Rackley Swim Team’s Sam Short has tonight swum the fastest time in the world this year in a stirring victory in the men’s 400m freestyle at the Australian Swimming Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.
Short, 19, clocked a personal best time by over two seconds to win the title in a time of 3:42.46 – the fourth fastest time ever by an Australian – quicker than Australian all-time great Grant Hackett.
The time puts Short in the company of some of Australia’s greatest ever 400m swimmers and he is now right on track for this year’s World Championship Trials in Melbourne in June, with his sights set firmly on the World’s in Fukuoka and Paris 2024.
Only Olympic champions Ian Thorpe (3:40.08) and Mack Horton (3:41.55) and reigning World champion Elijah Winnington (3:41.22) who Short beat in tonight’s final have ever swum faster than him.
Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) couldn’t match it with Short tonight, finishing second in 3:46.39 with Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team, QLD) third in 3:49.28. Horton was seventh in 3:54.31.
“I really pushed that second and third 100m and put everything I had left into the last two laps and it ended up being a two second pb – I was not expecting that,” said Short, who won the 1500m freestyle at last year’s Commonwealth Games, finishing with the silver behind Winnington in the 400m.
In a lightning fast start to the four-day championships, World and Commonwealth Games champion Mollie O’Callaghan out-touched St Peters Western team mate Shayna Jack by just the barest margins in a gripping women’s 100m freestyle final.
Jack took the race out hard and led for 99.9 metres – with O’Callaghan taking the victory in 52.63 to Jack’s 52.64 in the last stroke in another distinct show of remarkable depth in this women’s 100m freestyle in Australia.
The pair left the Olympic champion Emma McKeon in third in 53.22, with former world record holder, world champion and Tokyo bronze medallist Cate Campbell equal fifth in 53.78.
In other highlights, triple Olympic backstroke gold medallist Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) opened up her campaign in fine style, setting a new Australian All-Comers record in the 200m individual medley with a time of 2:08.16 ahead of fellow Commonwealth Games representative Jenna Forrester (St Peters Western, QLD) in a pb of 2:09.32.
Another Birmingham representative, Ella Ramsay (Chandler, QLD) finished with the bronze in 2;12.39.
Only Australian record holder and 2008 Olympic champion Stephanie Rice (2:07.03) and Alicia Coutts(2:08.15) have ben faster.
And for McKeown the time maintained her place on the 2023 world rankings, second behind Canadian wunderkind and world junior record holder Summer McIntosh (2:06.89) with Forrester moving up the rankings to be fourth all-time Australian and fifth in the world this year.
The men’s 100m breaststroke saw Olympic champion over 200m breaststroke, Zac Stubblety-Cook power home over the final 25 metres to defend his title on 1:00.07 ahead of rising star Joshua Yong (UWA West Coast, WA) 1:00.57 with former world record holder over 200m breaststroke, Matthew Wilson (SOPAC, NSW) third in 1:00.68.
It was Wilson who was out quickest over the first 50m in 28.22 but it was Stubblety-Cook, who has been training at altitude at Flagstaff in Arizona, who has the best back end in the business, unstoppable over the final stages.
The men’s 50m butterfly saw Bond 20-year-old Ben Armbruster turn disappointment into triumph – disqualified in the heats and re-instated into the final, claiming the win in a new Australian All-Comers record of 23.05.
While in the time was 0.06 quicker than legendary Australian butterflyer, Olympic bronze medallist and former world champion, Geoff Huegill’s 2009 time of 23.11 – set in the supersuit era.
There was a fist pump from Armbruster, coached by Olympic gold medal coach Chris Mooney, after touching the wall and after a dramatic day – finishing ahead of two of Australian swimming’s biggest names in Kyle Chalmers (Marion, SA) 23.35 and Cameron McEvoy (Somerville House, QLD) 23.65.
The time also ranks Armbruster second fastest Australian of all time behind Commonwealth and Australian record holder, 2012 Olympian Matt Targett’s 2009 super suit time of 22.73.
The Multi Class events, which are the Trials for this year’s World Championships in Manchester, saw some great swimming in the morning preliminaries as well as the finals – with times swum in in the morning also counting for selection.
The stars of the day included Tokyo silver and bronze medallist and recent world record setter Timothy Hodge (ACU Blacktown), two-time Paralympic champion over the 400m Lakeisha Patterson (USC Spartans, QLD), rookie Poppy Wilson (Yeronga Park, QLD), Jack Ireland (University of Queensland, QLD) and Katja Dedekind (Yeronga Park, QLD) who qualified in the 400m freestyle in the morning’s heats.
Hodge won the 400m freestyle in 4:15.48 in a battle of the S9s from two-time Paralympic gold medallist Brenden Hall (USC Spartans, QLD) 4:18.16 with Harrison Vg (University of Queensland, QLD) 4:24.59.
While Patterson asserted her authority as she heads towards another World Championship campaign – taking the 400m crown in 4:44.31 from Wilson 4:49.25.
Ireland, an S14, won the 200m freestyle in 1:56.40 – but clocked a faster time 1:55.19 in the heats.
2023 Australian Swimming Championships, Day One, FINALS:
- Sam Short (Rackley Swim Team, QLD) 3:42.46
- Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) 3:46.39
- Tommy Neill (Rackley Swim Team, QLD) 3:49.28
- Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler, QLD) 1:00.07
- Joshua Yong (UWA West Coast, WA) 1:00.57
- Matthew Wilson (SOPAC, NSW) 1:00.68
- Ben Armbruster (Bond, QLD) 23.05 Aust All-Comers Rec
- Kyle Chalmers (Marion, SA) 23.35
- Cameron McEvoy (Somerville 23.65
- Bradley Woodward (Mingara Aquatic, NSW) 1:57.42
- Josh Edwards-Smith (Griffith University, QLD) 1:57.63
- Ty Hartwell (Chandler, QLD) 1:57.84
400m freestyle Multi Class
- Timothy Hodge S9 (ACU Blacktown, NSW) 4:15.48
- Brenden Hall S9 (USC Spartans, QLD) 4:18.16
- Harrison Vig S9 (University of Queensland, QLD) 4:24.59
200m freestyle Multi Class:
- Jack Ireland S14 (University of Queensland, QLD) 1:56.40
- Liam Schluter S14 (USC Spartans, QLD) 1:56.95
- Darren Sisman S14 (Engadine, NSW) 1:59.31
50m butterfly Multi Class
- Nicholas Layton (Propulsion, VIC) 24.92
- Dylan Logan (Melbourne, VIC) 26.24
- Declan Budd (Knox Pymble, NSW) 27.88
- Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 52.63
- Shayna Jack (St Peters Western, QLD) 52.64
- Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD) 53.22
- Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western, QLD) 8:20.19
- Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD) 8:24.72
- Madeleine Gough (Carlile, NSW) 8:26.08
200m individual medley
- Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) 2:08.16 Aust All-Com Rec
- Jenna Forrester (St Peters Western, QLD) 2:09.32
- Ella Ramsay (Chandler, QLD) 2:12.39
- Jenna Strauch (Miami, QLD) 31.16
- Mia O’Leary (Bond, QLD) 31.29
- Talara-Jade Dixon (St Hilda’s WA) 31.53
400m freestyle Multi Class
- Lakeisha Patterson S9 (USC Spartans, QLD) 4:44.31
- Poppy Wilson S10 (Yeronga Park, QLD)4:49.
- Chloe Osborn S7 (ACU Blacktown, NSW) 5:29.15
200m freestyle Multi Class
- Madeleine McTernan (All Saints, QLD) 2:13.01
- Ruby Storm (St Andrews, QLD) 2:14.85
- Jade Lucy (SLC Aquadot, NSW) 2:17.73
50m butterfly Multi Class
- Paige Leonhardt S14 (USC Spartans, QLD) 29.92
- Taylor Corry S14 (Kincumber Pacific Dolphins, NSW) 30.50
- Montana Atkinson S14 (Helensvale, QLD) 31.39