Australia Loses Olympic Breaststroke Ace Jenna Strauch For World Champs; Cate Campbell Also Out Of Trials

Kaylee McKeown, Jenna Strauch, Emma McKeon, Meg Harris of Australia celebrate after winning the silver medal in the 4x100m medley Women relay during the FINA Swimming Short Course World Championships at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre in Melbourne, Australia, December 18th, 2022. Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto
WINNING TEAM: Australia's gold medal winning 4x50m medley relay team at the 2022 Fina World SC Championships. (L-R) Emma McKeon, Jenna Strauch, Kaylee McKeown and Meg Harris. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Australia’s Dolphins Lose Olympic Breaststroke Ace Jenna Strauch For This Year’s World’s In Fukuoka and Cate Campbell Also Out Of Trials

Australia has suffered another major body blow on the eve of its World Championship Trials following the withdrawal of Tokyo Olympian and World Championship silver medallist, Jenna Strauch with a knee injury.

Dolphins head coach Rohan Taylor today confirmed that Strauch (Miami, QLD) and four-time Olympian Cate Campbell (Chandler, QLD), who had earlier declared her unavailability for the Fukuoka World’s as she plotted her comeback for Paris, would not contest this month’s Trials.

Jenna Strauch (AUS) training

OUT OF WORLD’S: Jenna Strauch will be a big loss for Dolphins. Photo Courtesy: Wade’s Photos

“Jenna has been managing a knee problem and she’s just not ready for this preparation so it’s not worth pushing it with the Olympics next year and World’s was never part of Cate’s comeback plans, and she will get back onto training after some good results at the recent Mare Nostrum tour,” said Taylor.

“Cate will also consider racing the World Cups later in the year and the World Championships in Doha next February.”

The Australian Trials for the July World Championships in Fukuoka will be swum at the Melbourne Sports And Aquatic Centre from June 13-18.

Strauch’s withdrawal comes after a previous injury blow to fellow Tokyo breaststroker, medley relay gold medallist, Chelsea Hodges (Southport, QLD), who had also been forced out for the season following career saving hip surgery.

Australia will now go into Fukuoka as the Tokyo Olympic medley relay champions – without both Hodges and Campbell and now Strauch who won gold and silver in the Australian medley teams over 4×50 (gold) and 4x100m (silver) at last December’s World Short Course Championships in Melbourne.

Australia’s female breaststroke responsibilities will now fall heavily on the shoulders of third Tokyo Olympic breaststroker, Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) who will have to swim her personal bests to make the qualifying times of 1:06.40 and 2:23.91.

Harkin has best times of 1:06.69 and 2.23.59 – while the fastest Australian 100m breaststroker this season is dual Olympic backstroke gold medallist Kaylee McKeown with her 1:06.88 to win the Victorian State title in January.

McKeown also holds the fastest season time over 200m breaststroke with her 2:24.18 to win the Australian title in April.

But McKeown will not swim either breaststroke event at the Trials -with the dual world record holder concentrating on her backstroke – where she will race the 50, 100 and 200m – adding the 200m individual medley and the 4x200m freestyle as she targets the 4x200mn freestyle relay.

McKeown has already had a memorable season -highlighted by her WR in the 200m backstroke of 2:03.14 at the NSW State Championships.

And with the loss of Hodges and Strauch, the notion that McKeown could now also be a contender for the breaststroke leg in the medley relay takes on a whole new possibility – especially with World 100m freestyle champion Mollie O’Callaghan’s 58.42 100m backstroke time (third in the world this season) and the likes of Olympic 100m freestyle champion Emma McKeon – who swam the butterfly leg in Tokyoheadlining Australia’s depth in the 100m freestyle – but more than likely to hold down the fly spot.

Even without Cate Campbell and her sister Bronte (who has entered the 50 and 100m freestyle at theTrials but is unavailable for Fukuoka) Australia has an embarrassment of sprint freestyle riches that includes Shayna Jack (St Peters Western) and Marion, SA Olympic relay golden pair Meg Harris and Madi Wilson – who incidentally still owns a 58.75 in the 100m backstroke from, the 2015 Kazan World Championships.

So could it be that the Dolphins will field Medley’s “Odd Squad” of three major championship winners all swimming different strokes in the Australian medley relay.

McKeon will swim the 50 and 100m freestyle and the 50 and 100m butterfly at Trials with O’Callaghan lining up in the 50, 100, 200m freestyle and the 50 and 100m backstroke.

Fellow Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western, QLD) will contest the 100, 200, 400 and 800 metres freestyle with her sights set on her first World Championships since Gwangju (KOR) in 2019 when she upset Katie Ledecky (USA)over 400m freestyle.

The men’s events will see Rio Olympic gold and Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Kyle Chalmers (Marion, SA) line up in the 100 and 200m freestyle and the 100m butterfly with defending world champion over 400m, Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) entered to swim every freestyle event – the 50, 100, 200, 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle.

Sam Short

WINNING SMILE: Sam Short World’s No 1 in the 400m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

With Sam Short (Rackley, QLD) the one to watch after his stunning world ranked No 1 time in the world this year of 3:42.46 in the 400m freestyle at the Australian Championships.

Short will also contest the, 200, 800 and 1500m freestyle – the event he won at last year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

While young guns Flynn Southam (Bond, QLD) and Kai Taylor (St Peters Western, QLD) will continue their emergence over 50, 100 and 200m freestyle.


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