Kaylee McKeown celebrates another victory

Kaylee McKeown Celebrates another victory Picture: Twitter/SwimmingAus

The Australian Swimming Olympic Trials came to a close Thursday, with dominant showings from two bright female stars, and so many other great stories.

The close of the Australian Swimming Olympic Trials came at the same speed as many of the races. With a flurry of activity, qualifiers, great news stories and heartbreak, the trials came to a close on Thursday. The Inner Sanctum looked at the first two days, and the middle two days previously.

Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown do not stop

Ariarne Titmus has only one competitor for Queen of the pool this week. Titmus set a new Australian record for the 800m freestyle. It is her third Australian record of the week (200m freestyle and 400m freestyle), and she has shown that she will be one of the medal threats for the Olympics.

The only swimmer who rivalled Titmus this week, (and possibly outshone Titmus), was Kaylee McKeown. After a dominant week, with a world record in the 100m backstroke, and a world-leading time in the 200m individual medley, McKeown closed out her week with a 200m backstroke Commonwealth record.

The two young superstars will be watched by the whole world ahead of the Games. Their performance across the week has ensured that neither will go under the radar.

Veterans stamp their passes one final time

The 100m freestyle (men’s and women’s) and the 50m freestyle (men’s) was a chance for the experienced swimmer to stamp their passes to the Games yet again.

Emma McKeon qualified fastest for the 100m freestyle, returning for her second games, after four medals (one gold) at Rio 2016.

Cate Campbell became the third Australian female swimmer to qualify for four Olympics, as she qualified for the 100m freestyle behind McKeon. Campbell has bronze medals from Beijing 2008, a gold medal (London 2012), and gold and silver medals from Rio 2016 already.

She joins Leisel Jones and Emily Seebohm (who became the second such swimmer earlier in the week) as the only women to have achieved the feat.

Cameron McEvoy missed the qualifying time for the 50m freestyle, but as the fastest finisher, and having already qualified as a relay team member, McEvoy ensured that he will return to the Games.

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Paralympians Announced

The day before the Olympic trials ended, the Australian Paralympic Swimming team was announced. With 32 athletes, including 15 debutants, the profile of Paralympic Swimming, has been raised running alongside Olympic Trials.

Read more about the Paralympic Swimming Team here.

Flying 100m

Matthew Temple backed up from his 200m butterfly to win the 100m butterfly with a new Australian record. Along with David Morgan, who also qualified in the 200m butterfly, the pairing will be off to Tokyo representing Australian men in butterfly.

Whilst he didn’t make the cut, Cody Simpson made the finals at trials. He shaved almost 2 seconds off his personal best leading into the Trials. As he professed previously, Simpson is targeting Paris 2024, and the swim shows that his training is on track.

Just Short

Jack McLoughlin qualified fastest in the 1500m, with a strong time of 14:52.69. After a tight race, there was heartbreak for young Sam Short, who finished just 2.16 seconds outside the qualifying time.

Short will lament the slow middles section of the race, as it likely cost him a chance at Tokyo 2020. The 17 year old’s disappointment was visible, and will only fuel him for years to come.

At the end of the Trials, the full Olympic Swimming Team was announced. The contingent of 35 swimmers will spend the next four weeks preparing, before they head off to Tokyo for quarantine, prior to the competition.

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