Ariarne Titmus almost breaks world record, Emma McKeon and Elijah Winnington book Olympics Games spots


“I didn’t expect to go that fast. Swimming like that gives me good confidence. The goal isn’t to swim my best here, the goal is to just book your ticket. I’m excited to see what I can do now in Paris.

“I was quite fearless. At the end of the day, trials is a bit of a free shot for me. I don’t have to worry about getting under a qualifying time. So if I stuff up, I have the luxury that I’d probably still be on the team. To be that close to my PB at trials is really exciting.”

The world record holder and reigning Olympic champion believes she is in the best condition of her life and this was a result that certainly gives credibility to that statement.

Titmus was the first swimmer to officially make Australia’s Olympic swimming team, with Lani Pallister booking her ticket to Paris just under seven seconds later in a time of 4:02.27.

Titmus’s coach, Dean Boxall, chewed gum ferociously on pool deck and became more animated with every stroke in the dying moments with a world record in touching distance.

Three years ago at these trials, Titmus posted a time of 3:56.9 before her “monkey off the back” victory over Katie Ledecky at the Tokyo Olympics.

The emergence of Canadian teenager McIntosh added a third dimension to an already tantalising race when the youngster broke Titmus’ world record last year, but the Australian has re-established herself as the one to beat in Paris.

Pallister has been desperate to crack the magic four-minute mark for a number of years, but it can wait until her maiden Olympics. She is aiming to become the sixth woman in history to manage the feat, after Titmus, McIntosh, Ledecky, Federica Pellegrini, and Erika Fairweather.

Lani Pallister after making her first Olympic team.

Lani Pallister after making her first Olympic team. Credit: Getty

Pallister joins her mother, Janelle, as another Olympian in the family. As she got out of the pool, Pallister was greeted by her godmother, Dawn Fraser, for a celebratory hug.

“It’s been huge,” Pallister said. “Three years ago … I didn’t think I’d be here behind the blocks. So, yeah, going to my first Olympics, alongside Arnie, is going to be incredible. I’m just really grateful.”

Meanwhile, Winnington knocked off Short in the men’s 400m freestyle to send another reminder that he means business.

Although the time of 3:43.26 wasn’t super impressive – both swimmers have been much faster over the past 12 months – both were relieved to make the team, knowing all that matters is what happens in seven weeks’ time.

“The point of an Olympic trial is obviously to make the Olympics, so that’s just the box ticked,” Winnington said. “I just tried to go out there and give it my all and see where I’m at, so it’s good heading into the Games.”

Women’s 200m individual medley

Less than two months after breaking Steph Rice’s Australian record, Kaylee McKeown booked her spot on a second Olympic team with an even quicker time in her first event on the program.

McKeown (2:06.63) finished well ahead of Ella Ramsay (2:09.32) and casually dropped another Australian record and solidified her standing as the world’s fastest this year.

The 22-year-old is aiming to win three individual gold medals in Paris in the 200m individual medley, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke.

“The Americans are up next week. I’m just going to put my best foot forward, and hopefully in Paris, my foot’s better,” McKeown said on Channel 9.

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Men’s 100m breaststroke

Sam Williamson trumped Zac Stubblety-Cook as Australia’s premier 100m breaststroker on a day when he sliced more than four tenths of a second off his personal best. His time of 58.8 is a pleasing sign for Australia’s chances in the medley relay.

Joshua Yong sneaked into second position and booked a maiden Olympic berth by one hundredth of a second.

Women’s 100m butterfly

Emma McKeon is off to another Olympics following her comfortable win in the 100m butterfly.

After picking up a bronze medal in Tokyo, McKeon secured her spot on the team with a time of 56.85, ahead of Alex Perkins (57.33) who did not slip under Swimming Australia’s qualifying time.

“The pressure’s always on and Olympic trials is just crazy, so everyone’s always going to be very nervous,” McKeon said. “I’m glad I’ve got my first one out of the way.”



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