BRISBANE, Australia, April 6. THE final night of action at the Australian Nationals featured some sizzling swims across the board.
St. Pete’s Bronte Barratt blasted off in the women’s 400-meter freestyle with a winning time of 4:04.56. That performance finished just off Katie Ledecky’s top-ranked time of 4:04.46 posted at the Arena Grand Prix in Austin, and ahead of Jessica Ashwood’s 4:05.01 from the NSW State Championships to stand as the top Aussie so far this year.
Remy Fairweather, 17, took down the FINA World Junior Record with a second-place time of 4:06.02. That effort cleared the standing reference time of Elena Sokolova’s 4:06.30 from July of 2008. The World Junior Records are going to take awhile to sort out, especially considering Ledecky’s time from Austin is already faster and she’s younger than Fairweather.
SoPac’s Ashwood, meanwhile, snared third overall in the middle distance freestyle event with a 4:07.30, while Kylie Palmer of Chandler placed fourth in 4:-07.53.
In a star-studded men’s 50-meter freestyle finale, Eamon Sullivan proved he’s still a threat in the sprint department out of Australia. The 2008 Olympic silver medalist had been written off a bit in recent years as he’s continued to fight off injury after injury.
Sullivan, however, just has another chapter to write in a long career after touching out 100-meter free victor Cameron McEvoy, 21.90 to 21.97, this evening. Sullivan had already clocked the fastest time in the world with a scorching 21.65 during semis to move to the top of the SwimVortex world rankings yesterday. He did enough tonight to take home the title.
McEvoy cleared 22 seconds for the first time this year, moving to fifth in the world rankings. Meanwhile, James Magnussen and Matt Abood tied for third with matching 22.02s. Magnussen would have liked to have replicated his third-ranked 21.88 from the Australian Aquatic Super series tonight, but couldn’t muster up that same level of speed. That setup a swimoff for the third spot on the Commonwealth Games roster. Magnussen found that top-end speed he needed earlier with a 21.77 to 21.87 win against Abood.
Nudgee Brothers’s Emily Seebohm followed with a blazing time of 27.95 to win the women’s 50-meter backstroke tonight. That time broke a threeway tie with Aliaksandra Herasimenia and Mie Nielsen for third in the world rankings at 27.96. Only Georgia Davies (27.80) and Fu Yuanhui (27.91) have been faster than Seebohm this year. It also gave Seebohm the 50-100 backstroke double this week.
St. Pete training partners Meagen Nay (28.66) and Madison Wilson (28.67) had a close battle for second overall with just a fingernail’s difference at the wall.
In a swift men’s 200-meter IM finale, SoPac’s Daniel Tranter touched out Miami’s Thomas Fraser-Holmes, 1:57.66 to 1:57.88, for the win. Those are the second and third-fastest times of the year this year, behind Kosuke Hagino’s 1:55.90 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series.
St. Pete’s Mitch Larkin (1:59.29) and Mackay’s Justin James (1:59.98) also broke 2:00 to finish third and fourth this evening, as the duo both jumped into the top 10 in the world rankings with their swims.
Melbourne’s Mack Horton threw down the first sub-15:00 time of the year with a sizzling time of 14:51.55 to win the men’s 1500-meter freestyle tonight. That swim smashed the 15:01.71 set by Gergo Kis at the top of the rankings, and undercut Horton’s own World Junior Record reference time of 14:56.60 from last summer.
Miami’s Jordan Harrison, who won last year with a 14:51.02, placed second tonight in 15:03.24. Harrison’s teammate Matt Levings snared third in 15:09.67.
In relay action, Nunawading’s Belinda Hocking (1:01.30), Jessica Hansen (1:08.72), Ellen Gandy (59.59) and Ellese Zalewski (56.36) put together a 4:05.97 to win the women’s 400-meter medley relay. Trinity Grammar’s Bobby Hurley (54.53), Matt Treloar (1:02.99), Kenneth To (53.01) and Ben Schafer (50.59) claimed the men’s 400-meter medley relay in 3:41.12.
Laura Crockart put up a 16:17.36 to win the women’s 1500-meter freestyle, which is the second fastest time in the world behind Kristel Kobrich’s 16:15.89 from the South American Games. Chelsea Gubecka claimed second in 16:23.41 with Kareena Lee posting a third-place 16:24.81.
Katherine Downie cruised to the top-ranked time of 2:35.66 in the women’s 200-meter IM, while Madeline Scott (2:42.02) and Ashleigh Cockburn (2:48.07) raced to the second and third-ranked times in the finale. Kayla Clarke then ranked first in the women’s 100-meter fly with a 1:08.51 with Amanda Fowler (1:11.16) and Sarah Rose (1:35.54) ranking second and third. Mitch Kilduff followed with a 59.72 for the top ranking in the men’s 100-meter fly. Brenden Hall (1:01.17) and Daniel Fox (1:01.90) rounded out the top three.
Tanya Huebner was then ranked at the top of the women’s 50-meter breast with a 46.88. Hayley Morris (39.05) and Paige Leonhardt (39.84) earned the second and third-ranked swims. Blake Cochrane then topped the men’s 50-meter breast in 36.52 with Matt Levy (36.84) and Richard Eliason (31.64) finishing second and third ranked.