Aussie Trials Night 5 Finals: Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell To Lead Dolphins Sub-53 Super Group’ To Tokyo

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EMOTIONAL OVERFLOW: A relieved Cate Campbell hugs sister Bronte in an emotional moment after tonight's 100m freestyle final. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell To Lead Dolphins Sub-53 ;Super Group’ To Tokyo

A super charged Emma McKeon and an emotional and relieved Cate Campbell will spearhead Australia’s fastest ever collective group of freestyler sprinters to this year’s Tokyo Olympics with the first four placegetters in tonight’s 100m freestyle final in Adelaide all clocking under 53 seconds.

McKeon (52.19 in this morning’s heats) won a gripping final at the Australian Olympic Trials, in 52.35 from a relieved Campbell, who will join Emily Seebohm on her fourth Olympic team second (52.59).

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PRIMED: Emma McKeon now the No 1 freestyler over 100m in the world. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

But in a final never ever seen before in Australian swimming history, Madison Wilson (52.76) finished third, followed by 19-year-old Meg Harris (52.92), 27-year-old former world and Commonwealth champion, Bronte Campbell (53.08) and 17-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan (53.25).

Twice before in Australian Trials in 2019 and 2016 the top three places all went under 53 seconds – but tonight these girls achieved something reserved for an Olympics or World Championships.

The Australians now have four of the fastest times in the world for 2021 and five of the fastest seven in the Fina World Rankings.

The first six girls all swam under the Olympic qualification of 53.31 and will collectively give the Australians the fastest ever 4x100m freestyle relay team to leave the Australian shores and will go to Tokyo as the defending Olympic champions and reigning world champions.

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GRIPPING: A tearful and emotional Cate Campbell lets out her emotions,hugging sister Bronte, after making her fourth Olympic team and Bronte her third.  Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

The Campbell sisters had a tearful embrace together on pool deck – a huge relief and a special moment between a sister act who have been the faces of Australian swimming for the past decade.

Cate admitted it has been the most nerve wracking week of life.

“What a week it has been in the swimming pool,” said Campbell.

 

 

“I mean, when we look at the results, it’s such an exciting team to be a part of and to be going to a fourth Olympics is something that I am now incredibly proud to say that I have achieved.

It is tense, I knew that it was going to be a fast final. We just had four girls break 53 seconds, what is going on?

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EYE GOT THIS: Madi Wilson and Bronte Campbell share a moment after the women’s 100m freestyle final.Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

“The depth of talent in this event is just incredible and we’ve seen it go from strength to strength and I feel so privileged to be a part of it for so long.

“We’ve just shown that four girls can step up and swim under 53 seconds with a gun start, who knows what we can do with flying starts.”

“Young people always inspire me. They inspire me with their energy, their passion, their love for the sport, which as you get older, you get a bit jaded so it kind of reminds me why I do it.

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BEEN THERE DONE THAT: Bronte Campbell and Madi Wilson celebrating a race to remember. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

“What I love about Olympic trials is that moment where you see someone turn around and check the scoreboard and you see someone’s dream come true. You can see it in their eyes and in their face and and there has been so many magical moments this week and and I’m glad I got to have mine.”

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STOP THE FIGHT: After five years of toughing it out in the trenches, Tristan Hollard, finally achieved a lifelong dream – he’s an Olympian and going to Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Delly  Carr (Swimming Australia).

Meanwhile earlier in the night an emotional Tristan Hollard from Southport Olympic broke down after the 200m backstroke final, after putting his heart and soul into five years of ups and downs under coach Glenn Baker to claim his place on his first Olympic team in 1:56.44.

And fellow Gold Coaster, Jenna Strauch, the former Bendigo breaststroker who used to watch Leisel Jones on television will now go to the Tokyo Olympics and swim the same event as her hero.

The 24-year-old stormed home over the final 100m of the 200m breaststroke to clock a personal best of 2:23.12 – a time only ever bettered in Australian swimming by Jones (2:23.12) and Taylor McKeown (2:21.45).

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GIRLS….Jess Hansen, Jernna Strauch and Abbey Harkin…Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

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GIRLS….Photo Courtesy:Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

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GIRLS….it’s Tokyo Time…Photo Courtesy:Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

She and St Peters Western’s Abbey Harkin slugged it out with over the final stages with Harkin too clocking under the Qualifying time, clocking 2:23.59.

And her St Peters Western team mate Mitch Larkin has confirmed his decision to favour the 200m individual medley ahead of the 200m backstroke for Tokyo was not taken lightly.

The 27-year-old Rio silver medallist in the backstroke – clocked the second fastest time of the year – stopping the clock at 1:56.29 to win the 200IM ahead of 400IM qualifiers Nunawading’s Brendan Smith (1:58.82) and Carlile’s Se-Bom Lee (2:00.36). Brendan Smith, Se-Bom Lee 

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MEDALLY SURGE: Mitch Larkin surges to Tokyo with the second fastest 200IM time of the year and a real medley medal chance. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

After a sluggish 100m backstroke, for his standards, when he swam right on the qualifying time of 53.40, Larkin was on song tonight – clocking the second fastest time in the world this year.

Larkin, who holds the Commonwealth and Australian records at 1:55.72 – set in 2019 at the World Championships in Gwangju – was out in 25.22 in the butterfly; powering away in the backstroke in 28.79 (54.01) before attacking the breaststroke in 34.52 (1:28.53) and bringing home the freestyle in 27.76 (1:56.92).

He was under the qualifying time of 1:57.98 and while Smith and Lee didn’t make the time– Smith put himself in a position to add the 200Im to his 400IM for Tokyo – his time under the Fina A qualifying time.

“In warm-up I was actually feeling really good, so tonight was just about staying out of my head and letting it flow freely and I knew, 200 medley, the last 75 really burns and it’s just a matter of digging deep and then holding on,” said Larkin.

“I have a few things to work on, my ‘fly was a bit long into the wall, the breast turn was a little sloppy but they are really minor things.

“I am probably going to get crucified by (coach) Dean Boxall for lifting my head before I touched the wall a little bit…they all add up.

“Medley is about (carrying) as much speed from one stroke into the next and the best way to do that is with powerful turns.

“If you look at Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte, that is where they absolutely kill the rest of the world on their underwater work which is fantastic.”

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