Thomas Fraser-Holmes Returns To Competition at Australia Pan Pac Trials

Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia Ltd.

Defending Pan Pacific champion Thomas Fraser Holmes has taken the first step in his comeback to competitive swimming, qualifying for tonight’s 200m freestyle final at the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Pan Pacific Championship Trials in Adelaide.

The 26-year-old is the sixth fastest qualifier for the 10-man final at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre.

Fraser-Holmes, who won the 200m on the Gold Coast in 2014, has been on the sidelines, serving a 12-month FINA ban for three whereabouts breaches in the space of a year.

He has recently returned to full-time training on the Gold Coast, under celebrated Olympic gold medal coach Michael Bohl at Griffith University.

Given the circumstances, Holmes was impressive, winning the first of four heats in a solid 1:49.21 and then had to wait until the big guns hit the water before knowing his finals fate.

And the next three heats featured Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallists and a host of emerging stars all scrambling for places in the final.

When the scoreboard ticked over showing the finalists – just 1.10secs separated the top 10 – from the fastest qualifier – Olympic 100m champion and 200m Commonwealth Games champion Kyle Chalmers (Marion) on top of the list on 1:47.38 after a signature fast final 50m in the last heat.

And on the bottom of the scoreboard was Olympic and Commonwealth Games 400m champion Mack Horton (Melbourne Vic Centre) who tied with Joshua Hertz (SOPAC) on 1:49.48.

In between came Elijah Winnington (Bond) 1:47.57; Daniel Smith (Griffith) 1:47.73, Louis Townsend (Rackley) 1:48.10; Max Carleton (SPW) 1:48.91, Fraser-Holmes (Griffith) 1:49.21), Alexander Graham (Bond) 1:49.40, Clyde Lewis (SPW) 1:49.44, Hertz (SOPAC) and Horton (Melbourne Vicentre) 1:49.48.

The good news for Chalmers and Horton (second in the 800m to Jack McLoughlin) last night is they have already qualified for the Pan Pac team, with their times from the Commonwealth Games.

The rest of the field will be chasing the automatic qualifying time of 1:46.28 and places on Australia’s 4x200m freestyle relay squad.

McLoughlin (also pre-selected) was impressive in his 800m win over Horton last night in 7:54.25, just missed the final in 1:49.75 in a tough turn around as it was for the girls, in the 200m with last night’s 1500m winner Kiah Melverton (TSS Aquatic) backing up to make the final in 2:00.87.

It saw Commonwealth Games bronze medallist in this event and pre-qualifier Emma McKeon (Griffith University) the fastest from the heats in 1:58.39.

The pressure will be on the likes of Mikkayla Sheridan (USC Spartans) and Madison Wilson (Marion) the second and third fastest through to the final in 1:58.93 and 1:59.49 respectively, with 1:56.34 the Pan Pac qualifying time to beat tonight.

The women’s 100m breaststroke final will see a tussle for top spot tonight with the trio of Jessica Hansen (Nunawading), Georgia Bohl (Griffith University) and Leiston Pickett (Southport) the fastest through to the final. It will be a tough task to get under the qualifying time of 1:06.81 with Hansen the closest from the heats with a 1:07.32, Bohl in 1:07.54 and Pickett in 1:07.75.

The University of Sunshine Coast swimmer Taylor McKeown (1:09.09) will also put her name in the mix, hoping to qualify tonight to take the pressure off her pet event, the 200m breaststroke as will fifth fastest qualifier Tessa Wallace (Pelican Waters, 1:11.02).

The women’s 400m individual medley final saw UWA West Coast swimmer Blair Evans cruise into lane four for the final tonight with a time of 4:48.47 just over two seconds clear of her closest competitor.

USC Spartans duo Kaylee McKeown (4:51.06) and Tianni Gilmour (4:51.99) were the next best from the heats with Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) trying her hand at the event and moving through fourth fastest in 4:52.24.

With 4:37.14 needed for automatic selection the final field will need to pick up the pace tonight to be in with a shot.

In the men’s 100m breaststroke it was Commonwealth Games relay gold medallist Jake Packard (USC Spartans) who topped the qualifiers in 59.72 from Games 200m breaststroke bronze medallist Matthew Wilson (SOPAC) 1:00.90 and Daniel Cave (Melbourne Vicentre) 1:01.09.

The fastest qualifier into tonight’s 400 individual medley final is Tomas Elliott (SOPAC) 4:29.26 from Jared Gilliland (Brisbane Grammar) 4:30.07 and Se-Bom Lee (Carlile) 4:31.11.

In the Multi-Class events:

Three-time Paralympian Matt Levy S7 (North Sydney) leads the qualifiers in the 400m freestyle in a time of 4:51.06 from two-time S9 Paralympic gold medallist from London and Rio Brenden Hall (Lawnton) 4:24.63 and 2017 Para Swimmer of the Year Rowan Crowthers S10 (Yeronga Park) 4:12.55.

Two-time Paralympic medallist Daniel Fox (USC Spartans) 1:57.95 is the top qualifier in the 200m freestyle from fellow S14 category swimmers Mitchell Kilduff (SLC Aquadot) 1:59.33 and Liam Schulter (Kawana Waters) 1:59.45.

Auburn pair 14-year-old Ricky Betar, S14 and 17-year-old Timothy Hodge, S9 are the fastest two in the 50m butterfly in 27.59 and 28.66 respectively from 19-year-old Jarrod Dyer (Wollongong) 29.70.

Dual gold medallist from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Lakeisha Patterson (Lawnton) started her Para Pan Pacs campaign in style and moved through as the top qualifier from a stacked field in the women’s Multi Class 400m freestyle.

Patterson clocked a time of 4:47.23 for 930pts to just edge out her training partner Monique Murphy (Lawnton) who stopped the clock in 4:39.16 (904pts) with 13-year-old Jasmine Greenwood (Bay and Basin) ranked third in 4:50.62 (802pts).

There will be a host of Paralympic stars hot on their heels including USC Spartans swimmers Ellie Cole (4:52.11, 737pts) and Katja Dedekind (4:49.94, 718), all with a shot at selection tonight.

Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the breaststroke, Yeronga Park’s Paige Leonhardt is proving her versatility after qualifying in top spot for the final in the women’s Multi Class 200m freestyle tonight.

Leonhardt’s time of 2:20.31 (697pts) was too strong for up and comers Jade Lucy (SLC Aquadot) in 2:18.88 (679pts) and 14-year-old Ruby Storm (Traralgon) who clocked a 2:19.54 for a total of 670pts.

Nunawading’s Madeleine Scott is the favourite for the final of the women’s Multi Class 50m butterfly with a time this morning of 31.27 (832pts).

Joining her in the final is Traralgon’s Emily Beecroft (32.15, 765pts) and finalist from the 200m freestyle earlier in the morning Paige Leonhardt (Yeronga Park) in 30.58 (685pts).

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