The first three nights of finals at the 2019 Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide have seen some solid performances returned from WA’s elite stars.
Some familiar names in the form of Brianna Throssell, Blair Evans, Holly Barratt and Kat Downie have all earned podium finishes by the half-way mark of the meet, whilst teenage talent Ashton Brinkworth has turned heads amongst the red-hot men’s 100m freestyle field.
With this year’s national titles acting as pre-cursor to June’s Selection Trials in Brisbane for the FINA World Championships in Korea, many of the country’s senior stars are competing in Adelaide whilst still in heavy training blocks. Despite this, the first three nights of finals have still seen some highly encouraging results and times posted.
The first night of finals at the Australian Championships was highlighted by the women’s 100m freestyle showdown of Australia’s best two-lappers.
Cate Campbell won the title in a time of 52.35 which suggests she’ll be in line to threaten her national record of 52.03 which was set in 2018 ahead of the Commonwealth Games.
Campbell won the race ahead of Emma McKeon (52.84) and Shayna Jack (53.20), whilst Western Australians Brianna Throssell (53.80) and Holly Barratt (55.25) finished fourth and seventh respectively.
With Throssell targeting 200m distance events in both freestyle and fly in 2019, her time showed she’s in great form, whilst for Barratt, her swim was a six-year personal best, showing that at age 31, she has plenty left in the tank.
2018 World Short Course team member Nicholas Brown (53.07) was fourth to the wall in the final of the men’s 100m fly, which was interestingly won by freestyle specialist Kyle Chalmers (52.07).
With the 4x100m Mixed Medley Relay set to feature as a new Olympic event in Tokyo 2020, a UWA-West Coast team featuring Zac Incerti (back), Alex Milligan (breast), Brianna Throssell (fly) and Jemima Horwood (free) earned a bronze medal in the final event of night 1.
The quartet clocked 3:55.40 but were never in the hunt for gold behind a St Peters team featuring Mitch Larkin (back), Abbey Harkin (breast), Clyde Lewis (fly) and Shayna Jack (free). They won the title in 3:48.05.
The men’s 100m freestyle stole the show on night 2, with Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers winning gold in a time of 47.48 which was quicker than his title winning effort in Rio.
Earlier however, 19 year-old Ashton Brinkworth swam a 49 second flat in the heats to gatecrash the final, and his fifth placed effort in 49.40 in the final has earned him a qualifying time for the 2019 World University Games.
The UWA-West Coast dasher also swam in the final of the men’s 50m fly where he took sixth place in 24.32, with the title going to William Yang (23.23). Nicholas Brown finished eighth in 24.58.
Brianna Throssell snared a silver medal in the women’s 100m fly. She ducked well under her qualifying time to touch home in 57.52, which was bettered only by Emma McKeon’s 56.85. Holly Barratt earned another final, coming home in sixth, in 1:00.38.
Blair Evans swam home to a bronze medal in the 400m Individual Medley final, with the World, Olympic and Commonwealth Games representative clocking a time of 4:41.97. The title was won by Kaylee McKeown (4:40.25) ahead of Calypso Sheridan (4:41.97).
Alex Milligan took to the final of the men’s 200m breaststroke and narrowly missed the podium in what proved to be a lightening quick race. Matthew Wilson broke the Australian record in winning the championship title in a time of 2:07.16, with Milligan fetching 2:13.63.
Paralympian Jeremy McClure took sixth place in the men’s 100m backstroke multi-class final in a time of 1:12.58. Timothy Hodge won the gold medal in 1:02.73.
Katherine Downie won a silver medal in the 200m IM Multi-Class with the 23 year-old clocking 2:34.54 to finish behind national champion Jasmine Greenwood (2:31.93).
Holly Barratt returned to her preferred stroke in the 50m back on night three, breaking through for her first medal of the campaign to date. Her time of 28.22 was good enough for third, behind Kaylee McKeown (27.65) and Minna Atherton (28.03).
Brianna Throssell (1:56.91) was agonisingly close to another medal in the final of the women’s 200m freestyle but a slight glide touch to the wall probably cost her a bronze medal as she was edged by 0.01 of a second by Madison Wilson (1:56.90).
Ariarne Titmus swam a superb final to break the Australian record in 1:54.30 ahead of Emma McKeon (1:56.00). On the broader front, the Australian women’s 4x200m freestyle relay looks to be in excellent shape ahead of this year’s World Championships.
Alex Milligan faded in the final of the men’s 200m Individual Medley to take eighth place in 2:08.38, which was three second down on his qualifying swim. Mitch Larkin won the national title in 1:56.83. The IM is not Milligan’s specialist event however.
Jeremy McClure was back in the pool for his second final, this time taking fourth place in the men’s 50m backstroke multi-class. His time of 33.84 accrued him 708 points, whilst gold medallist Timothy Hodges’ time of 29.70 earned him 866 points.
All live results can be followed here.