The Campbell sisters stood tall, Kyle Chalmers took out his third race of the meet, the next generation of female backstrokers made a statement and Thomas Fraser-Holmes had the crowd on its feet on the final night of the 2019 Hancock Prospecting World Swimming Trials.
Kicking off the first event of the evening, there was no room for error in the Men’s 50m Freestyle, with the battle of the sprint kings all over in less than 23 seconds. Marion’s Chalmers steamed home in lane two to take top spot in 22.09 – narrowly outside the world championship qualifying time of 21.77. His victory marked his third of the meet, after also taking out the 100m and 200m freestyle. TSS Aquatic’s Cameron McEvoy clocked 22.29 to place second, while 19-year-old Jonte Blake from UWA West Coast finished strongly in 22.31.
Just as they have done so many times before, the Campbell sisters placed first and second in the Women’s 50m Freestyle splash and dash. As the current Commonwealth and Australian record holder it was Cate in 24.05 who finished 0.12 seconds ahead of Bronte, who was pleased to record a personal best time of 24.17. Griffith University’s Emma McKeon, who had an exceptional meet, also recorded a personal best of 24.25 to place third and make her the fourth fastest Australian of all time. In a show of depth, the trio all achieved the world championship qualifying time of 24.59.
Speaking on pool deck post-race, Bronte said she was thrilled to get an individual swim in South Korea next month.
“I am so happy with that and I think it’s been shown what women’s freestyle is in this country, and it’s pretty incredible,” Campbell said.
“You have the 200m which is absolutely world-class and the 100m where you have to go under 52.5 to get an individual spot on the team, and then again tonight Emma going faster than her PB again in the 50m.
“It is a huge honour, it has always been tough races to get into and that is why we are so good. It’s that we have always had two or three other girls pushing both of us along and each other.
“It means a lot, it has been a very disrupted prep and I was really proud of my time last night and really happy with that, it’s .05 off my best ever time so you can’t laugh at that.”
Our country’s next generation of female backstrokers made a statement in the Women’s 200m Backstroke on Friday evening, as 17-year-old Kaylee McKeown (USC Spartans) and 19-year-old Minna Atherton (Brisbane Grammar) snared first and second spot respectively. Fighting it out in lanes three and four, the duo both posted personal bests and earned a ranking in the Australian all-time top ten fastest times, with McKeown touching in 2:06.35 and Atherton 2:06.82. Emily Seebohm (Brisbane Grammar) clocked 2:08.58 to place third.
A delighted McKeown couldn’t contain her excitement after the race, saying she “couldn’t be much happier”.
“I haven’t been under 2:07 in about two years since last world champs, so it’s good to be back at that speed and get a bit of confidence,” said McKeown.
“I think we’ve just changed it up a bit and our training environment up at the university is really good and I’m grateful for all the support staff and obviously my coaches, we just managed to put it together really well.”
Personal bests were flying thick and fast on the final night of trials, as Nunawading’s Matthew Temple and TSS Aquatic’s David Morgan went stroke for stroke in the Men’s 100m Butterfly. There was nothing separating the duo when they touched the wall, coming equal first in a nail-biting race. Recording 51.47 makes them the third fastest Australians of all time. UWA West Coast’s Grant Irvine pushed hard all the way home, finishing ever so slightly behind in 51.62 and placing him as the fourth fastest Aussie.
In the final race of the night, with the crowd on their feet, Thomas Fraser-Holmes (Griffith University) secured his spot on the world championship team after powering home in the Men’s 400m Individual Medley. Finishing in 4:14.68 – under the qualifying time of 4:15.69 – the 27-year-old was delighted after the race.
“It’s just a really good effort to be back here. I’ve done a lot of training on my own, I’ve done 40-50km weeks on my own and you sort of think, ‘is it worth it?’ and on night’s like this it’s definitely worth it, when you get a qualifying time and make the team,” Fraser-Holmes said.
“I get a chance to represent my country again and represent it the best I can – I’m just really stoked to be back here.”
Following the conclusion of the 2019 Hancock Prospecting World Swimming Trials, a team of 27 Dolphins have been assembled to take on their international counterparts at the FINA World Swimming Championships in South Korea next month.