Emma McKeon and Elijah Winnington Shine On Night Two of the Queensland State Swimming Championships

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SHINING STAR: Emma McKeon had plenty to smile about on the second night of finals at the Queensland Championships. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Emma McKeon and Elijah Winnington Shine On Night Two of the Queensland State Swimming Championships

Gold Coasters Emma McKeon (Griffith University) and Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western) were just two of the stars of a thrilling second night of finals at the Queensland State Swimming Championships at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre tonight.

It was Winnington who joined an elite club after his fighting finish to win the men’s 400m freestyle with the 20-year-old Commonwealth Games 4x200m relay gold medallist clocking a personal best time of 3:43.90.

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WINNING COMPANY: Elijah Winnington joins the Australian sub 3:44 club. Photo Courtesy: Twitter, @SwimmingAUS.

He becomes only the sixth Australian swimmer under 3:44.00 – and in the second fastest time of the year behind Italy’s Gabriele Detti’s 3:43.73.

While Australia’s multi-medal-winning international, McKeon clocked the fastest 100m freestyle time of the year with her winning time of 52.46 – edging out Cate Campbell’s NSW Senior State winning time of 52.87 swum on Saturday night in Sydney – and only just outside her own personal best.

For Winnington, the swim sees him join some of the biggest names in Australian swimming – Olympic champions, Ian Thorpe, Mack Horton, Grant Hackett and Kieren Perkins and dual Olympian David McKeon in the sub 3:44 club.

But the former world junior short course record holder had to pull out all stops over the closing stages to hold off the dogged Pan Pacific Championship gold medallist Jack McLoughlin (Chandler) who stopped the clock in 3:44.24, just 0.04 outside his pb swum to win the Pan Pacs in 2018.

Winnington now surpasses McLoughlin on the Australian All-Time Top Ten and becomes the third fastest current Australian swimmer behind Horton and McKeon in the race for one of two spots on the team for Tokyo.

As hard as McLoughlin tried he just couldn’t peg Winnington back, in what was the race of the night as the pair went stroke-for-stroke to the wall.

Winnington switched from Bond University to Dean Boxall at Australia’s leading club St Peters Western midway through the 2020.

McLoughlin’s training partner at Chandler, Mitchell Tinsley, finished third in 3:49.89 but later in the night, 17-year-old Rackley youngster Sam Short clocked a stunning personal best of 3:47.69 – the third fastest time of the night in his dominant age group final, to set a cat amongst the pigeons.

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TOP TWO: Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell are 1 and 2 in the world in the 100m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

And if anyone knows how to get off the blocks quickly it’s Emma McKeon and tonight was no different, knowing full well she had a host of teenagers snapping at her heals in the 100m freestyle led by St Peters Western pair, 16-year-old Mollie O’Callaghan’s personal best of 53.93 (just outside the Australian top 10 and faster than her 16 Years QLD All-Comers record of 54.25 swum on Sunday night) and Meg Harris’ 54.22 with backstroking wonder girl Kaylee McKeown fourth in 54.33.

It was another show of Australia’s exciting depth in the 100m freestyle, which has seen its recent world relay dominance at Olympics and World Championships.

McKeon had a busy night notching an impressive double, earlier winning the 100m butterfly, breaking her own Queensland All-Comers record, clocking 56.69 – taking 0.09 off her 2018 mark.

After discussions with coach Michael Bohl, McKeon had decided to skip other specialist event, the 200m freestyle on night one and added her occasional 200m butterfly to her sprint events.

The 26-year-old Rio Olympian and Australia’s prolific international medallist led all the way to beat emerging 16-year-old Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers) 59.70 after her Australian 16 years record over 200m butterfly (2:08.46) last night with Alice Stuart (TSS Aquatic) 1:00.31 in third.

And in the women’s 100m breaststroke, 19-year-old Chelsea Hodges (Southport) barnstormed her way into the Australian all-time top ten and into Tokyo contention with her personal best of 1:06.91 while Zac Stubblety-Cook added the 100m breaststroke to his 200m title, in 59.97 – becoming Australia’s fifth sub-60s secs 100m breaststroker.

The women’s 400m freestyle, minus World Champion, Ariarne Titmus, saw world junior champion Lani Pallister, swimming for Sunshine Coast club Cotton Tree for the last time, add the 400m to her gold medal in the 200m on night one.

Pallister clocked a slick time of 4:06.19 – just under a second outside her best but a strong, well constructed all-the-way win over Kiah Melverton (TSS Aquatic) 4:07.45, who just out-touched Tokyo Olympic marathon swimmer Kareena Lee (Noosa) who clocked another encouraging personal best of 4:07.47.

In the men’s 100m freestyle it was St Peters Western’s Jack Cartwright who continued his encouraging return to form after nagging shoulder problems, winning in 48.58 from Commonwealth and Australian record holder Cam McEvoy (TSS Aquatic) 49.17, just edging out Rackley’s Louis Townsend’s 49.19.

And it was a night that also saw the emergence of a rising star in 15-year-old Richard Scarce coached freestyle sprinter Flynn Southam (Bond) who lowered a record set by Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers back in 2014.

Southam, cracked the 50 seconds barrier for there first time,  clocking 49.65 – taking 0.03 off Chalmers’ National 15 years time set six years ago to re-write all of the Australian and Queensland records – a time that would have seen him finish sixth in the open final.

The men’s 100m butterfly saw visiting Nunawading Australian representative Matt Temple continue his march towards next year’s Olympic Trials with an all-the-way win, clocking 51.64 – just outside his best of 51.47.

Temple left Olympians Mitch Larkin (St Peters Western) 52.78 and David Morgan (TSS Aquatic) 53.06 in his wake in an impressive performance.

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