Australian Dolphins | 12 March 2023
Olympic Champions Sparkle on Final Night of NSW Championships
The 2023 NSW State Open Swimming Championships have come to an exciting climax at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic centre with Olympians Mollie O’Callaghan, Kaylee McKeown and Emma McKeon and Carlile’s medley maestro Se-Bom Lee producing the swims of the night.
O’Callaghan, the 2022 world champion in the 100m freestyle from Budapest last year held her nerve to topple Olympic champion and training partner Ariarne Titmus in an epic 200m freestyle final at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
While Tokyo debutant, Lee added the 400IM gold to his 200IM win from night 2 in another classic neck-and-neck battle with Nunawading teenager Will Petric, Lee winning in 4:17.79 from Petric in 4:18.74 and his Nunawading teammate Elliot Rogerson (4:22.83)
But in what was a preview of bigger things to come later in the season, rising star O’Callaghan led an all-star St Peters Western, QLD podium finish, timing her final 50m to perfection to win the NSW 200m title in 1:55.27 from Titmus (1:55.53) with Shayna Jack (1:57.29) who led the field bravely through the first 100m, a gallant third.
It places O’Callaghan at No 3 in the world this year behind Canadian wunderkind Summer McIntosh’s world junior record of 1:54.13 and Katie Ledecky’s 1:54.96, with Titmus equal fourth with Hong Kong’s Siobhan Haughey.
In a rare achievement, Australia’s premier club provided the top four finishers with two-time Olympian Brianna Throssell claiming fourth place in 1:57.85 and another St Peters Western athlete, Eve Thomas sixth in 1:59.19.
A sixth St Peters Western swimmer Kiah Melverton, who was a member of the world record breaking 4x200m freestyle relay team in Birmingham, finished second in the B final in 2:00.82 behind emerging Bond, QLD 16-year-old Milla Jansen in 2:00.26.
All the more remarkable after head coach Dean Boxall’s punishing training camp to Thailand and following the Australian Dolphins Camp on the Gold Coast.
It is another enormous show of strength and the depth of not only the St Peters Western program, but re-affirming Australia’s super depth in the countdown to this year’s World Championships and next year’s Paris Olympics.
The Australian team of SPW trio Titmus, O’Callaghan, Melverton and Madi Wilson – who cut her teeth under Michael Bohl at St Peters Western early in her career – set the only world record in Birmingham and will be the team to beat in the count down to 2024.
Olympic gold has eluded the Australians since Beijing in 2008 and it looks like the Dolphins will again have a plethora of talent to choose from over the next two years with the race just to be on the Australian team sure to be just as fierce as the Olympics themselves.
Also in tonight’s final was four-time FINA World Short Course champion Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD) who finished fifth in tonight’s final in 1:58.68, Olympic 4x100m freestyle relay gold medallist Meg Harris (Marion, SA) 1:59.48 seventh followed by emerging teens Olivia Wunsch (Carlile, NSW) 2:00.22 and Isabella Boyd (Nunawading, VIC) 2:00.74.
O’Callaghan, Wilson, Pallister and Leah Neale combined to shatter the Short Course World record in 4x200m freestyle in Melbourne last December.
Meanwhile star of the meet Kaylee McKeown finished her campaign in style, adding two more gold medals in the 200IM and the 50m backstroke to her world record breaking 200m backstroke on the opening night and her fastest time this year to win the 100m backstroke.
McKeown’s winning time in the medley of 2:08.27 was a new NSW All-Comers record, only 0.08 outside her best of 2:08.19, set in 2019 and 0.24 seconds outside Canadian McIntosh’s leading world time of 2:08.08 – set at last week’s Tyr Pro Series in Fort Lauderdale.
In other events:
Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD) turned the clock back six years to win the 200m butterfly in 2:07.79 (1:00.28) from Brittany Castelluzzo (Tea Tree Gully, SA) 2:10.72 and 15-year-old Mikayla Bird (Bond, QLD) 2:12.20 out-touching Abbey Connor (Revesby Workers, NSW) by one-one-hundredth of a second in 2:12.21.
Australia’s most successful Olympic and Commonwealth Games medallist clocked her personal best times of 2:07.37 and 2:07.49 back in 2017.
Triple Olympian Cameron McEvoy (Somerville House, QLD) won a helter-skelter 50m freestyle final in 22.08, from Thomas Nowakowski (Somerset, QLD) 22.19 with Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers (Marion, SA) third in 22.37.
Olympian Isaac Cooper (St Andrews, QLD) 54.49 held on to win a thrilling men’s 100m backstroke final from Commonwealth Games freestyle sprinter Will Yang (SOPAC, NSW) 54.70 with Josh Edwards-Smith (Griffith University, QLD) third in 54.79.
Griffith University’s Lachlan Walker was a convincing winner of the men’s 1500m freestyle in a personal best of 15.27.10 leaving Stuart Swinburn (City Of Sydney) 15.36.67 and Robert Thorpe (St Peters Western, QLD) 15.37.49 to fight out a thrilling stroke-for-stroke battle for the minor places.
The men’s 100m butterfly saw Tokyo Olympian and Birmingham Commonwealth Games silver medallist in this event, Matthew Temple (Marion, SA) steal the final from lane two in 52.18 (24.39) with fastest qualifier Shaun Champion (Abbotsleigh, NSW) taking silver in 52.89, with Cody Simpson (Griffith University, QLD) third in 52.90.
Tokyo Olympian Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) was the only swimmer under 32 seconds, winning the 50m breaststroke in 31.81 from Maaike Vrij (Surrey Park, VIC) 32.18 with 17-year-old Tilly King (Bond, QLD) 32.23.
The men’s 200m breaststroke final, saw visiting Japanese Olympian in Tokyo, Shoma Sato was a comfortable winner in 2:11.11 from emerging 20-year-old Sydney boy Angus Menzies (Knox Pymble, NSW) 2:13.68 and WA’s Adam Chillingworth (Peel Aquatic) in Mandurah 2:15.38.
In the Multi-Class finals:
Paralympic gold medallist and world record holder Benjamin Hance (St Andrews, QLD) continued on his winning way and showing all his class, taking the 100m backstroke in 57.85 from15-year-old emerging youngster S14 Declan Budd (Knox Pymble, NSW) 1:07.77 and Jarred Dyer (Wollongong, NSW) 1:08.35.
Paralympic bronze medallist Tom Gallagher (Somerset, QLD) was impressive winning the 100m freestyle gold medal with his time of 53.69 ahead of Alex Tuckfield (SLC Aquadot, NSW) 56.14 and Liam Schluter (USC Spartans, QLD) 55.10.
Hannah Price (Campbelltown, NSW) won the women’s 100m backstroke in 1:14.11 from Jenna Jones (USC Spartans, QLD) 1:15.58 with Taylor Corry (Kincumber Pacific Dolphins) third in 1:14.56, while;
Jasmine Greenwood (Cruiz, ACT) won the 100m freestyle in 1:03.12 with Jones second in 1:03.78 and 400m freestyle winner and two-time Paralympic champion Lakeisha Patterson (USC Spartans, QLD) third in 1:05.73.