of a packed Aquatic Centre; which included a host of swimming legends, vocal fans, VIPs and the Patron of our sport, Mrs Gina Rinehart.
Campbell clocked 23.79 seconds, 0.05 under her National mark set in 2016 with Bronte second and club mate Shayna Jack third – taking the Campbells tally to seven quinellas at the last seven National titles.
Cate had a stellar trials, also claiming the 100m freestyle crown and took gold in her new event, the 50m butterfly.
Campbell's mark was the third National record broken at the trials, with her own 50m butterfly National mark, and 17-year-old Ariarne Titmus' new mark in the 400m freestyle this week plus a world record for our para sport swimmer Lakeisha Patterson.
“It is a personal best. They don't come around often at the ripe old age of 25 so I will take them when I can," Campbell laughed.
Campbell said she now felt vindicated taking a 2017 sabbatical to deal with her Rio Olympic disappointment despite some early concerns.
"To be honest the first couple of weeks [back in pool] I was a bit worried but after a while your body remembers.
"It's a big weight off my shoulders knowing I can come out and improve under pressure.
"I feel I am in a much better place to cope with that."
Besides Campbell, former dual world champion James Magnussen's comeback from a year off also ended in smiles after snatching his final chance to nab a top three finish and earn an individual swim for the Games.
Returning from a break, Magnussen finished third in the 50m freestyle final with injury plagued veteran James Roberts securing his first national title at the age of 26.
Roberts clocked 21.97 seconds ahead of Cam McEvoy with Magnussen claiming bronze.
Magnussen had one last chance to earn his own swim at the Games after finishing fourth in his pet event 100m freestyle.
Titmus was certainly one of the stars of the meet and will now captain the St Peters Western Lutheran College school team in Wednesday’s Queensland Girls State Secondary School Swimming carnival on Wednesday after becoming the first woman to claim the 200m-400m-800m National treble in 14 years.
Meanwhile, former-world champion backstroker Mitch Larkin claimed an upset 400m individual medley gold then backed up in the next event to earn 50m backstroke bronze behind winner Zac Incerti.
Other winners on Saturday night were Jack McLoughlin who upset Mack Horton in the 1500m freestyle, Emily Seebohm (50m backstroke) and Blair Evans (400m IM).
National head coach Jacco Verhaeren said: “I am very pleased with the people that qualified. I think we've got, almost without exception I'd say, the best people in their best events.
“I think that's important because if you want to defend titles and want to make the most out of the medal prospects in five weeks’ time you need your best people there.
“We want a full team and we want to compete in every event for medals. It's that simple as that.
“The A times are the reference, top eight in the world is our goal. You know that's our yardstick for how we track and what we want to achieve.
“And that will be the yardstick as well for Pan Pacs later on in the year because then we're going back to A qualifying times without any exemption.
“But this is Commonwealth Games and it's always great actually to be able to select a little bit of a broader team.
“It's great that they can grow experience in a multidisciplinary environment like the Olympics really; and it's one of the very rare events you actually have where you can practice being in that environment and definitely Rio and London 2012 showed that that is really necessary.”
Verhaeren was excited with the crop of new faces on the Games team, praising Swimming Australia’s Pathways Program.
“We are working with our pathway performance staff, Jamie Salter and Glen Berringen and they work hard on developing systems, together with the State head coaches to basically pick up any young swimmer that has that potential,” said Verhaeren.
“We're definitely trying to get more systemised and pick up these guys.
“James Magnussen was one of those guys actually as well.
“Three years before the Olympics he was invisible and then suddenly he is picked up and goes to a great coach and great program and becomes world's fastest swimmer.
“And sometimes it can work like that and with so many fantastic facilities and school swimming and everything, there's still a lot (of talent) out there that we still have to explore.”
Australian swimming team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games (49 able-bodied, 21 Para-Sport athletes):
Jessica Ashwood (Qld), Minna Atherton (Qld), Jesse Aungles (SA), Meg Bailey (NSW), Hayley Baker (Vic), Holly Barratt (WA), Joshua Beaver (Vic), Emily Beecroft (Vic), Georgia Bohl (Qld), Rohan Bright (NSW), Bronte Campbell (Qld), Cate Campbell (Qld), Jack Cartwright (Qld), Kyle Chalmers (SA), Blake Cochrane (Qld), Ellie Cole (Qld), Timothy Disken (Vic), Katherine Downie (WA), Blair Evans (WA), Daniel Fox (Qld), Alexander Graham (Qld), Jasmine Greenwood (NSW), Madeline Groves (Qld), Matthew Haanappel (Vic), Brenden Hall (Qld), Jessica Hansen (Vic), George Harley (WA), Timothy Hodge (NSW), Mack Horton (Vic), Liam Hunter (Qld), Zac Incerti (WA), Grant Irvine (Qld), Shayna Jack (Qld), Mitchell Kilduff (NSW), Mitchell Larkin (Qld), Paige Leonhardt (Qld), Matthew Levy (NSW), Clyde Lewis (Qld), James Magnussen (NSW), Travis Mahoney (SA), Ashleigh McConnell (Vic), Cameron McEvoy (Qld), James McKechnie (SA), David McKeon (Qld), Emma McKeon (Qld), Kaylee McKeown (Qld), Taylor McKeown (Qld), Jack McLoughlin (Qld), Kiah Melverton (Qld), David Morgan (Qld), Leah Neale (Qld), Jake Packard (Qld), Lakeisha Patterson (Qld), Leiston Pickett (Qld), Logan Powell (Qld), James Roberts (Qld), Liam Schluter (Qld), Madeleine Scott (Vic), Emily Seebohm (Qld), Mikkayla Sheridan (Qld), Zac Stubblety-Cook (Qld), Laura Taylor (Qld), Tiffany Thomas Kane (NSW), Brianna Throssell (WA), Ariarne Titmus (Qld), Ben Treffers (Qld), Tessa Wallace (Qld), Matthew Wilson (NSW), Elijah Winnington (Qld), Bradley Woodward (NSW).
Head Coach: Jacco Verhaeren
Mentor Coaches: Rohan Taylor, Jan Cameron
Coaches: Peter Bishop (SA), Michael Bohl (QLD), Dean Boxall (QLD), Harley Connolly (QLD), Simon Cusack (QLD), Nathan Doyle (QLD), Craig Jackson (VIC), Adam Kable (NSW), David Lush (QLD), Chris Mooney (QLD), Chris Nesbit (QLD), Vince Raleigh (QLD), Richard Scarce (QLD), Gavin Stewart (NSW), Yuriy Vdovychenko (ACT).