Thomas Fraser-Holmes Proves Successful With Difficult Double on Night Two of Aussie Nationals

BRISBANE, Australia, April 2. THERE were plenty of top times put up on the board throughout the evening, but one of the most consistent performers at the Australian Nationals and Commonwealth Games Trials proved to be Thomas Fraser-Holmes. Both of his times tonight put him second in the world in his events.

Sydney’s Nathaniel Romeo kicked things off with a winning time of 23.83 in the men’s 50-meter fly finale. That’s not as fast as his 23.82 from semis that puts him 10th in the SwimVortex world rankings, but it was more than enough to secure a victory this evening.

Marion’s Kyle Chalmers, 15, finished second in 24.03, while Southport’s Christopher Wright snared third overall in 24.07.

Southport’s Leiston Pickett followed with a sizzling 30.89 to win the women’s 50-meter breaststroke finale. That swim vaulted her to third in the world rankings, now just one of four swimmers to break 31 seconds this year. Only Jennie Johansson (30.84) and Ruta Meilutyte (30.88) have been faster, while Germany’s Dorothea Brandt is ranked fourth in with a 30.99.

Marion’s Sally Hunter took second this evening in 31.18 to push her way to sixth in the world rankings, while Indooroopilly’s Lorna Tonks rounded out the top three in 31.27 for seventh in the rankings.

In an exciting finale, Cameron McEvoy held off a hard charging Thomas Fraser-Holmes, 1:45.46 to 1:45.58, in the men’s 200-meter freestyle finale. The swims are 1-2 in the world rankings, ahead of Yannick Agnel’s 1:45.76 from the Arena Grand Prix held in Austin earlier this year as the Aussies definitely stamped their mark on the event so far this year.

David McKeon, who already made the team in the 400 free last night, qualified third in 1:46.37, while Ned McKendry placed fourth in 1:47.16. McKeon now stands sixth in the world rankings, while McKendry holds eighth overall.

Notably, Melbourne’s Mack Horton raced his way to fifth place with a 1:47.36 as the 17-year-old took down the World Junior Record in the event. Last night, Horton became the first person to set an official FINA World Junior Record with a 3:44.60 in the 400-meter freestyle as FINA only began recognizing records in the events yesterday with top times from the World Junior Championships standing as the reference times to beat. This evening, Horton’s time in the 200 beat his 1:47.55 from Dubai to now stand as a WJR.

Fraser-Holms, who already put on a show with a second-place time of 1:45.58 in the 200 free finale earlier in the evening, returned with a sizzling 4:10.68 to absolutely dominate the men’s 400-meter IM. That swim vaulted him into second in the world behind only Kosuke Hagino’s 4:09.82 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series as Fraser-Holmes beat the rest of the field by nearly seven seconds tonight.

Nunawading’s Travis Mahoney wound up a distant second in 4:17.39 with Nudgee Brothers’ Jared Gilliland taking third in 4:17.77.

St. Pete’s Mitch Larkin popped a 53.46 to win the men’s 100-meter backstroke finale this evening. That swim moved him from seventh in the world to third behind Kosuke Hagino (53.35) and Xu Jiayu (53.42). The time also beat the 53.63 it took Ashley Delaney to win a year ago. Ben Treffers, who posted a 53.55 in semis to stand fourth in the world rankings, took second tonight in 53.73, while Josh Bear placed third in 53.84. Delaney wound up fourth overall in 53.95 all the top four all had top-10 ranked quality times.

Redlands’ Alicia Coutts powered her way past Nunawading’s Ellen Gandy, 57.70 to 57.98, for the women’s 100-meter fly victory. Coutts has been faster this year with a third-ranked 57.60 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series, but tonight was more than enough to make the Commonwealth squad. Gandy, meanwhile, cleared 58 for the first time this year as she moved to fourth in the world. Emma McKeon, already on the Commonwealth Games squad with a blazing 200 free on night one, finished third in 57.99 to stand fifth in the world rankings this year .

She had already jumped to the top of the world rankings with a sizzling 24.21 from the Australian Aquatic Super Series earlier this year, but Commercial’s Cate Campbell took that time a bit further with a 24.13 in semis of the women’s 50-meter free. That swim is faster than the 24.27 she used to win the event a year ago, and is just a bit off Libby Trickett’s Commonwealth record of 23.97 from 2008. Finals could see that record fall.

Cate’s sister Bronte won the first semifinal with a 24.60 to stand fourth in the world rankings behind Cate, Fran Halsall (24.38) and Jeanette Ottesen (24.54), while Southport’s Melanie Schlanger snared third in 24.69. West Illawarra’s Emma McKeon, who notched an Australian record in the 200-meter free last night, qualified fourth in 25.03.

Commercial’s Christian Sprenger, who vaulted to the top of the world rankings with a 2:08.63 in the 200-meter breaststroke last night, drilled a 59.99 in the 100-meter breaststroke semis tonight. That made him just the third swimmer to break 1:00 this year, moving him to third in the world behind Adam Peaty (59.90) and Yasuhiro Koseki (59.94).

Indooroopilly’s Jake Packard (1:01.55), Rivery City’s Nicholas Schafer (1:01.75) and Nudgee Brothers’ Buster Sykes (1:02.03) rounded out the top four into the finale.

Nudgee Brother’s Emily Seebohm crushed her previously top-ranked time of 59.80 in the women’s 100-meter back from the NSW State Championships with a sterling 59.34 during semis. Meanwhile, Nunawading’s Belinda Hocking chased down the second seed with a 59.87 to improve upon her preliminary time of 59.92 that put her third in the world behind Seebohm and Mie Nielsen (59.83). St. Pete’s Meagen Nay (1:00.47) and Madison Wilson (1:00.74) qualified into finals in third and fourth.

Nelson Bay’s Taylor Corry was listed first in the women’s 100-meter free in 1:02.55, while Richmond Valley’s Jacqueline Freney was listed second in 1:09.53. Novacastrian’s Maddison Elliott was listed third in 1:08.43.

Yeronga Park’s Rowan Crothers was listed first in the men’s 100-meter free with a 54.95, while Matt Cowdrey (56.02) and Mitch Kilduff (55.42) took second and third according to FINA points.