Sunday, June 16, 2024

2024 Australian Olympic Trials: Day 2 Finals Live Recap

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2024 AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC TRIALS

We’re ready to rumble on day two of the 2024 Australian Olympic Trials. Speculation and predictions are running rampant as we’ll see the men’s and women’s 100m back, the women’s 100m breast and the men’s 200m free unfold over this evening’s high-octane session.

That means the likes of Mollie O’Callaghan, Kaylee McKeown, Isaac Cooper, Jenna Strauch, Maximillian Giuliani, Elijah Winnington and more will be in the pool to either qualify for their first Olympic event or add a 2nd swim to their repertoire for Paris.

WOMEN’S 100 BACK – FINAL

GOLD – Kaylee McKeown, 57.41 *OLY Qualifier
SILVER – Mollie O’Callaghan, 57.88 *OLY Qualifier
BRONZE – Iona Anderson, 58.43

This women’s 100m backstroke was simply incredible, with two swimmers breaking the 58-second barrier.

Reigning world record holder and Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown was under world record pace at the 50m, touching in 28.00 before she fell off pace just at the end.

The 22-year-old Griffith University superstar still ripped a massive time of 57.41, just .08 outside her 57.33 WR from last year.

Her time represents the 2nd-best 100m backstroke ever and she continues to own 8 of the top 10 swiftest performances in history.

Additionally, McKeown’s time established a new All Comers Record, usurping her 57.45 from 2021.

  1. McKeown – 57.33, 2023 World Cup Budapest
  2. McKeown – 57.41, 2024 AUS Olympic Trials
  3. McKeown – 57.45, 2021 AUS Olympic Trials
  4. McKeown – 57.47, 2020 Olympic Games (2021)
  5. McKeown – 57.50, 2023 AUS World Trials
  6. Smith – 57.51, 2024 Nova Speedo Grand Challenge
  7. McKeown – 57.53, 2023 World Championships
  8. Smith (USA) – 57.57, 2019 World Championships & McKeown – 57.57, 2024 NSW State Open
  9. McKeown – 57.63, 2021 Sydney Open & McKeown – 57.63, 2023 World Cup Athens

However, McKeown wasn’t alone under the 58-second threshold, as 20-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan joined her, hitting a huge personal best of 57.88.

Entering this competition, multi-Olympic medalist O’Callaghan’s PB sat at the 58.09 notched at this year’s Australian National Championships to become the #2 Aussie performer ever.

History worldwide, MOC’s eye-catching effort now inserts here in slot #4, becoming just the 4th swimmer ever to break the 58-second barrier.

Top 5 Women’s LCM 100 Backstroke Performers All-Time

  1. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) – 57.33, 2023
  2. Regan Smith (USA) – 57.57, 2019
  3. Kylie Masse (CAN) – 57.70, 2021
  4. Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS) – 57.88, 2024
  5. Kathleen Baker (USA) – 58.00, 2018

Not to be overlooked, reigning World Championships silver medalist Iona Andrson checked in at 58.43, dropping .10 off her newly-minted PB of 58.53 nabbed last month at the WA Season Opener.

Post-race, McKeown stated, “I was a bit disappointed with that. There are some improvements to be made. Glad to have another swimmer in the 57-club.” McKeown already qualified last night by winning the 200m IM in a new national and Commonwealth record.

O’Callaghan said, “That really hurt. To touch in 57.8 is just amazing. More to come this week, definitely nervous but great way to start it off.”

Of note, new mom Emily Seebohm bumped herself up from 8th out of the heats to 7th, clocking 1:01.14. The world record holder in the SCM 100 back, Minna Athertonplaced 8th in 1:01.22.

WOMEN’S 100 BREAST – FINAL

  • World Record – 1:04.13, Lilly King (USA), 2017
  • Australian Record – 1:05.09, Leisel Jones, 2006
  • Oceanic Record – 1:05.09, Leisel Jones, 2006
  • Commonwealth Record – 1:04.82, Tatjana Schoenmaker (RSA), 2021
  • Swim Australia OQT – 1:06.31

GOLD – Jenna Strauch, 1:06.90
SILVER – Ella Ramsay, 1:06.94
BRONZE – Sienna Toohey, 1:07.01

While no woman was able to meet the stiff Swimming Australia-mandated Olympic Qualification Time of 1:06.31, veteran Jenna Strauch sealed her comeback after missing last year’s championship season with a knee injury.

The 27-year-old from Miami touched in 1:06.90 to grab the gold (31.74/35.16), albeit narrowly over runner-up Ella Ramsay who scored silver in 1:06.94. Ramsay already qualified for Paris in the women’s 200m IM last night.

15-year-old Sienna Toohey put up a smashing performance for the bronze, clocking a monster new personal best of 1:07.01.

She fired off a rapid opening half of 31.01, in itself a split faster than her own Australian Age Record of 31.34 in the 50m breast she established this past March at the NSW State Championships.

Toohey’s overall time slashed well over half a second off her previous personal best of 1:07.72 put up at this year’s Australian Age Championships. She now overtakes legendary Olympian Leisel Jones‘ Australian Age Record, which stood at 1:07.49 for nearly 24 years.

Most likely Strauch will be selected for the Australian Olympic team as she’ll be needed for the medley relay.

MEN’S 100 BACK – FINAL

  • World Record – 51.60, Thomas Ceccon (ITA), 2022
  • Australian Record – 52.11, Mitch Larkin, 2015
  • Oceanic Record – 52.11, Mitch Larkin, 2015
  • Commonwealth Record – 52.11, Mitch Larkin, 2015
  • Swim Australia OQT – 53.21

GOLD – Isaac Cooper, 53.46
SILVER – Bradley Woodward, 53.53
BRONZE – Enoch Robb, 54.14

The men’s 100m back was also void of any individual qualifiers, as St. Andrews’ Isaac Cooper got to the wall in a time of 53.46. That was just .03 outside of his lifetime best, a mark which remains at the 53.43 turned in during the semi-finals of this event at the 2020 Olympic Games where he placed 12th.

25-year-old Bradley Woodward was just out-touched by Cooper and settled for silver in 53.53, also within range of his personal best of 53.38 from the 2023 World Championships.

Finally, 19-year-old Enoch Robb established a head-turning personal best en route to bronze. The All Saints swimmer clocked 54.14 to overtake the 54.38 he registered at last year’s World Junior Championships

30-year-old national record holder and Olympic silver medalist from this event in Rio, Mitch Larkin, put up a time of 54.22 to place 4th this evening. He was gunning for a 4th Olympic slot and would have been the first Australian male to have accomplished the feat.

As with Strauch, Cooper will most likely be taken to Paris as the backstroker for the men’s medley relay.

MEN’S 200 FREE – FINAL

  • World Record – 1:42.00, Paul Bidermann (GER), 2009
  • Australian Record – 1;44.06, Ian Thorpe, 2001
  • Oceanic Record – 1:44.06, Ian Thorpe, 2001
  • Commonwealth Record – 1:44.06, Ian Thorpe, 2001
  • Swim Australia OQT – 1:45.97

GOLD – Maximillian Giuliani, 1:45.83 *OLY Qualifier
SILVER – Tommy Neill, 1:46.02
BRONZE – Elijah Winnington, 1:46.08

The men’s 200m free was built up as the race of the night, however, just one man was able to achieve the Swimming Australia-mandated Olympic Qualification Time of 1:45.97.

Maximillian Giuliani was that swimmer, nailing a Paris 2024-worthy time of 1:45.83.

Giuliani was somewhat on the outside in lane 6 and saw Zac Incerti blaze to the front of the pack through about the 150m mark before the field moved in on the Olympian.

Tommy Neill, bringing outside smoke from lane 1, caught up to Incerti and stopped the clock in 1:46.02 to place 2nd before last night’s 400m free victor, Elijah Winnington, captured 3rd in 1:46.08.

Giuliani busted out the swim of his life at last year’s Queensland Championships, producing a career-quickest 1;44.79 to become Australia’s #2 performer of all-time behind Olympic icon Ian Thorpe‘s 1:44.06 from 2001.

Neill’s PB remains at the 1:45.70 notched at the 2021 Olympic Trials while Winnington’s  stays at the 1:45.53 he scored at the 2022 World Championships.

With the men’s 4x200m free relay in mind, here were the remaining results of this men’s 2free:

4th – Kai Taylor, 1:46.26
5th – Zac Incerti, 1:46.83
6th – Alex Graham, 1:47.11
7th – Flynn Southam, 1:47.29
8th – Brendon Smith, 1:47.53

We’ll see how the overall Australian roster plays out as the week wears on, but history tells us the nation will most likely take the top 6 swimmers from this event.

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