Mack Horton And Zac Incerti Survive Morning Of High Drama To Qualify For 200m Freestyle Final At Aussie Trials

MACK HORTON 1
THE AGONY: Olympic champion Mack Horton after last night's 3rd placed finish in 400 has a chance for redemption in the 200m freestyle final. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

In a morning of high drama on Day Two of the Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide Mack Horton and Zac Incerti have both lived to fight another day and will both race in the men’s 200m freestyle final to keep their Tokyo dreams alive at the SA Aquatic Leisure Centre tonight.

Last night Horton finished third behind Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin in an epic 400m freestyle final and missed the chance to defend his Olympic title.

His chances of going to Tokyo were then all placed in the 200m freestyle basket and his last throw of the dice – he had to make the top eight to be any chance.

This morning in what was always going to be touch and go to back up – with the top contenders backing up from the 400m freestyle – Horton finished third in his heat behind Winnington and Clyde Lewis.

Zac Incerti best

Zac Incerti. Photo Courtesy: Swimming WA

His time of 1:47.54 would have seen him finish ninth and out of the final – until WA’s Zac Incerti (1:46.64) was disqualified for “starting before the starters signal” in the third of three seeded heats” –elevating Horton into eighth – but after an hour-long hearing Incerti and his coach Mick Palfrey breathed a sigh of relief when the appeal was upheld – putting him back in the final – his Olympic dream alive.

A further twist came earlier when seventh fastest qualifier, Nunawading’s Matthew Temple, withdrew from the final, confirming Horton in eighth to  – and a secure spot in the final – before the result of the appeal was known.

Alex Graham caps off

Alex Graham Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Here is the final starting line up for tonight’s final.

  1. Alex Graham (Bond) 1:45.22
  2. Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western) 1:46.44
  3. Kyle Chalmers (Marion) 1:46.45
  4. Tommy Neill (Rackley) 1:46.56
  5. Zac Incerti (UWA West Coast) 1:46.64
  6. Jack McLoughlin (Chandler) 1:46.84
  7. Clyde Lewis (Bond) 1:47.10
  8. Mack Horton (Melbourne Vicentre) 1:47.54
Ariarne Titmus stroke

Ariarne Titmus Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

In other events today, world champion Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) will spearhead a red-hot field into the women’s 400m freestyle final – with no less than five girls swimming under the qualifying time.

Titmus, who admitted she had spent the last month managing a flare up with her injured shoulder, certainly showed no ill-effects, clocking 4:04.91 to win the opening heat from Chandler’s Leah Neale (4:06.66) who later withdrew from the final to concentrate on the 200m and Griffith University’s Lani Pallister (4.06.76), TSS Aquatic pair Moesha Johnson (4:06.94), Kiah Melverton (4:06.99) – all under the qualifying time of 4:07.10.

Then followed UWA West Coast’s Rio Olympian Tamsin Cook (4:07.18), TSS Aquatic’s Maddy Gough (4:07.35), Nudgee’s Mikayla Messer (4:08.30) and USC Spartans Dalhas Rogers (4:11.13).

The men’s 100m backstroke saw St Peters Western’s Mitch Larkin inspired by team mate Elijah Winnington and fellow night one qualifiers, Jack McLoughlin, Brendon Smith, Se-Bom Lee and Emma McKeon, turn on the afterburners from the open dive to lead the qualifiers into the 100m backstroke final in 53.04.

He will be joined by Rackley’s former Bundaberg and Toowoomba 17-year-old National Age star Isaac Cooper who has snared the second fastest qualifying time with an impressive personal best of 53.79 ahead of Mingara’s Bradley Woodward (54.47), Southport Olympic’s Tristan Hollard (54.56), Griffith’s Kai Van Kool (54.68), Loreto Normanhurst’s William Yang (54.75), Chandler’s Ty Hartwell (55.00) and Marion’s Travis Mahoney (55.03).

Jess Hansen

Jess Hansen Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

There were also some encouraging signs in the depth of the women’s 100m breaststroke with Southport Olympic’s Chelsea Hodges (1:06.17), Bond’s Jenna Strauch (1:06.37) and Cruze’s Jessica Hansen (1:06.37) all swimming under the 1:06.97 qualifying time and followed closely by St Peters Western’s Abbey Harkin and Griffith’s Rio Olympian Georgia Bohl both on 1:07.04, Tessa Wallace 1:07.50, Leiston Pickett (1:08.10) and Zoe Deakin (1:08.34)

The women’s 100m backstroke saw USC Spartans record-breaking backstroker Kaylee McKeown charge down the second lap to secure top spot in her first final of the meet in an impressive 58.57 – a full second ahead of Rio Olympian and 2015 World Championship silver medallist, Marion’s Madi Wilson (59.58), followed by triple Olympian and three-time world champion Griffith’s Emily Seebohm (59.83), rising St Peters Western teenager star Mollie O’Callaghan (59.93), World Championship silver medallist Minna Atherton (1:00.06), Rackley’s World Junior champion Bronte Job (1:00.81), Griffith’s Jessica Unicomb (1:01.15) and Ginninderra’s Abbey Webb (1:01.37).

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SA Aquatic And Leisure Centre. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

1 comment

  1. Andy Muller

    Does anyone know why the dq got changed?