World Championships, Doha: Silver Lining For Aussies In Touch And Go Finishes On Night One

Elijah Winnington
FREESTYLER: Elijah Winnington on his way to silver in the men's 400m freestyle. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr.

World Championships, Doha: Silver Lining For Aussies In Touch And Go Finishes On Night One

In the end, less than half-a-second separated silver from gold for Australia’s Elijah Winnington in the men’s 400m freestyle finish and the Dolphins women’s 4x100m women’s freestylers on a tight opening night in Doha.

Winnington, the 2022 world champion, clipped by just 0.15 with Kim Woo-min claiming Korea’s third gold in the event, first won by Park Tae-hwan in 2007 and again in 2011.

SILVER LINING: Elijah Winnington wins silver in the 400m frestyle.  Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

While in the women’s premier freestyle relay, the Netherlands snuck past the makeshift Aussies in the final leg reliving past glories to take their first gold in the event since 2011 – a race dominated by Australia since 2015, the team missing gold by 0.32.

Winnington stopping the clock in his second ever fastest time of 3:42.86 (pb of 3:41.22) to Kim’s 3:42.71 with Germany’s Lukas Martens (3:42.96) rounding out a cracking finish – Kim under world record pace for the first 200m and then chased home to the wall in a thrilling finish.

Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) and coached by Dean Boxall, maintaining Australia’s longstanding record in the 400m freestyle – taking the total medals in the event since Brad Cooper’s silver to Rick de Mont in 1973 – to 15 (7 gold and 8 silvers).

The 23-year-old Queenslander saying: “That is the second-best time of my career…I came here to race and the focus (has always) been on Paris, so I am happy where I am at.

“I didn’t really have a race plan after he (Woo-min) went out so hard…I could see him so that’s something I need to think about.”

While in the women’s relay the team of Brianna Throssell (54.29), Alexandria Perkins (55.02), Abbey Harkin (55.08) and Shayna Jack (52.64) threw everything at this race – knowing it is a flagship for the Aussie girls – finishing oh so close in 3:36.93 to the Netherlands (3:36.61) with the Canadians taking the bronze in 3:37.95.

Another classic example of the extraordinary depth in Australia’s female sprinting group with Emma McKeon, Mollie O’Callaghan, Bronte Campbell, Cate Campbell and Meg Harris all at home.

HAPPY HUNTERS: Australia’s 4x100m freestylers (L-R) Shayna Jack, Abbey Harkin, Alexandra Perkins and Brianna Throssell. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Jack saying: There is nothing better than hunting, therefore we will be hunting for the next six months toward the Olympics….coming home with the silver medal for our country is something we are proud of.”

Throssell (making her first finals appearance in this relay since winning gold in 2019) Harkin (the breaststroke specialist) and Jack (a mainstay in this squad) all under coach Boxall and coming into Doha from their annual January-February squad training camp in Thailand while Perkins hails from the USC Spartans team under coach Mick Palfrey.

Jack taking her world championship 4x100m freestyle medal tally to four – two gold (2022 and 2023) and two silver (2017 and 2024).

Full marks to Throssell and Perkins too – backing up after their 100m butterfly semi-finals – Throssell qualifying third fastest with her 57.22 (pb56.96) and Perkins who has earned her first ever world championship finalist appearance, swimming in lane eight after her semi-final of 58.02 (pb 57.64).

A personal best from Throssell in the final on night two will have her in the hunt for her first individual World Championship medal – after finishing sixth at last year’s World’s in Fukuoka; seventh in Budapest in 2023, fifth in Gwangju in 2019 and a semi-finalist in Kazan in 2015.

Australia’s Sam Williamson (Melbourne Vicentre, VIC) and coached by Craig Jackson continues his march into the Olympic year, improving his heat time in the 100m breaststroke from 59.81 to 59.35 to qualify seventh for the final – under his pb of 59.26, swum in Tokyo last November will be his goal.

While Australia will have two finalists in the men’s 50m butterfly – after a semi-final duel between sprint specialists Isaac Cooper (St Andrews; Coach Ashley Delaney) qualifying fourth in 23.18 and 50m freestyle world champion Cameron McEvoy (Somerville House; Coach Tim Lane) sixth fastest in 23.21 – both boys knowing it will take a sub 23 swim to match US sprint gun Michael Andrew.

FLYING SAM: Sam Williamson gets off to a flyer in the 100 breaststroke semi-final. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)


FULL THOSSELL: Brianna Throsell chasing an individual medal in the 100m butterfly. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).


Alexandra Perkins

FINALS DEBUT: Alexandria Perkins makes her first individual final. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)


MAN SHAKE: Isaac Cooper (L) and Cameron McEvoy shake it up in Doha. Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).


Cam McEvoy and Isaac Cooper

BROTHERS IN ARMS: See you ninth final bro…Cam McEvoy and Isaac Cooper after their duelling 50m fly semi. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

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