Aussie ‘Awesome Foursome’ Puts on Early Speed Show at NSW State Champs

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DOUBLE TIME: Australia's dominant backstroker Mitch Larkin produced a spectacular double act in Sydney. P{photo Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW).

Aussie ‘Awesome Foursome’ Puts on Early Speed Show at NSW State Champs

Swimming Australia’s “awesome foursome” have blasted out their own double-barreled attacks on an action-packed day three of finals at the NSW State Open Championships in Sydney today.

Kaylee McKeown (USC Spartans, QLD), Mitch Larkin (St Peters Western QLD), Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western QLD), and Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD) all produced impressive double acts as the good times rolled at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, and with the Tokyo Olympics in sight.

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ON THE DOUBLE: Girl of the moment Kaylee McKeown produced a slick turn around and a NSW All-Comers record. Photo Courtesy: Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW).

McKeown (USC Spartans), the 19-year-old swimmer of the moment from the Queensland Sunshine Coast, started proceedings with a new NSW All-Comers record of 58.42 in the 100m backstroke.

But in a “shake your head moment” it came literally just minutes after her equal third placing (with Alice Stuart from TSS Aquatic) behind McKeon (Griffith University) in the 100m butterfly where she clocked a personal best time of 1:00.38.

“USC Spartans came here as a group to train hard and loading up on our events,” said McKeown, who had clocked a world class time to win the 200m backstroke yesterday of 2:05.66.

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MITCH IN TIME: Mitch Larkin building on his IM for Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW).

And then it was St Peters Western’s dual Olympian Larkin’s turn and inside 15 minutes, Australia’s dominant backstroker won the 200m backstroke in 1:57.16 before jumping up and churning through the 200IM, dipping under the two-minutes in a time of 1:59.88.

Larkin’s medley is certainly on the move, powered by his backstroke and fuelled by steady improvement in his other strokes – Larkin could well become the medley sleeper for Tokyo.

State Open NSW 2021

WINNING WEEKEND: Elijah Winnington scored a spectacular treble winning the 200,400 and 800m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW).

Winnington’s winning weekend also continued when he added the 200 (1:47.29) and 800m freestyle (7:52.88) double to his 400m win in 3:44.83) on Friday, saying after his 200m win: “It’s not so much about the time or the win but more about the execution.”

And his execution certainly caught the eye as he lined up against Olympic champion Mack Horton again in today, 800m, finished well behind Winnington in a time of 8:10.66 – with Alex Grant (Moreton Bay) and Jacob Hansford (St Peters Western) recording a remarkable dead heat for the bronze – both clocking 8:13.78 in a thrilling finish – the second dead-heat of the morning.

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FLOATS LIKE A BUTTERFLY…SWIMS LIKE A FISH: Cate Campbell takes flight in Sydney. Photo Courtesy: Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW).

And although it wasn’t a double victory, McKeon’s performance was certainly worthy – winning the 100m butterfly in a world class time of 56.65 – her third fastest time ever before pushing Cate Campbell (Knox-Pymble, NSW) all the way in a neck-and-neck shoot out in the women’s 50m freestyle final – losing by a fingernail.

State Open NSW 2021

HAPPY CAMPER: Emma McKeon has enjoyed a successful weekend back in Sydney. Photo Courtesy: Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW).


McKeon, who has already chalked up wins in the 50 and now the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle, took it to Campbell off the blocks and over the first 25m – before the powerful Campbell motored to the wall, taking the victory in a blanket finish 24.11 to 24.17 with the ever-present Madi Wilson (Marion, SA) third in 24.66 and Bronte Campbell (Knox-Pymble, NSW) fourth in 24.79.

Three-time World Junior champion Lani Pallister (Griffith University) started out the third day of finals with a swim that surprised even herself, leading all the way to take out the 400m freestyle in a classy 4:07.83 (28.93; 59.79; 2:02.51; 3:05.59).

NEC Lani Pallister pensive

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: Griffith University’s new recruit Lani Pallister a picture of concentration. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Even though they powered home, yesterday’s 800m freestyle quinella from TSS Aquatic (Southport) Kiah Melverton (4:09.08) and Maddy Gough (4:10.25) could not catch the former Sunshine Coast girl – now firmly entrenched under head coach Michael Bohl and her mother and personal coach Janelle Pallister at the Griffith Uni HQ on the Gold Coast.

Pallister sped through the first 100m just under the minute, before swimming away with the win an encouraging performance, saying: “I have always taken my races out hard from my early days as a youngsters and it is just something I have adopted…and learning to deal with the pain.

“But I am stoked with that time…..unrested and after my 4:13 in the heats last night, to back up this morning and swim 4:07 – just a second and a half outside my best…a pleasant surprise.”

State Open NSW 2021

TRADEMARK SIGNITURE: Olympic breaststroke hope wants it be the dominance force in breaststroke. aPhoto Courtesy: Nina Beilby (Swimming NSW)

Local boy Matt Wilson (SOPAC Swim Club) continued his breaststroke domination, winning the 100m final in 1:00.15 from Daniel Cave (Melbourne Vicentre, VIC) 1:01.52 and Rio Olympian Jake Packard (USC Spartans) 1:02.18, saying: “My goal has been to put my trade mark on the breaststroke events in Australia and to really become competitive on the world stage.”

In the women’s breaststroke, Bond University’s Jenna Strauch dug deep to defend her title in 2:24.49 from 100m winner Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) 2:256.26 and London Olympian Tessa Wallace (USC Spartans) 2:27.69.

While Carlile’s Ed Marks defended his title in the 50m butterfly winning in a time of 24.23 from Shaun Champion (Abbottsford) 24.50 and 200m butterfly winner Alex Quach (24.57)


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