SYDNEY, Australia, February 28. ON the first day of the New South Wales State Championships in Sydney, it was Tae Hwan Park from Korea who finished the first day with a win and a third place. Park won the 400m freestyle, a race where he won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, with an impressive 3:43.96, a new world year’s best time. In a fast race, both second-placed David McKeon (3:46.39) and third-placed Mack Horton (3:46.87) also ended up the second and third spot on the list of the world’s fastest times.
In his second race of the night, Park swam a 48.42 in the 100m freestyle, the fifth fastest time of the year. In the race, he ended up third behind James Magnussen, who won the race with a 47.75 and Cameron McEvoy who touched the wall at 48.28. This was already the second time Magnussen swam a 47-second 100 free this year, after a 47.73 from January.
Jessica Ashwood provided the big sparks of the day with an Australian national record in the 800 freestyle, posting an 8:19.76 to beat Kylie Palmer’s six-year-old mark of 8:22.81 from 2008. Ashwood’s time would have been competitive at last year’s world championships, finishing fourth in the final. Ashwood, notably, was 10th at those world championships with an 8:27.74.
Emma McKeon, who finished the women’s 100m freestyle with a 53.80, is now the second fastest of the year behind countrywoman Cate Campbell, who posted a 53.08 last month.
In the men’s 50 backstroke, it was Bobby Hurley whose time of 25.10 put him on the first place of the race and second fastest of the year. Camille Lacourt from France who swam the world’s fastest time this year in Melbourne, Australia finished the race second after Hurley with a time of 25.30.
The Australian women continued to impress as Belinda Hocking also swam a world’s year’s best when she finished the 200m backstroke in 2:06.40, a race where she was an astonishing four seconds faster than second-placed Madison Wilson who finished in 2:10.40. Jennie Johnson from Sweden also added her name to the fastest times of the year. Her time of 1:07.38 in the 100m breaststroke made her fourth in 2014.
American Olympian Claire Donahue, visiting south of the equator for a three-week training trip, placed fifth in the women’s 50 fly with a 26.86. Brittany Elmslie won that race with a 26.14 ahead of Marieke D’Cruz (nee Guehrer) and her 26.20, as well as the 26.59 posted by Alicia Coutts and Madeline Groves in a tie for third.
Click the link below for more results from Sydney.