Rio Olympian Jack McLoughlin on song at Victorian State Championships

JACK ATTACK: Chandler's Jack McLoughlin hangs on to win the 400 freestyle over Olympic champion Mack Horton. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr)

Rio Olympian Jack McLoughlin (Chandler) has continued his build up to this year’s Australian Olympic Trials with a hard fought 400m freestyle win on the opening night of the Victorian State Championships in Melbourne.

In solid work, McLoughlin (3:50.38) the 2018 Pan Pac champion, kept Olympic champion Mack Horton (Melbourne Vicentre, 3:51.54) at bay in the race of the night at the Melbourne Sports And Aquatic Centre.

Twenty-year-old New Zealand World Championship swimmer Zac Reid (Aquabladz New Plymouth, 3:51.65) finished a close up third to two of the best performed 400m boys in the world.

McLoughlin, who was impressive at the recent Swimming Australia National Event Camp in Brisbane, led from the opening 100m splitting and at the 200 mark split 1:54.06, just in front of Horton (1:54.25) and Reid (1:54.35) and the Vince Raleigh-trained McLoughlin was never headed.

Noted two-time Olympic freestyle sprinter Cameron McEvoy (TSS Aquatic, QLD) finished fifth in 3:55.80 before winning the 100m final, hanging on to win in 49.65 from 20-year-old William Yang (Loreto Normanhurst, NSW) 49.72 with Jack Gerrard (Melbourne Vicentre) 50.23 third.

Meanwhile Tokyo 200m breaststroke hopeful, Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler) was a surprise winner in the 50m breaststroke final – touching in an impressive 28.19 – telling signs for his 100 and especially 200m later in the meet – as he prepares for June’s Adelaide Trials clash with Dolphins team mate and former 200m world record holder Matthew Wilson (SOPAC).

In other events two-time Paralympic champion Brenden Hall (Belgravia) 4:15.95 in the 400m freestyle and Rowan Crothers (Yeronga Park) 50.94 in the 100m freestyle were easily the most impressive winners in the Para World Series opener.

Competition in both the Victorian States and the Para World Series continues over the next two days.