BRISBANE, Australia, April 1. THE West Illawarra-based McKeon siblings Emma and David put on a show to start the Australian Nationals and Commonwealth Games Trials with some fireworks as the best from Down Under claimed spots on the Aussie National Team headed to Glasgow this summer.
Waterworx’s Keryn McMaster topped the first finale of the evening with a 4:39.69 in the women’s 400-meter IM. That performance moved her to sixth in the SwimVortex world rankings this year, bettering the 4:40.93 she clocked at the Australian Aquatic Super Series in Perth earlier this year. It’s also faster than the 4:40.76 she used to win the race a year ago.
Olympian Ellen Gandy, swimming for Nunawading and in her first major Australian Trials since switching her allegiance from Great Britain, placed second in 4:41.11. That’s just a bit better than her eighth-ranked season best of 4:41.41 from the Victorian Open Championships in Melbourne this year. West Coast’s Jessica Pengelly finished third overall in 4:44.32.
West Illawarra’s David McKeon charged to the top of the world rankings in the men’s 400-meter freestyle with a 3:43.72 to win the finale. That swim helped him leapfrog Tae Hwan Park (3:43.96) into the top spot after collecting a swift second-ranked 3:44.95 during prelims this morning.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Vicent’s Mack Horton, who jumped to third in the world with a 3:46.87 at the NSW State Championships earlier this year, remains third albeit with a faster time at 3:44.60. Miami’s Jordan Harrison rounded out the top three in 3:47.42 to move to fourth in the world ,ahead of James Guy (3:47.75).
Another McKeon swam lights out as Emma rocked a 1:55.68 in the women’s 200-meter freestyle event. That time surpassed Kylie Palmer’s Australia record of 1:55.73 and threatened the Commonwealth record of 1:55.54 held by Great Britain’s Joanne Jackson as well as Laure Manaudou’s Australian All-Comers record of 1:55.52. That performance also put McKeon nearly on par with the likes of the All-World Sarah Sjostrom, who owns the top-ranked time this year with a 1:55.50 from the Golden Lanes International meet in France.
Bronte Barratt, last year’s winner with a 1:56.05, couldn’t replicate that time of speed as she still managed to take second in 1:56.61. That pushed her to third in the world, jumping ahead of Femke Heemskerk’s 1:57.08. Barratt’s training partners Brittany Elmslie (1:57.64) and Meagen Nay (1:58.43) set themselves in position for 800 free relay duty at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow with third and fourth-place finishes. Elmslie moved up to eighth in the world with her swim.
Commercial’s Christian Sprenger dominated the men’s 200-meter breaststroke finale with a scorching 2:08.63. That swim vaulted Sprenger past Marco Koch (2:08.84) into the top spot in the world, crushing Sprenger’s previously second-ranked swim of 2:11.09 from this morning. Sprenger and Koch are well ahead of the rest of the field with Mao Feilian standing third overall with a 2:11.32.
SoPac’s Daniel Tranter placed second in 2:12.26, while Buster Sykes took third in 2:12.95. Nicolas Schaeger made up the rest of the top four with a 2:13.00 with all four top swimmers beating Sykes’ winning time (2:13.25) from a year ago.
Southport’s Leiston Pickett cruised to the top seed in the women’s 50-meter breaststroke finale with a 31.17. That swim bettered her fifth-ranked season best of 31.20 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series, but just missed moving ahead of Rikke Moller Pedersen’s 31.11 into fourth.
Indooroopilly’s Lorna Tonks qualified second in 31.36, while Marion’s Sally Hunter (31.48) and St. Pete’s Georgia Bohl (31.57) earned third and fourth.
Sydney’s Nathaniel Romeo turned in a 23.82 to lead the men’s 50-meter fly semis, while SoPac’s Jayden Hadler touched second in 23.95. Cranbrook’s Mitchell Patterson (24.04) and Eamon Sullivan (24.13) rounded out the top four.
Redlands’ Alicia Coutts and Nunawading’s Ellen Gandy set up a potentially incredible finale with back-to-back times of 58.22 and 58.51 in semis of the 100-meter fly. Coutts already stands third in the world with a 57.60, while Gandy holds a fifth-ranked time of 58.16. The two might challenge Sarah Sjostrom’s 56.53 from the Golden Lanes International meet atop the rankings. SoPac’s Marieke D’Cruz and Emma McKeon qualified third and fourth with a 59.04 and 59.14, respectively.
Burley Griffin’s Ben Treffers smoked the semifinal heats of the men’s 100-meter back with a 53.55. That’s faster than the 53.63 Ashley Delaney used to win the national title a year ago, and vaulted Treffers to third in the world rankings behind only Kosuke Hagino (53.35) and Xu Jiayu (53.42). Delaney, meanwhile, qualified second in 53.67 to move to fifth in the world, while Mitchell Larkin posted a 53.87 for third. Larkin now stands seventh in the rankings with that swim. Bobby Hurley wound up fourth out of semis with a 54.36.
Sydney’s Erik Van Dooren (51.28), Te Haumi Maxwell (50.65), Andrew Abood (49.57) and Matt Abood (48.79) won the men’s 400-meter free relay with a 3:20.29, while Shane Asbury (51.09), Ashley Delaney (50.16), Dylan Warren (52.16) and Travis Mahoney (49.50) took second in 3:22.91.
Yeronga Park’s Rowan Crothers topped the men’s 100-meter free in 55.04 with Marion’s Matt Cowdrey taking second in 56.45. Lawnton’s Brenden Hall claimed third in 56.90. Maddison Elliott followed with a 30.13 to win the women’s 50-meter free, while Lake Patterson (32.27) and Taylor Corry (28.45) were listed second and third.
Daniel Fox followed up with a 24.77 to be listed first in the men’s 50-meter free. Mitchell Kilduff (25.17) and Andrew Pasterfield (24.05) were listed second and third. Tanya Huebner topped the women’s 100-meter breast results with a 1:41.86, while Kayla Clarke was listed second in 1:23.09. Hayley Morris was listed third in 1:24.21. Blake Cochrane closed out the night with a 1:18.94 to lead the men’s 100-meter breast. Ahmed Kelly (1:52.56) and Richard Eliason (1:10.08) rounded out the listed top three.