“Three Amigas” Going Head-To-Head Again In The 100m Backstroke Final in Sydney

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BACKS TO THE WATER: Australia's premier backstrokers in action in Sydney at the NSW Open Championships.Photo Courtesy Anthony Burns (Homepix Photography)

The battlelines have been drawn again between Australia’s premier backstrokers Emily Seebohm, Minna Atherton and Kaylee McKeown who will go head-to-head in tonight’s fascinating 100m backstroke final on night two of the NSW State Open Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.

The Championships is one of the few sporting events in Australia this weekend with spectators, family and friends in the grandstands, with the country on the verge of a full sporting spectator lockout from Monday.

It will be the final opportunity for many swimmers to clock times at a major competition, with Swimming Australia following the world trend in cancelling it’s next two major events, the Australian Age and Australian Championships, set down for Perth next month, both cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, sweeping the world.

But the uncertainly thrust upon the world has not dampened the enthusiasm of the Australian swimming community with swimmers here in Sydney producing some world-class performances.

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Huff And Puff: Kaylee McKeown (USC Spartans) and Minna Atherton (Brisbane Grammar) – two of the world’s best. Photo Courtesy Anthony Burns (Homepix Photography).

Fresh from her win in a new NSW All-Comers record in the 200m backstroke last night, 19-year-old McKeown clocked the fastest qualifying time this morning, stopping the clock at 1:00.44 after veteran Seebohm’s heat win in 1:00.54 and young-gun Atherton’s  1:01.01.

The three world class backstrokers are locked in an enthralling battle for the four Olympic spots on offer in the 100 and 200m backstroke at the June 14-19 Olympic Trials in Adelaide.

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Style of a star: Emily Seebohm shows why she will be tough when the tough get going. Photo Courtesy Anthony Burns (Homepix Photography)

McKeown has certainly shown her hand, particularly over her specialist 200m with an Australian All-Comers time (2:05.83) in Adelaide in January (the second fastest time in the world this year) and last night’s NSW All-Comers mark of 2:06.38.

Be interesting to see how close these “three Amigas” can get to Seebohm’s NSW All-Comers mark of 58.90 – set back in 2015, when she won the Fina World Championship double – with McKeown laying down the second fastest time in the world this year of 58.52 set at the South Australian Championships in January.

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This Cap Fits: Emma McKeon has already won two titles in Sydney – and she chases two more tonight. Photo Courtesy Anthony Burns (Homepix Photography).

While four-time Rio Olympic medallist Emma McKeon produced the “swim of the morning” clocking the second fastest 100m butterfly time in the world this year with her  sizzling 57.19 heat swim, second only behind Sweden’s Sarah Sjostrom’s 56.71 in January.

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Foot In The Air: Bond’s Elijah Winnington won’t have things all his own way against team mater Alex Graham and the man-of-the-moment Kyle Chalmers in the 2009m freestyle. Photo Courtesy Anthony Burns (Homepix Photography)

The men’s 200m freestyle final is also shaping as an intriguing battle with Bond boys Elijah Winnington (52.82; 1:49.33) and Alex Graham (52.88; 1:49.58) both winning their heats but they know that last night’s 200m butterfly-100m freestyle winner, Olympic champion, Marion’s Kyle Chalmers (55.56; 1:49.64) who stormed home to win his heat after turning eighth at the 100m mark, will be waiting to pounce.

Chalmers has made no secret of the fact that he is in Sydney to produce a strong 200m freestyle in heavy training under coach Peter Bishop and judging from his 1:57.35 (200m butterfly) and his 48.28 (100m freestyle) last night he will be steaming home.

It will be interesting also to compare with 19-year-old British boy Tom Dean who chalked up an eye-catching 1:46.03 (third fastest time for 2020 – minus Sun Yang) in the 2020 Edinburgh International overnight.

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Bend And Stretch: Cate Campbell and Madison Wilson will go head-to-head again tonight in the 50m freestyle. Photo Courtesy Anthony Burns (Homepix Photography).

Meanwhile in the women’s 50m freestyle heats just two fingernails separated the three heat winners with Knox-Pymble’s triple Olympian Cate Campbell (in a pair of nylons) clocking the fastest time of the day in 24.97 ahead of last night’s 50m butterfly-100m freestyle winner – fellow Rio Olympians Emma McKeon (Griffith University) 25.10 and Marion’s ever-present Madison Wilson (Marion) next with an impressive 25.12.

The men’s 100m breaststroke heats saw last night’s 50m breaststroke winner, local boy, Matthew Wilson, produce a powerful morning swim to be well ahead of the field, in 1:00.64 with Rio Olympian Jake Packard (USC Spartans) next on 1:02.51 followed by Alex Milligan (UWA West Coast) 1:02.74.

Finals start at 6pm local time.

4 comments

  1. avatar
    Troyy

    As far as I’m aware Kaylee McKeown’s 2:05.83 is the fastest time this year not the second fastest. Regan Smith’s fastest this year is 02:05.94.

  2. Sean Snow

    Sierra Look at their feet 👀