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Australian Dolphins | 11 March 2023

McKeown leads charge on night 2 of NSW Championships

World beating Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown, fresh from her 200m backstroke world record has nudged her own 100m backstroke world mark, clocking the fastest time in the world this year.

The 21-year-old from the Gold Coast clocked a time of 57.84 – just 0.39 outside her own world record, set at the 2021 Olympic Trials in Adelaide, on night two of the 2023 NSW State Open Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

It was just 0.08 faster than US rival Regan Smith who clocked the previous best time for 2023 of 57.92 at the US Pro Series Meet in Fort Lauderdale last week.

McKeown flew down the first 50m in 28.27, just 0.17 outside her own world record split, before powering down the second lap in 29.57 to clock her fourth fastest time ever – her sixth time under 58 seconds.

And the fastest time she has swum since her Tokyo assault in 2021 which saw her win gold in a new Olympic record time of 57.47.

McKeown will finish off her NSW program with the 200m individual medley – an event she and coach Michael Bohl are keeping in the mix as they prepare for this year’s World Championships and next year’s Paris Olympics.

Second home was World and Commonwealth 100m freestyle champion Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) in 59.41 – backing up after her third place finish to Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western, QLD) in the women’s 400m freestyle.

In the 400m freestyle it was Titmus who led from start to finish to win in a respectable 4:01.94 – the fourth fastest time in the world this year behind American superstar Katie Ledecky (3:59.71), versatile Canadian young gun Summer McIntosh (3:59.79) and New Zealand teenage hot shot Erika Fairweather (4:00.97) – and in heavy training.

The Tokyo star went through the 200m split in a comfortable 1:59.18 ahead of World Short Course champion Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD) 2:00.53 before swimming away over the back end, leaving Pallister in second place in 4:06.15 with O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) taking the bronze in 4:07.21.

Olympic bronze medallist in Tokyo, Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD) clocked the second fastest time of the year of 57.07 to win the women’s 100m butterfly – with the versatile American Regan Smith holding down top spot with her 56.60, swum in Fort Lauderdale.

Second home to McKeon was fellow two-time Olympian Brianna Throssell (St Peters Western) in 58.21 and 50m fly winner Alexandria Perkins (USC Spartans) 58.42.

And the depth in Australia’s men’s 4x200m freestyle squad surfaced again with 17-year-old Commonwealth Games gold medallist Flynn Southam (Bond, QLD) showing his maturity to bounce back from last night’s 100m freestyle when he split his swim suit before the final, to claim the win in 1:47.08 from World champion Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:47.26, another young gun in 19-year-old Kai Taylor (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:47.74, Olympian Alex Graham (Miami, QLD) 1:48.09 and late bloomer James Koch (Sydney University, NSW) 1:49.67.

And in the closing stages of the men’s 800m freestyle, later in the evening, 400m freestyle winner Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) swam away from the field to win the title in 7:57.25 from Matthew Galea (SOPAC, NSW) 8:0058 and Lachlan Walker (Griffith University, QLD) 8:03.62.

Olympic and World championship silver medallist Jenna Strauch (Miami, QLD) led all the way to add the 200m breaststroke in 2:25.68 to her 100m win from fellow Tokyo Olympian Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) 2:27.40 with Maitland’s Ashleigh Oberekar (Valley Aquatic, NSW) a close-up third in 2:28.58.

Meanwhile World and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Timothy Hodge (ACU Blacktown, NSW) landed his second Multi Class gold medal of the meet in men’s 100m breaststroke in 1:12.87 – adding the victory to his previous win in the MC 100m butterfly in 1:00.11.

And his teammate, two-time Paralympic 400m freestyle champion from Rio and Tokyo, Lakeisha Patterson (USC Spartans, QLD) also added gold number two in the women’s 400m freestyle MC in 4:45.05 after winning the 200m in 2:18.51.

And in one of the best races of the night, Tokyo Olympian Se-Bom Lee (Carlile, NSW) stormed home to snatch the men’s 200IM in 1:59.73 from William Petric (Nunawading, VIC) in 2:00.09 with Joshua Collett (Bond, QLD).