Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers Drop 200 Freestyle From Tokyo Programs; Spots Filled

TOMMY NEILL SWIM
ROOKIE REWARD: Rackley rookie Thomas Neill rewarded with individual swims in Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Stephen Holland Photography.

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Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers Drop 200 Freestyle From Tokyo Programs; Spots Filled

Rackley rookies Thomas Neill and Isaac Cooper, experienced campaigners Madi Wilson and Cam McEvoy and former world record holder Matthew Wilson have been rewarded with individual swims for Australia at this month’s Tokyo Olympics.

All were selected as relay swimmers – Neill on the 4x200m, Cooper, the 4x100m medley, Wilson the 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle and McEvoy the 4x100m freestyle. But with the official entries lodged with Tokyo 2020 today, the withdrawal of “top guns” Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers from their respective individual 200m events, with Matthew Temple also withdrawing from the 100m freestyle.

McKeon was second to Ariarne Titmus at the Australian Trials with Wilson third – but with McKeon also qualifying for the 50 and 100m freestyles and 100m butterfly, as well as all four relays, her coach Michael Bohl has withdrawn his all-around star from the grueling 200 freestyle.

Likewise with Chalmers, who will go head-to-head with Caeleb Dressel as he attempts to become the first Australian male to defend the blue ribband 100m freestyle crown, and will be a key factor in Australia’s relay assaults. In comes Thomas Neill, who turns 19 on Saturday, an early birthday present for one of Australia’s rising freestyle stars who also gets a real bonus when he joins Jack McLoughlin as Australia’s second 1500m freestyler.

Neil will now have the 200 and 1500m freestyle as well as the 4x200m freestyle relay, while his Rackley team mate, Cooper, the surprise packet of the Australian Trials, gets an individual berth in the 100m backstroke. Cooper, who left his beloved Bundaberg to attend school in Toowoomba before joining Rackley coach Damien Jones at Centenary Pool last December, was only just beaten by former world champion Mitch Larkin at the Trials.

And then there’s McEvoy who swam his way onto a third Olympic team from the swimming wilderness, qualifying for the 4x100m freestyle relay – only to see himself in the 50m and 100m freestyle after there were no swimmers who made qualifying in the 50m and with Temple withdrawing to concentrate on the 100 and 200m butterfly events and the relays.

While Wilson, who’s heart-breaking images stole the hearts and souls of the swimming public when he missed the automatic, was named on the team with compassionate grounds after the passing of his grandmother on the eve of the Australian Trials. The former world record holder in the 200m will now content the 100 and 200m breaststroke and be eligible for the Australian relays.

3 comments

  1. avatar
    Verram

    Will Thomas Neill or Mack Horton be entered in the new 800 freestyle event ?

  2. avatar
    Robert Cordwell

    And Sam Short who was placed 2nd in the 1500 free at Olympic trials was not selected. He was 2 seconds short of the qualifying time. Tom Neill was placed 3rd and well off the qualifying time…..Australia will lose a generation of swimmers if they are not better looked after….go figure!

    • avatar
      Ed Anderson

      Good call. Sam Short should have been picked. At 17 as well he has huge improvement potential for these games and would have finaled.