The popular mixed relays will open the fourth night of racing at the FINA World Swimming Championships (25m) in Melbourne.
All eyes will be on lanes five and six with the Australians and USA tipped to take their rivalry to a new level.
The Aussies hold the long course World Record in the Mixed 4x100m relay that they set at the FINA World Championships earlier this year in Budapest. However, the USA hold the short course World Record, set in 2018.
Qualifying fastest in lane four is the French side, which is sure to feature former Olympic champion Florent Manaudou who will also line up in the semi final of the Men’s 50m Freestyle.
Victorian product Jenna Strauch has qualified into tonight’s 200m Breaststroke final.
Fresh from winning silver at the World Championships long course earlier this year, the 25 year old, who hails from Bendigo, is excited for the opportunity to once again represent Australia, this time with home crowd support behind her.
“For so many years we’ve been overseas competing with barely anyone from home.
“So, to be able to experience this and celebrate the last couple of years that we’ve had as a team with our families is something that’s super memorable for them, and even more memorable for us,” she said.
Strauch is hoping tonight she can build on what has been an incredible year for the Bendigo native.
What makes her results even more incredible is the fact that she was almost forced to give the sport away 10 years ago due to illness.
Suffering with three different parasites she was forced to sleep most days, losing a large amount of muscle-mass and weight. Fighting her way back to be at the top of her game, she’s ready to take on the world’s best in the short course format.
“I am a longer [course] swimmer but you can’t always sit in our comfort zone. I’m really excited to be in a final at short course, to give it a crack tonight and just see where it lands me… that’s the game plan for tonight.
“I’m just going to put it all out there and leave no stone unturned,” she said.
After setting an Oceania Record in the heats, and then bettering his time in the semi finals to set a new World Junior Record and Oceania Record of 22.52, Aussie Isaac Cooper will be one to watch in the Men’s 50m backstroke final.
“I was racing to the best of my ability in the heat, but I looked at some footage and saw a couple of areas I could approve upon,” Cooper said following his strong semi-final performance on Thursday night.
“I didn’t really have the energy that I wish that I could have [in the semi], so to be able to drop some more time without really feeling that good is incredible and if I can get some more energy and focus on my execution in the finals, maybe I can drop a bit more time as well.”
The 100m backstroke bronze medallist will line up alongside the 100m backstroke gold and silver medalists, Ryan Murphy from the USA, and Italy’s Lorenzo Mora, as well as Kacper Stokowski from Poland who pipped Cooper in the heats.
A star-studded field will line up in the Women’s 50m backstroke with Australia’s Mollie O’Callaghan the headliner for the locals. She’ll face tough competition from Canada’s Maggie MacNeil (defending champion) and Kylie Massie.
USA’s Nic Fink will be looking to add the Men’s 200m breaststroke title to his 100m gold from earlier in the meet, but he will face stiff competition from Japan’s Daiya Seto and Ippei Watanabe with the two fastest qualifying times.
Australia’s Lani Pallister will be on the hunt for an historic fourth gold medal of the meet, when she lines up in the Women’s 1500m Freestyle final.
Catch all the action live and free across the Nine Network live from 7:30pm AEDT.