ADELAIDE, Australia, May 3. THE Campbell sisters did it again, closing out the Australian nationals with the top two spots in the 50 freestyle to replicate their 100 freestyle finish, while Australian distance swimming took a major leap forward today in the men's 1500 free.
Swimming Australia has implemented qualifying times for the world championships that are faster than the FINA A qualifying standards. Specifically, the top two finishers must equal or beat the time swum by the eighth-place finisher at the 2011 world championships in non-Olympic events.
Cate Campbell's 24.27 in the 50 free today gives her the top time in the world in this event and the 100 free going into the world championships. Her 50 time would have won silver at the 2012 Olympics, and knocks down reigning Olympic champion Ranomi Kromowidjojo on the world rankings, her 24.30 from early April now the second-fastest swim of 2013. Campbell is inching closer to her lifetime best, a 23.99 that she swam to win bronze at the 2009 world championships.
Bronte Campbell's 24.59 to place second puts her third in the world and gives the sisters an opportunity to push for medals in the splash-and-dash in Barcelona. Third through fifth place all dipped under Australia's qualifying time of 25.05, showing major depth in the sprint events. Britta Elmslie was third with a 24.91, and Alicia Coutts fourth in 24.96. In fifth place was 14-year-old Shayna Jacks, who swam a 25.03. One would imagine a swim that fast would set a new age-group record, but Yolane Kukla swam a 24.74 at the junior Pan Pacific championships in 2010 to give 14-year-olds in Australia something to chase for a long time. Kukla, now 17, had a subpar meet, reaching the championship final in only the 100 butterfly, finishing fourth.
Jordan Harrison's previous lifetime best before stepping up for the final of the men's 1500 free was 15:15.76 from last summer. Today, he not only achieved a new personal best, but blasted through the 15-minute barrier with a winning time of 14:51.02. That not only puts the 17-year-old at second in the world behind Sun Yang's 14:48.10, but ranks him third in Australia's all-time performers behind legendary Olympic champions Grant Hackett and Kieren Perkins. Another 17-year-old, Mack Horton, also dipped under 15 minutes with a runner-up time of 14:59.66 to place himself fifth in the world. However, Horton's swim was not faster than Australia's world championship qualifying standard of 14:58.30, so he will not swim the event in Barcelona. In third place was Ryan Napoleon with a 15:24.25.
Thomas Fraser-Holmes wrapped up a rollercoaster of a meet with a national and Commonwealth record in the men's 400 IM, swimming a 4:10.14 to break his own national record of 4:11.81 from last year's Olympic Trials, and Great Britain's Thomas Haffield's Commonwealth record of 4:11.32 from 2009. The time is third-fastest in the world for 2013, just behind Federico Turrini's 4:11.55 and light years behind Kosuke Hagino's 4:07.61. Fraser-Holmes competed in the 2012 Olympic final of the 400 IM, placing seventh with a 4:13.49. Well back in second was Travis Mahoney with a 4:18.09, and Jared Gilliland was third with a 4:19.31.
Two non-Olympic events featured a couple of close battles today. Daniel Arnamnart won the men's 50 backstroke in 24.90 over Ben Treffer's 24.97. Ashley Delaney took third with a 25.35. With Australia not selecting swimmers for the world championships in non-Olympic events, Sweden's Jennie Johansson was able to race in the women's 50 breast final, winning with a 30.83. Leiston Pickett placed second with a 30.86, while Alicia Coutts rounded out the top three with a 31.47. Coutts managed to place in the top four in all of 50-meter events this week.
Australia's tougher time standard of 4:38.18 in the women's 400 IM was too fast for Keryn McMaster, who won the event with a 4:40.76. The time is faster than the FINA A standard of 4:44.53, as was Samantha Hamill's second-place time of 4:42.79. Taylor McKeown put up a 31.87 in the final 50 meters of freestyle to almost catch Hamill, settling for third with a 4:42.83.
Below is the list of swimmers who qualified to swim pool events at the world championships for Australia:
Men: Matthew Abood, Ashley Delaney, Tommaso D'Orsogna, Thomas Fraser-Holmes, Alexander Graham, Jordan Harrison, Grant Irvine, Jarrod Killey, Mitch Larkin, Matson Lawson, James Magnussen, Cameron McEvoy, Ned McKendry, David McKeon, Brenton Rickard, James Roberts, Christian Sprenger, Matt Targett, Kenneth To, Chris Wright, Daniel Tranter
Women: Jessica Ashwood, Bronte Barratt, Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell, Alicia Coutts, Brittany Elmslie, Sally Foster, Belinda Hocking, Samantha Marshall, Ami Matsuo, Emma McKeon, Megan Nay, Kylie Palmer, Melanie Schlanger, Emily Seebohm
Open Water team: Simon Huitenga, Rhys Mainstone, Jarrod Poort, Danielle De Francesco, Melissa Gorman, Chelsea Guebecka, Bonnie MacDonald