On the final day of the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Australian Dolphin and Olympian, Marion’s Kyle Chalmers, secured his third Australian title to end the meet with 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle crowns.
With the splash and dash events kicking off the final morning, it was the ultra-competitive Chalmers who charged to the wall from lane three in 22.30 in the Men’s 50m Freestyle to claim the triple. As the second fastest Australian, St Peters Western’s Jack Cartwright nabbed second in 22.47 while James Roberts (Somerset GC) took bronze in 22.50 to round out the top three spots.
Speaking post-race, Chalmers said he wanted to maximise the opportunity to swim heats at night and finals in the morning.
“The goal is obviously to swim well in the heats but then be able to back it up and swim a bit faster in the morning, so I’ve been able to do that, which is the main goal for me and something I can take away,” Chalmers said.
“I’ve always kind of doubted my ability in the morning but that’s probably because I’m more of a finals swimmer than a heats swimmer.
“There’s been plenty of times when I’ve kind of been borderline semi-finals or finals because I’ve gone a bit too easy in the morning. I think it’s going to be beneficial swimming heats at night because I’ll be able to get myself up and then you’re in a final, so you’ve just got to be able to do it so there’s plenty of positives that I can take away.”
Australian Dolphin and triple Olympian, Cate Campbell (Knox Pymble), claimed her seventh crown in the corresponding event for the women, hitting the wall in 24.28 in the 50m freestyle. In a frenetic final, Emma McKeon (Griffith Uni) followed closely behind in 24.39 for silver and Bronte Campbell (Knox Pymble) placed third in 24.75 for bronze.
Speaking in the mixed zone after the final, Campbell said winning 50 metre races all comes down to the tiniest of margins.
“When you are swimming a 50 it’s almost like spinning a lottery wheel and you are just watching to see what it’s going to tick on,” Campbell said.
“It’s about consolidating my start. I’ve really put a lot of time and effort into bringing them up to scratch and I think you’ll find that I almost left the blocks at the same time as everyone else, as opposed to a couple of beats behind everyone.
“If you go back and look at old races, for me it’s been a big part – 50s are won and lost by hundredths of a second so even if I can get off the blocks a few hundredths faster then that’s a win.”
In a cracking Women’s 200m Breaststroke final, Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) took the spoils in 2:25.26 ahead of local athlete, Bond’s Jenna Strauch (2:25.54). Going head-to-head in lanes four and five, the crowd were on their feet as the pair battled towards the wall. The win marks Harkins first individual gold of the meet after placing second in the 100m and third in the 50m breaststroke events. Nunawading’s Zoe Deacon secured bronze in 2:27.20.
Chandler’s Zac Stubblety-Cook claimed the double in the breaststroke events during the championships, taking the Men’s 200m Breaststroke on the final day. Speeding down the pool in the middle lane alongside SOPAC’s Matthew Wilson, Stubblety-Cook pulled away with 15 metres to go to secure victory in 2:08.28 – bang on the Olympic qualifying time. Wilson touched narrowly behind in 2:09.44 to grab silver while Daniel Cave from Melbourne Vicentre bagged bronze in 2:14.22.
Rockingham’s Holly Barratt produced a stunning performance in the Women’s 50m Butterfly to not only claim back-to-back titles but – at 33 years of age – become the oldest Australian champion in any event. Posting 25.75, Barratt beat out Marion’s Madison Wilson (26.92), and as the third fastest Australian, Bond’s Abigail Schoorl scored bronze in 27.17.
In a spectacular finish to the Men’s 50m Butterfly, Shaun Champion (Abbotsleigh) lived up to his name, becoming the Australian champion in a time of 23.94. William Yang (Loreto Normanhurst) made a fast finish to place second in 24.08 while Carlile’s Edward Marks sped home in lane six to receive bronze in 24.25.
Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) continued on her winning way, scoring gold in the Women’s 800m Freestyle to add the middle-distance title to the 200m and 400m crowns. Clocking 8:23.13, Titmus had tough competition from TSS Aquatic’s Madeleine Gough who finished in 8:25.24, while Gough’s teammate, Kiah Melverton, scored bronze in 8:32.84.
In the final individual event of the meet, Noosa’s Nick Sloman took out the Men’s 1500m Freestyle in a handy time of 15:02.19. Rackley’s young gun Thomas Neill bagged silver in 15:07.23 and Chandler’s Jack McLoughlin grabbed bronze in 15:20.95.
Nunawading topped the point score with 1,890.50 points, with St Peters Western coming second with 1,432 and Rackley placing third with a total of 1,048.50 points.
Click here for all results, including Age and relays.