Aussie Trials Night 6: Kaylee McKeown Clocks 2:04.28 For Commonwealth Record In The 200m Backstroke

OFF THE BLOCKS: Kaylee McKeown shows her starting technique for Swimming Australia's official photographer Delly Carr, high in the gantry of the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre

World ranked number one Kaylee McKeown has tonight continued on her record breaking way to this year’s Tokyo Olympic Games – with Matthew Temple and Ariarne Titmus joining the record rush in a spectacular first hour of the final night of the Australian Trials in Adelaide.

McKeown set a new  Commonwealth and Australian records in the 200m backstroke in the first event and 25 minutes later the tough-as-teak tradie from Nunawading, Temple added his third event for  Tokyo, setting a new Australian record in the 100m butterfly with a huge personal best time of 50.45 – just 0.06 slower than the time Joesph Schooling swam to win the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Before Titmus (St Peters Western) added a new National mark to her Commonwealth records in the 200 and 400m freestyles from earlier in the week – clocking 8:15.57 to take the 800m freestyle from Kiah Melverton (TSS Aquatic) 8:19.05, who adds the 800m to her 1500m individual swim.

McKeown,  who set a new world record in the 100m backstroke on night one of these Trials, was narrowly outside world record pace and nudged the red world record line with 20 metres to swim, clocking 2:04.28 – 1.07 outside US girl Regan Smith’s 2019 world mark of 2:03.35.

The 19-year-old from USC Spartans was out in 29.24 (world record split 29.06) before splitting 1:00.54 (world record split 1:00;37) before coming off the final turn in 1:32.30 (world record split 1:31.84).

She was pushed all the way by soon to be announced four-time Olympian, 29-year-old, Emily Seebohm (Griffith University) – adding the 200m to her Tokyo program in 2:06.38, with Minna Atherton (Moreton Bay) third in 2:09.24 – all three under the Olympic qualifying standard of 2:09.40.

McKeown said after the race that it was definitely a “really painful 200 backstroke.”

“Coach Chris Mooney and I always have this thing where there is someone to chase and I am still chasing down Regan Smith (the world record holder) and there’s a lot of other guys now chasing me down, once you get to that number one spot it’s even harder to stay there.
“I actually said to Mooney in warm-up, I think it’s all starting to get to me, I had the shakes before that race and I don’t usually get that. It’s definitely a learning experience.”

Men’s 100m Butterfly

Matt Temple was out in 23.67, powering off the wall to clock his 50.45 – to 0.40 off the 2009 “supersuit” Australian record set by Beijing bronze medallist Andrew Lauterstein of 50.85. Second place went to David Morgan (TSS Aquatic) – already qualified in the 200m butterfly – in a Tokyo qualifier of 51.67 with emerging 21-year-old from Sydney’s Shaun Champion (Abbotsleigh, NSW) third in a personal best of 51.93. Cody Simpson (Griffith University) finished eighth in 52.94, just 0.10 slower than the time he swam to qualify for the final.

Women’s 50m freestyle 

In a classic finish Australia’s “sprint twins” Emma McKeon (Griffith University) and Cate Campbell (Knox Pymble) – 1-2 in last night’s 100m freestyle showdown  went head-to-head again tonight with the pair going head-to-head in the 50m freestyle with McKeon (23.93) again getting the money ahead of Campbell (23.94) – by just 0.01, with Bronte Campbell (Knox Pymble)  third in 24.46.

Women’s 800m freestyle

Ariarne Titmus will now swim three individual events – the 200, 400 and 800m freestyle – up against the greatest women’s freestyler in history – and the 4x200m freestyle relay in the best form of her life with her Australian record of 8:15.57 (28.83; 59.92; 2:02.75; 4:08.46) coming home in the second 400m in 4:07.11. Melverton’s 8:19.05 was not only a new personal best but makes her the third fastest Australian in history -behind Titmus and Jess Ashwood (8:18.14).

Men’s 50m freestyle

The Olympic qualifier of 21.77 always looked to be out of reach for Australia’s sprinters but a rejuventated 2012 and 2016 Olympian Cameron McEvoy (third in the 100m freestyle) and assured of a third Games on the 4x100m freestyle relay in Tokyo sure had a crack, stopping the clock at 22.07 ahead of TSS Aquatic team mate Grayson Bell (22.6) and  2016 Olympian James Roberts (22.21). McEvoy back from the swimming wilderness 12 months ago – lost to the sport but with impeccable timing back for a third Olympics.

The men’s 1500m freestyle

Chandler’s Rio Olympian Jack McLoughlin has qualified for his third individual event for the Games – adding the 1500m tonight in 15:52.69 from 17-year-old Rackley Centenary rising star Samuel Short breaking 15 minutes for the first time – clocking 14.57.22 – just outside the automatic qualifying time of 14.55.06.

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