DUEL IN THE POOL: USA Leads Australia 159-148 After Thrilling Pool Start In Sydney

SOPAC IN DUEL MODE

DUEL IN THE POOL: USA Leads Australia 159-148 After Thrilling Pool Start In Sydney

On the back of powerful displays from sprint trio Shaine Casas, Michael Andrew and Ryan Held coupled with a brilliant freestyle double to Bella Sims saw the USA open up an 11 point lead after the opening night’s pool action against Australia in the innovative Duel In The Pool in Sydney tonight.

After 21 events it’s the USA who lead the Dolphins 159 points to 148 with the final day’s racing of new events combined with traditional racing set to climax at a packed Sydney Olympic park Aquatic Centre tomorrow night.

TEAM USA ON POOL DECK

FLYING THE FLAG: Team USA enjoying the moment on the pool deck in Sydney Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

A blistering final relay leg from World and Commonwealth champion Mollie O’Callaghan gave Australia a winning start with O’Callaghan, the rising star of the powerful Dolphins women’s team, powering home over Mallory Comerford to continue her dominance in 2022.

 

The Australians trailed the US through the backstroke (Justin Ress over Bradley Woodward) and breaststroke (Michael Andrew over Zac Stubblety-Cook) with Gabi Albiero holding off Emma McKeon in the butterfly.

And it came down to the power and the underwater skills on the final leg and she showed what makes her the girl most likely en-route to Paris in 2024.

But from then on it was a true Duel In The Pool with the visitors showing their wares in the men’s 100m butterfly with an impressive win to reigning US National champion Shaine Casas in 50.86 claiming double points, the men’s 100m breaststroke to triple world championship medallist Michael Andrew in 59.77 and a convincing 100m freestyle win to Ryan Held in 48.20.

While both teams pulled off their double dip points rush in the first two Skins events with McKeon claiming maximum points over American Beata Nelson in a fourth 50m duel after foxing down the final shoot out knowing the Australians had called the “double dip” for another swim while the US replied in the women’s 100m breaststroke with Kaitlyn Dobler repeating the dose over Australia’s Chelsea Hodges as strategies played a key role.

DUEL RELAY

JEWELS OF THE POOL: Mollie O’Callaghan high fived by Kaylee McKeown after Australia’s medley relay win. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Sims won a brutal women’s broken 400m freestyle (1×200; 1×100 and 1x100m) before backing up in the final individual event to win the 200m freestyle in 1:57.75, ahead of Australia’s Lani Pallister in 1.58.08.

Australia hit back with a win to Meg Harris in the 50m freestyle in a sizzling 1-2 finish for the Dolphins ahead of Madi Wilson – 24.44 to 24.62 to keep the Aussies in the hunt.

While 2016 Olympic champion Mack Horton produced the “iron man” performance of the night winning the broken 800m freestyle (1×300; 2x 200 and 1x 100) coming from behind in the 200s and producing a final 100m split of 53.19 in the toughest performance of the night to take the victory.

There was a staggered start to cater for the multi-class swimmers in the 100m freestyle with US Paralympic star Mackenzie Coan hanging on to her lead to take the win before Australia’s Will Martin won the Mixed Para Form Stroke Skins event.

Australia used their powerplay with their power women in the 4x100m medley relay led out by triple Olympic and world and Commonwealth champion Kaylee McKeown leading the Dolphins team of Brianna Throssell, Jenna Strauch and Mollie O’Callaghan to a resounding win over the US foursome.

300177795_1044648279576237_2965630218008038535_n

DUEL HUGS ARE SKINS DEEP: Beata Nelson and Emma McKeon after their butterfly Skins.. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

World champion Justin Ress and triple US world championship medallist Michael Andrew made it a 1-2 to the visitors in the backstroke Skins before Trenton Julian  pulled off a thrilling win in the 200m mystery medley event which saw him swim backstroke, breaststroke, freestyle and finishing with butterfly.

It was a turning point for the US who then produced stunning swims by Ryan Held and Grant House who cruised to a 1-2 finish in the freestyle Skins.

And after Bella Sims impressive 200m freestyle win the US  rounded out the night in the Mixed 4x50m Random Relay (medley) scoring double points from a powerplay to send the visitors home with a handy lead after Justin Ress, Michael Andrew Gabi Albiero and Linea Mack combined to take the victory with Mack holding off Emma McKeon in the final leg.

The final day resumes tomorrow night 7pm Sydney time with $200,000 in prizemoney up for grabs.

Open Water Recap

DEL_2600

DOLPHINS ON DECK: Zac Stubblety-Cook, Sam Williamson and Mack Horton lead the Aussie cheer squad. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

DEL_2561

DUEL SLAM: Aussie skipper Grant Hackett slams down the powerplay. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia),

DEL_2394

GRANDSTAND FNISH: Almost 4000 fans turned the clock back at the Pool Of Dreams in Sydney. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

DEL_1729

MIXED MASTERS: Australia’s Mixed Medley Relay winner Zac Stubblety-Cook, Mollie O’Callaghan, Emma McKeon and Bradley Woodward. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).