23 May 2022

Australian swimming championships - May 2022

World Record Breaking Week for Ariarne Titmus and Zac Stubblety-Cook as Team Speedo Gets Set To Take On The World.

Australian Swimming Championships

WOW what a week for Team Speedo’s Ambassadors at this week’s Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide which started with a world record to Zac Stubblety-Cook and finished last night with another spectacular world mark to Ariarne Titmus on an action packed final night at the SA Aquatic And Leisure Centre.

Titmus produced the fastest swim of her already celebrated career, clocking 3:56.40, taking down the six-year-old world record set in 2016 by the world’s greatest female swimmer, American Katie Ledecky.

The 22-year-old dual Olympic champion hung on grimly as the digital WR red line chased her home, taking just 0.06 off Ledecky’s previous mark to bring to a close five very fast days of swimming – culminating in the announcement of the Dolphins teams for this year’s World Championships and Commonwealth Games.

It was Stubblety-Cook who kick-started the record-breaking meet becoming the first swimmer in history to break 2:06.00 for 200m breaststroke, stopping the clock at 2:05.95.

The Vince Raleigh trained Stubblety-Cook from Chandler is one of 11 Speedo Ambassadors including Mack Horton, Sam Short, Matt Wilson, Elijah Winnington, Elizabeth Dekkers, Kaylee McKeown, Mollie O’Callaghan, Lani Pallister, Chelsea Gubecka and Brianna Throssell who have been named on the World’s team for Budapest next month with Ariarne joining Zac among the 14 Speedo athletes selected for Birmingham, joining Mack Horton, Sam Short, Matt Wilson, Elijah Winnington, Minna Atherton, Elizabeth Dekkers, Chelsea Hodges, Emma McKeon, Kaylee McKeown, Mollie O’Callaghan, Lani Pallister and Brianna Throssell on the plane for the 22nd Commonwealth Games in July-August

Last night also saw our triple Olympic gold medallist Kaylee McKeown become the first swimmer in Australian Championship history to win the 100 and 200m backstroke and the 200 and 400m IM doubles at the same meet as she sets herself up for Paris via Budapest and Birmingham – adding the 200IM last night in 2:09.15.

She had already clocked the second fastest time ever by an Australian with her 4:31.74 – in the 400IM just 0.28 outside Stephanie Rice’s 2008 Australian all-comers record and just over three seconds outside Rice’s Commonwealth and Australian records, also powering home to win the 100/200m backstroke double

And then there is Mollie O’Callaghan and Lani Pallister – “Mollie O” coming of age as she emerges from her Tokyo relay alternate roles to become a major individual player – now number one in the world in the 100m freestyle – chiming in behind Ariarne in the 200 and behind Kaylee in the 100 and 200m backstroke as well as spots in the 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke.

It was in a world class women’s 100m freestyle final with O’Callaghan improving her heat swim personal best of 52.83 to 52.49 (25.92/26.57) – to confirm her ranking as world number with Jack a close up second also in a personal best of 52.60 (#2 in the world) from Meg Harris (Marion, SA) right in the mix in 53.09 for third (#3 in the world), rounding out her meet with a bronze to Shayna Jack and Meg Harris in the 50m freestyle.

Welcome to her first major international meets Mollie in what could feature six individual events and in all four relays across the two meets.

While Lani showed that anything mum can do she can do too with the three-time World Junior champion following in mum Janelle’s footsteps for the second time at this week’s Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide.

Nineteen-year-old Lani produced three of the swims of her career – clocking a personal best time of 15 minutes 55.40 - the third fastest time by an Australian to add the 1500m freestyle to her earlier win in the 800m freestyle in 8:17.77 before becoming the second fastest Australian behind the world record breaking Ariarne Titmus in the 400m freestyle in another personal best of 4:02.21.

Mother, Janelle Elford (assistant to head coach Michael Bohl in the Griffith program at the Swimming Australia Hub at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre) won the 1500m in 1987, ‘88 and ‘91 and the 800m in ’87 and ’88 – and in a lovely postscript Janelle was also announced as one of nine coaches on the team for Birmingham.

“Mum was an incredible athlete in her own respect so to be kind of following in her footsteps and to keep doing distance freestyle for our family is special enough as it as and I’m excited to keep moving forward,” said Pallister.

And wrapping up the drama charged final night that saw Sam Short stop at the 1400m mark, mis-calculating his laps and costing him valuable time – and a qualifying time but after some anxious moments Sam was rewarded for his best week in the pool – making his debut at the World’s and then the Birmingham Games.

Like Short, who missed last year’s Olympic by a whisker, so did Dekkers – but there was nothing left to chance last night with the girl from Newmarket Racers in Brisbane, winning her first National title in the 200m butterfly in 2:07.62 – and booking her seat on the planes to both Budapest and Birmingham.

Ian Hanson OAM

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