Australian Trials, Day 5 Finals: Mollie O’Callaghan, Shayna Jack 1-2 In Helter-Skelter 100m Freestyle Final; Bronte Campbell 4th, Emma McKeon 6th

Shayna Jack
THE EMOTION AND THE RELIEF: Shayna Jack gets her hand on the wall for an individual race in Paris.Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

AUSTRALIAN TRIALS, Day 5, Finals: Mollie O’Callaghan, Shayna Jack 1-2 In Helter-Skelter 100m Freestyle Final

After a dramatic and emotional day, St Peters Western training partners Mollie O’Callaghan and Shayna Jack have tonight won Australia’s two coveted spots in the blue ribband 100m freestyle in Paris in a helter skelter day of racing.

O’Callaghan, the two-time world champion, timed her finish to perfection to snatch her place for Paris in 52.33 ahead of club mate Jack in 52.72, who spoke emotionally of her well documented journey following a positive doping test in 2019 robbed her of a place on the Tokyo team, almost ruining her career.

“It will be a completely different experience (to watching the Tokyo Games on TV from the couch at home) and it definitely gave me that fire in my belly after watching the girls do an amazing job and the guys do an amazing job in Tokyo 2021.but now it’s my turn..” said Jack, determined to overcome an ordeal that would have stopped many others.

THE TIME: Mollie O’Callaghan Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

“I just wanted to fight to the wall and that’s what I have been doing for years and just to touch that wall and come second and as you can tell I am quite emotional, and I can’t thank everyone here enough.

“My family and partner and especially my coach Dean Boxall we’ve been through a journey and to be here today and going to my first Olympics. As an individual swimmer, it’s amazing….”

Fastest qualifier from the morning, Meg Harris (Rackley, QLD) 52.97 was third with her Tokyo relay teammate and triple Olympian Bronte Campbell (Cruiz, ACT) 53.10 rounding out the top four – Harris off to her second Games – Campbell to her fourth – bother members of the Tokyo triumph.

Super talented World junior champion Olivia Wunsch (Carlile, NSW) in a personal best of 53.17 edged in front of the Olympic champion Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD) 53.33 – who has had a difficult preparation with shoulder issues.

Such is the strength of Australian women’s female sprinting – that McKeon now doesn’t get the chance to defend her title in Paris.

Wunsch, who also had a disruptive preparation, almost certainly assured of making it to her first Games at 18 – representing the future of sprint swimming in a team that has won the last two 4x100m freestyle relays in Rio and Tokyo.

McKeon, forever the true and humble professional saying she was “obviously disappointed.”

“But you look at the depth and it’s amazing so it’s good for the country,” said McKeon

“I always wanted to be a part of the 100 free in Paris; I thought I was capable. My body probably hasn’t held up as well (my shoulders) as I would have wanted them too in the prep.

THE JOY: Shayna Jack and Bronte Campbell  Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

“So, I probably didn’t get what I know I needed but everything I did in training I did to the best of my ability.”

It was Campbell, who has been struggling with a calf tear in the lead up to the Trials, who led through the 50m turn in 25.43 and who hung on for a place in one of the most decorated relay teams in Australian sport.

Bronte determined to have a Campbell sister in the team for Paris after watching the despair and disappointment of big sister Cate who missed a place in the final by the barest possible margin, 0.01.

“This is one of the hardest spots in the world to grab….” said Campbell, the epitome of what it means tio be in the Australian Swim Team – and the Dolphins premier relay team.

“The 100m freestyle in Australia has so much depth and you can see what it means to all of us to be part of it.

“We are all proud of what we have built here and I’m so grateful to be part of the team again…. this has been a very different journey for me.

“I had 18 months off, and I wasn’t sure if I was going to come back.

“This right here, the moment of qualifying for the team and being with the girls, that’s what brought me back to the pool.

“All the hard work and the calf tear and the shoulder, all of that is worth it for the moment you get to step out and wear the green and gold…

“And I felt devasted for my sister this morning, but she is absolutely incredible…she held an individual spot in the 100m freestyle for Australia for 11 years.

“I think that’s got to be a record in Australian sport; such a hard thing to do and I just want to pay homage to what an incredible athlete she is.”

Meanwhile earlier in the night, there was an emotional charged win by NSW Central Coast lifesaver Bradley Woodward (Mingara, NSW) – who had to contend with illness which curtailed his 2021 Tokyo campaign – but producing the swim of his life to qualify for his first Games in Paris in the men’s 200m backstroke.

THE TENSION: Start of the Women’s 100 freestyle.  Photo Courtesy Delly Carr Swimming Australia

Woodward, 25, stayed in front of the QT for the whole race, leading from the get-go and hanging on to clock 1:56.22 – and excited to look across to see his training partner at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre, Se-Bom Lee (SOSC, NSW) touch second also qualifying in 1:57.02 – just

Two hometown heroes – Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook and Olympic debutant Ella Ramsay gave the packed house at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre plenty to cheer about – both winning their respective 200m breaststroke finals – and both in Paris qualifying times.

Stubblety-Cook the chance to defend his crown in Paris – Ramsay claiming a berth in her third event (100m breaststroke and 200IM) and following her father Heath Ramsay (Sydney 2000) into the Olympic arena.

The pair both representing the Chandler Club at the Swimming Australia Hub, based out of the Brisbane Aquatic Centre and both coached by master coach Vince Raleigh.

In the lead-up to Tokyo and the past three years, Stubblety-Cook has been in a world of his own, especially in Australia – but tonight he had some company in the shape of 22-year-old Bhutan-born Western Australian Joshua Yong who took the race on down the first 50m.

Yong, a qualifier in the 100m on the opening night, led through the first 50m in 27.98, knowing what to expect with Stubblety-Cook’s signature powerhouse backend.

And by the 100m mark it was in fact Stubblety-Cook who took the lead, splitting 1:02.16, with Yong right alongside the Olympic champ and the pair staged a neck-and-neck duel until Stubblety-Cook kicking away over the closing stages.

Stubblety-Cook winning in 2:07.40 – the fifth fastest time in the world this year, Yong in a personal best of 2:08.08, which ranks him in 13th.

While Ramsay had to contend with Australia’s number one women’s breaststroker Jenna Strauch (Miami, QLD; Coach: Richard Scarce) and it was Ramsay who led narrowly through the 100m mark in 1:08.63, Strauch taking over at the 150m mark in 1:45.19.

With the final 50m seeing Ramsay kick clear in the final stages, clocking the fourth fastest time by an Australian – of 2:22.87. – only bettered by Leisel Jones (2”20.54), Taylor McKeown (2:21.45) and Strauch (2:22;22) who took second tonight in 2:24.04 – 0.13 outside the QT.

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Southerly Buster
Southerly Buster
14 days ago

“team that has won the last two 4x100m freestyle relays in Rio and Tokyo”

Australian women have won the last three 4×100 Free Olympic relays – they won in London as well as Rio and Tokyo.

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