Zac Stubblety-Cook’s record breaking night kick starts Queensland Championships

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Olympic breaststroke hopeful Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler Swim Club)will have a name you will certainly remember in the countdown to Tokyo 2020 after a powerhouse start to his Olympic Trials campaign with a stunning world class swim in Brisbane tonight –again clocking the fourth fastest time in the world for 2019.

The 20-year-old Brisbane University student had already held that ranking with his fourth place finish at this year’s Fina World Championships in Gwangju.

But tonight, swimming against Japan’s world No 12 Yashiro Koeski, who arrived for the meet off altitude training, Stubblety-Cook improved that time to 2:07.28 (29.44; 1:01.71)– 0.08 faster than he swam in Gwangju.

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SHOW MEDALS: Winners are grinners and this says it all for Zac Stubblety-Cook. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media.

And it was fast enough to erase the long-standing 2009 “super suit” Queensland State record time of 2:07.31 set by Olympic silver medallist Christen Sprenger 10 years ago at the FINA World Championships in Rome and also the Queensland All-Comers record of 2:07.79 set by former world record holder and his Dolphins team mate Matt Wilson in June this year in Brisbane.

It was an impressive swim by Stubblety-Cook, splitting 1:01.71 (0.30 faster than he split in Gwangju) and he powered off the third turn with a powerful leg thrust and nailed his final 50m.

And for this time to come when he least expected it, in December and with another six months until the Australian Olympic Swim Trials at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Adelaide (June 14-19, 2020), it is an enormous confidence boost.

“I was pretty stoked with that – I didn’t realise I was going that fast,” Stubblety-Cook said after the race.

“At the end of the day I just focused on the process not any outcomes…that’s why it’s so surprising….my aim is to put together (the best possible race) as I pursue the perfect race for next year and at the end of the day that’s the goal, putting together a good race at the Olympics.

“This is a great start to my Olympic Trials campaign – it is step one.”

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HE’S THE MAN: Olympian Jake Packard points out the swim of the night by Zac Stubblety-Cook with Japan’s Yashiro Koseki looking on. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media

Stubblety-Cook said he was proud to continue the history of breaststroke swimming in Australia, saying he looked up to the likes of Olympic silver medallists Sprenger and Brenton Rickard.

“Christian and Brenton were always idols of mine growing up and it’s good to get one up on them now and great to continue the history of breaststroke in Australia,” said Stubblety-Cook.

  1. Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler) 2:07.28 (Qld Open/Qld All-Comers record)
  2. Yashiro Koseki (Japan) 2:12.48
  3. Liam Hunter (Chandler) 2:13.54
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Jack McLoughlin; Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/Swimming Australia

Meanwhile Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jack McLoughlin (Chandler Aquatic) produced a powerhouse finish to out-touch world ranked number two Clyde Lewis (St Peters Western) in a thrilling start to the opening session.

Lewis, one of the real success stories of this year’s Fina World Championships, where he shone in the Dolphins gold medal winning 4×200 freestyle and 4x100m mixed freestyle relays, looked to have the race in his keeping, opening up a two body length lead at the 150m mark.

But the 24-year-old Rio Olympian, McLoughlin, who trains in this very pool, drew on all of his endurance and experience to over power Lewis on the touch, clocking an impressive early season time of 1:47.63 to Lewis’ 148.01 with 2017 World Championship team member Louis Townsend (Rackley Swim Team) third in 1:48.99

  1. Jack McLoughlin (Chandler) 1:47.63
  2. Clyde Lewis (St Peters Western) 1:48.01
  3. Louis Townsend (Rackley Swim Team) 1:48.99

Women’s 200m freestyle

Golden smile from TSS Aquatic's Kiah Melverton and a hug for silver medal winning teammate Moesha Johnson.

Kiah Melverton. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Tokyo Olympic hopeful Kiah Melverton (TSS Aquatic), fresh from her battles with the world’s greatest female swimmer Katie Ledecky at the US Open in Atlanta, opened her account with a comfortable win in the women’s 200m freestyle in 1:58.57.

Melverton, 23, who has her sights set on the 200, 400, 800 and 1500m freestyles in her 2020 campaign, timed her swim to perfection over the final 100m to defeat Korea’s Seyeong Kim (1:59.04) with Nagisa Ikemoto (Japan) third in 1:59.47.

Other Australians to figure in the finish, claiming Queensland Championship medals were USC Spartans pair Mikkayla Sheridan (1.59.56) and Leah Neale (2:00.77).

  1. Kiah Melverton (TSS Aquatic) 1:58.57
  2. Seoyeong Kim (Korea) 1:59.04
  3. Nagisa Ikemoto (Japan) 1:59.47

In other events:

  • World championship silver medallist Kaylee McKeown (USC Spartans) had a busy night producing an eye-catching win in the 100m backstroke clocking 59.29 – just outside her best time and world ranked top 12 time, beating Japan’s Marina Furubayashi (1:00.94) and Toto Wong (Hong Kong) 1:01.32. She was later second to Japan’s Yui Ohashi (4:32.57) who won the women’s 400IM from McKeown (USC Spartans) 4:38.69 with Sakiko Shimizu (Japan) third in 4:38.74.
  • Bond University’s Jenna Strauch (2:25.31) staged a neck-and-neck duel with Japan’s Reona Aoki (2:25.46) before winning the women’s 200m breaststroke with Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) third in 2:27.72.
  • New Zealand’s World Championship bronze medallist Lewis Clareburt was narrowly outside his best time clocking 4:13.41 t6o take out the 400m individual medley in impressive fashion to launch his Tokyo campaign too ahead of Japan’s Ippei Miyamoto (4:16.82) and Brisbane’s rising Australian youngster Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 4:22.26.
  • While Tristan Hollard (Southport Olympic) won the men’s 100m backstroke in 55.00 from Andrew Jeffcoat (NZL) 55.27 and Peter Mills (Brisbane Grammar) 55.52.