A PB from Isaac Cooper, a clarion call from former World Champion Elijah Winnington (pictured) and in all, six Dolphins – plus the 4x100m women’s freestyle team – into the first finals’ session of the World Swimming Championships in Doha.
It was a successful first morning of heats for the Australian swim team in Qatar which also included the senior debut of Jaclyn Barclay, hitting the water as first change following Alex Perkins in the women’s 4x100m relay, and helping Australia to qualify first for the final in 3min:38.33.
Team leader Winnington set the tone early qualifying fastest in a loaded 400m field that included Tokyo Olympian Ahmed Hafnaoui and Germany’s Lukas Martens, stopping the clock at 3:44.37 and while Martens will line up beside Winnington in the final, Tunisa’s Hafnaoui failed to qualify.
Meanwhile, Cooper and Cam McEvoy are into the semifinals of the men’s 50m butterfly – 20-year-old Cooper in a personal best of 23.15 and McEvoy touching in 23.19.
The experienced Brianna Throssell and Perkins booked semifinal berths in the women’s 100m fly while Sam Williamson will line up in the semifinal of the men’s 100m breaststroke.
Kiah Melverton carried the Dolphins’ hopes in the 400m and finished just outside the final in 4min:10.61.
It is the first time that a long course (50m pool) World Championships has been held in the same year as an Olympics and McEvoy and Shayna Jack, a silver medallist in the women’s 50m freestyle at last year’s Worlds, view this meet as vital race preparation ahead of the Paris Olympics.
Jack has continued her outstanding relay form for the Dolphins, anchoring the 4x100m freestyle relay team with the quickest time in the field (52.83 secs) however, the heat combination of Jack, Barclay, Perkins and Abbey Harkin could yet be tweaked.
Tune in to Channel 9 from 2am (AEST) to cheer on our Dolphins for Day 1 Finals:
> Men’s Freestyle 400m final – Elijah Winnington
> Women’s Butterfly 100m semi-finals – Brianna Throssel & Alex Perkins
> Men’s Butterfly 50m semi-finals – Isaac Cooper & Cam McEvoy
> Men’s Breaststroke 100m semi-finals – Sam Williamson
> Women’s Freestyle 4x100m finals