Lani Pallister and Mollie O’Callaghan Lead Australia’s New Kids On The Blocks For Budapest

Lani Pallister
LOOK OUT BUDAPEST: Lani Pallister looking forward to Budapest, but with Paris in her sights. Delly Carr (Swimming Australia). 

Lani Pallister and Mollie O’Callaghan Lead Australia’s New Kids On The Blocks For Budapest

Australia has arrived in Budapest without five of their big guns from a women’s team that left Tokyo with a swag of medals – but the new kids on the blocks led by freestylers Lani Pallister and Mollie O’Callaghan are out to cause some headaches as they stake their claims for Paris.

Mollie smile

BRACE YOUR SELF: Mollie O will take on the 100 and 200m freestyle in Budapest. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

No Cate Campbell or Bronte Campbell, no Ariarne Titmus, no Emma McKeon and no Emily Seebohm….but enter the likes of Lani Pallister, Mollie O’Callaghan, Meg Harris, Elizabeth Dekkers, Abbey Connor, Ella Ramsay and Jenna Forrester.

By Budapest’s end there could well be some youngsters taking their first serious strokes towards 2024.

Here is a guide to the Australian women lining up in Budapest.

50m Freestyle: Australia will field a strong two-pronged attack in a 50m freestyle event with Australian champion Shayna Jack back three years after a doping ordeal on the eve of the last World’s in Gwangju threatened her career. With undying support from her coach Dean Boxall and her family, Jack has stormed back to get her life and career back on track. She will be joined in the 50m freestyle by Meg Harris, a member of Tokyo’s 4x100m freestyle relay gold medal team in what is a show of strength for the Dolphins.

The Australian team without Olympic champion Emma McKeon and the Campbell sisters Bronte and Cate – Bronte the last Australian to in this title ion 2015 following the back-to-back crowns won by Libby Lenton (Trickett) in 2003 and 2005.

 2022 Australian Championships:

1.Shayna Jack (St Peters Western, QLD) 24.14
2. Meg Harris (Marion, SA) 24.50
3. Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 24.52

100m freestyle: Newly Crowned Australian champion Mollie O’Callaghan and training partner at St Peters Western, runner-up Shayna Jack have “made hay while the sun shines” as they say, without Olympic champion Emma McKeon and former World champions Bronte and Cate Campbell. O’Callaghan, a true unsung hero of Australia’s Tokyo campaign in the relay onslaught, has arrived in style in 2022, with Jack on her shoulder every stroke of he journey and they have surged to the top of the world rankings in an unprecedented show of depth. Toss the coin and either Shayna or Mollie O could well become Australia’s fifth world champion in this swimming’s blue ribband event – joining Jodie Henry (2005), Libby Trickett (2007), Cate Campbell (2013) and Bronte Campbell (2015).

 2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 52.49
  2. Shayna Jack (St Peters Western, QLD) 52.60
  3. Meg Harris (Marion, SA) 53.09

200m Freestyle: Without Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus, who gave the WR a nudge at the Australian Championships, the Dolphins will field another strong pairing in Mollie O’Callaghan and Madi Wilson, second and third to “Arnie” at the Trials with Mollie O getting her second individual swim at these titles and sure to make the most of the opportunity alongside Wilson, who swam the event in Tokyo when she came in for Emma McKeon, again testament to Australia’s freestyle depth as they build towards 2024. Australian has twice won this one before – first up in 1991 in Perth when Hayley Lewis claimed her one and only world title from lane one before Giaan Rooney won it when the Dolphins swept all before them in Fukuoka in 2001.

2022 Australian Championships: 

1.Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:53.31
2. Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:54.94
3. Madison Wilson (Marion, SA) 1:55.86

400m Freestyle: Another opportunity emerges here with Lani Pallister and Kiah Melverton set to take on Katie Ledecky in the 400m freestyle – an event that saw the epic Olympic duel develop before Ariarne Titmus carried off a spectacular gold in Tokyo and then taking down the US superstar’s WR at the Aussie Trials. With defending champion Titmus sitting out Budapest in favour of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, it’s over to Pallister and Melverton to carry the green and gold hopes. Pallister, in career best form after the heartbreak of missing Tokyo with injury and illness. She became the second fastest Australian in history behind Titmus with her 4:02.21 with Melverton, thriving under Dean Boxall at St Peters Western, also in personal best form. Australia had some early success in he 400m freestyle at World’s with Sydney’s Jenny Turrall winning the country’s first medal, silver in Cali, Columbia in 1975 before Tracey Wickham set a new world record to win Australia’s first gold in Berlin in 1978.

2022 Australian Championships:

1.Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western, QLD) 3:56.40 WR
2. Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD 4:02.21
3. Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western, QLD) 4:04.49

800m freestyle:

Lani swim

FREE SPIRITED: Lani Pallister lining up in the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Lani Pallister will be keen to shake it up for her first World Championship campaign when she faces the world’s greatest freestyler in Katie Ledecky and with Ariarne Titmus watching from home, Lani will be joined by Arnie’s training partner Kiah Melverton when they line up to fly the Australian flag against the great Ledecky who is shooting for world title No 5 in this event. Pallister and Melverton will have nothing to lose and will be sure to take the race on from the outset, seeing where it lands and putting themselves in the frame. A race that has only been won once by an Australian, in 1975 in Cali, Columbia by Jenny Turrall with Hayley Lewis winning silver in Rome in 1994 and Titmus the bronze to Ledecky in 2019 in Gwangju.

 2022 Australian Championships:

1. Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD) 8:17.77
2. Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western, QLD) 8:22.54
3. Moesha Johnson (Griffith University, QLD) 8:26.35

1500m freestyle: Lani Pallister will be joined by club mate Moesha Johnson in the 1500 before Johnson prepares for her open water tilt over 5 and 10km. It was Pallister who clocked her pb of 15:55.40 and Johnson not far away in 16:00.74 at the Trials – another date with Ledecky and defending champion Simona Quadarella from Italy. Australia has not finished on the podium in this event since it was added to the program in 2001,

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD) 15:55.40
  2. Moesha Johnson (Griffith University, QLD) 16:00.74
  3. Maddie Gough (Chandler, QLD) 16:08.31

50m Backstroke: Kaylee McKeown has added the 50m backstroke to her ever growing program rounding out the 50, 100 and 200m backstroke as well as the 200IM and relays. Didn’t swim the 50m at Trials and with Mollie O’Callaghan electing to drop the backstroke from her Budapest program, the dual Olympic champion will be Australia’s only entrant in an event that has only ever been won once before by an Australian, in 2005 by Giaan Rooney. But if McKeown gets anywhere near her best of 27.16 – the Commonwealth record – then she may well be next.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 27.46
  2. Bronte Job (Rackley Swim Team, QLD) 27.6
  3. Minna Atherton (Bond Swimming) 28.31

100m Backstroke: Every time dual Olympic champion Kaylee McKeown lines up in either the 100 or the 200m backstroke then you have to think that her own WR of 57.45 is under siege. McKeown knows what it takes to perform on the world’s biggest stage and to add the world title to the Olympic crown is very much within her grasp as she prepares for her first major international under super coach Michael Bohl. Australians have been on the podium in four out of the last five world championships, with Emily Seebohm the only winner, when she won the 100-200m double in Kazan in 2015.

Johnson, Kiah Melverton, Kaylee McKeown, Emily Seebohm,

2022 Australian Championships:

1.Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) 58.49
2. Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 59.12
3. Minna Atherton (Bond Swimming, QLD) 1:00.62

200m backstroke: It was only three years ago that a 17-year-old slip of a kid from Queensland’s Sunshine Coast left the Gwangju Swimming World Championships with a silver medal around her neck. Now as she prepares for her second World’s McKeown will be introduced as a triple Olympic champion and world record holder over 100m and 200m backstroke over the short course. She may well leave Budapest with some additions to her profile joining dual world champion Emily Seebohm (2015 and 2017) as the second Australian added to a list of the world’s greatest female backstrokers.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) 2:05.31
  2. Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) 2:08.48
  3. Minna Atherton (Bond, QLD) 2:10.20

50m Breaststroke Jenna Strauch has emerged as Australia’s premier all-round breaststroker across all three distances from 50m to her specialist 200m.With Australian record holder and fellow Olympian Chelsea Hodges missing the team it will be Strauch who will get the opportunity to race against the best in the world. The last Australian to medal in this event was Sarah Katsoulis in Rome in 2009.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Chelsea Hodges (Southport) 30.15 (Australian Record)
  2. Jenna Strauch (Miami, QLD) 30.82
  3. Mia O’Leary (Bond, QLD) 31.31
Jenna Strauch 1

OUT STRETCHED: Jenna Strauch has the breaststroke treble.  Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

100m breaststroke: Miami’s Jenna Strauch and St Peters Western’s Abbey Harkin have accepted the challenge to fly the flag as Australia’s No 1 breaststroker over 100m – a key for Australia’s Olympic gold medal winning medley relay team from Tokyo. It will be a new look team with Cate Campbell (freestyle) and Chelsea Hodges (breaststroke) and Emma McKeon (butterfly) not on this team. A carrot that is sure to bring out the best in both girls, in an event won four times by Australians, Linley Frame in Perth in 1991, Sam Riley in Rome in 1994 and Leisel Jones twice in Montreal in 2005 and Melbourne in 2007.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Jenna Strauch (Miami Aquatic, QLD) 1:06.69
    2. Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:06.88
    3. Chelsea Hodges (Southport, QLD) 1:06.94 OUTQ 



200m Breaststroke: One of those race that is as inviting as any on the women’s program that can toss up winners from any lane and both Jenna Strauch and Abbey Harkin – Olympic team mates in Tokyo – will be looking to first grab a lane in the final – and they are both on track to tick that first box. Personal bests will be the key from heat to semi-final and final and who knows it just might signal another podium in a race that has seen Australia’s Sam Riley (1994) and Leisel Jones (2005 and 2007) seal prestigious breaststroke doubles in the 100 and 200m.The world awaits… 

2022 Australian Championships:

1.Jenna Strauch (Miami Aquatic, QLD) 2:23.26
2. Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) 2:24.85
3. Taylor McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) 2:25.32

50m butterfly: Brianna Throssell, selected on the Dolphins team in the 100m butterfly, will add the 50m to her program as she works on her speed to take over as Australia’s premier sprint ‘flyer in Emma McKeon’s absence. Throssell has thrived on her move with coach Mick Palfrey to the USC Spartans program on the Sunshine Coast as she enjoys her swimming en-route to a third Olympic team for Paris. An event with only one previous Australian winner, Dani Miatke in Montreal in 2005, who was second two years later in 2007 in Melbourne.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Holly Barratt (Rockingham, WA) 26.02
  2. Alexandria Perkins (USC Spartans, QLD) 26.18
  3. Abigail Schoorl (Miami) 26.45

100m Butterfly

2022 Australian Championships: With change comes opportunity and for Briana Throssell, her move from WA to Queensland has landed her in the swimming spotlight in an event dominated by Emma McKeon – who is sitting these World’s out. Not only is there individual goals after her win in the selection trials but like the breaststroke and freestyle girls – relays are very much a major part of

  1. Brianna Throssell (USC Spartans, QLD) 57.31
  2. Alexandria Perkins (USC Spartans, QLD) 58.39
  3. Gemma Cooney (Brisbane Grammar, QLD) 58.93
DEkkers 4

BACK ON DEKK: Newmarket Racer Elizabeth Dekkers – “Madam Butterfier in waiting” Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

200m Butterfly: A new generation of “Madam Butterfliers” will make their international debuts at the World Championships when 17-year-olds Elizabeth Dekkers and Abbey Connor take to the blocks in the 200m butterfly. It will be shades of Susie O’Neill and Petria Thomas who led Australia’s butterfly ranks between 1992 and 2004 when they dominating the international scene winning Olympic, Commonwealth Games and World Championship gold. Dekkers (Coached by Steve and Bob Miller) who narrowly missed the plane to Tokyo last year, made sure of her selection winning the 200m ‘fly ahead of Sydney’s Connor, who is coached by Alex Clarke at Revesby Workers. And it was Connor who almost missed the plan this time, only receiving her first passport on the eve of the Australia team’s departure for their training camp in Slovakia after her local mayor and a radio talk-back host gave the Passport office a nudge. O’Neill (1998) and Thomas (2001) were the first two Aussies to win the event while Jess Schipper (2007 and 2009) went back-to-back and current Swimming Australia president Tracey Caulkins won the gold for the USA in Berlin in 1978.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers, QLD) 2:07.62
  2. Abbey Connor (Revesby Workers, NSW) 2:08.58
  3. Brianna Throssell (USC Spartans, QLD) 2:08.71

200m Individual Medley: Kaylee McKeon made the tough decision to drop the 200IM from her Olympic program but has brought it back for Budapest –give the triple Olympic golden girl four individual events plus relays for her 2022 program – and she will be joined by St Peters Western schoolgirl Ella Ramsay, who makes her international debut and joining her father, Sydney 2000 Olympian, Heath Ramsay on the international stage. World championship gold here has eluded Australia in this event with Elli Overton winning Australia’s first medal in Rome in 1994, followed by a string of silvers to Alice Mills (2003), Steph Rice (2007) and Alicia Coutts (2011 and 2013).

2022 Australian Championships:

1.Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) 2:09.15
2. Ella Ramsay (St Peters Western, QLD) 2:12.12
3. Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) 2:12.74

400m Individual Medley:

Jenna Forrester will be Australia’s lone entrant in a 400IM after Kaylee McKeown dropped the race from her jam-packed program and it is a just reward for Forrester, on her first major senior team, joining a host of new faces making their debuts after she finished second at the Trials and under the qualifying time. Forrester comes from the powerhouse that is St Peters Western, graduating from the Fina World Junior Team to narrowly missing the Olympic team, with the South African-born Forrester finally making her senior debut in Budapest. Hayley Lewis won silver in the 400IM in Perth in 1991 while dual Olympic champion from 2008, Steph Rice won a string of bronze medals in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

2022 Australian Championships:

  1. Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University, QLD) 4:31.74
  2. Jenna Forrester (St Peters Western, QLD) 4:36.77
  3. Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western, QLD) 4:39.78




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Kenneth Mann
Kenneth Mann
1 year ago

Tracey Wickham also won the 800m in 1978, joining Jenny Turrall as Australia’s only World Champion in this event.

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