Night One - 2024 NSW Sydney Open & UniSport Nationals

10 May 2024

Master And The Apprentice Headline Exciting Opening Night’s Finals

A series of blanket finishes, the appearance of world champion freestyler Cameron McEvoy and his apprentice Joshua Conias and a world class 200IM showstopper highlighted an exciting opening night’s racing at the 2024 Sydney Open UniSport Nationals.

McEvoy didn’t disappoint, winning the 50m freestyle final in 21.91 from his Somerville House, QLD club mate, 16-year-old Conias (22.35) with local Olympic hopeful Will Yang (SOPAC, NSW) touching third in 22.40.

And Conias will again have the 16 years world best time of 22.22 (owned by Romania’s David Popovici) and Kyle Chalmers Australian Age Record of 22.33 in his sights at the Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre on night two when he lines up in another 50m freestyle attempt just days before his 17th birthday.

The 2023 World Champion, McEvoy, who was beaten by just 0.01 in this year’s Doha World’s final by the Ukraine's Vladyslav Bukhov, revealed after the race that his training for Doha had pointed towards a sub 21 second swim.

“The training I was doing in the lead up to Doha suggested I could have gone 20 (point) so the plan was to go out max in the heat, max in the semi – (but) throw in the three 50 butterfly (races) – and then get to the final and I was neurally fatigued,” said McEvoy.

 “You could see in the data -I was 0.03/0.04 slower over the first 25m and I hadn’t done the full taper, not the 12-week leading in, just the five week taper, so it was the mixture of a few things that came together and the I earnt that I couldn’t go 21.1 three times in a row at this stage.

“And heading to Paris the goal isn’t the time it’s hand on the wall first.”

And there was a world class show-stopper in the men’s 200m IM with world champions, Daiya Seto (JPN) 1:56.99 taking the win from New Zealand star Lewis Clareburt 1:57.55 with Victorian Olympic hopeful William Petric (Nunawading, VIC) producing a personal best of 1:58.05 – to make him the seventh fastest all-time Australian.

Meanwhile three finals – the women’s 400m freestyle and the men’s 100m breaststroke and 200m backstroke saw all three placegetters in each race test the electronic timing.

Chandler’s rising all-rounder Ella Ramsay won the women’s 400m freestyle in 4:11.49 – just 0.06 ahead of New Zealand Olympian Caitlin Deans in 4:11.55, who out-touched Chandler’s dual Olympian, Leah Neale by the barest of margins, just 0.01 behind in 4:11.56.

It was Ramsay who led throughout, splitting 59.73 and 2:03.26 before Deans and Neale stormed home – Dean’s final 50m in 31.02 and Neale clocking 30.09.

The form stroke boys didn’t disappoint either with just 0.22 separating the top three in the 200m backstroke – New Zealand Olympian Kane Follows winning the touch in 1:58.56 from NSW’s Bradley Woodward (Mingara Aquatic, NSW), just 0.11 behind in 1:58.67 for second and Enoch Robb (All Saints, QLD) just another fingernail back in 1:58.78 for third.

The men’s 100m breaststroke saw 200m Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook, swimming for the Griffith University team in the UniSport Nationals produce his trademark big finish to grab the win in 1:00.21.

Just 0.45 ahead of Chandler, QLD-based training partner Bailey Lello (1:00.66), with Irish international Darragh Greene only 0.18 back for third in 1:00.84.

Stubblety-Cook was out in 28.69, third behind Haig Buckingham (SOPAC, NSW) 28.50 and Lello 28.61 but powered home in 31.52 – the only swimmer under 32 seconds in the backend.

It was another strong performance from Stubblety-Cook after his 100-200m double at the Australian Open as he eyes the 50m breaststroke today and tomorrow’s 200m up against rising star Lello and another fellow Olympian and another former world record holder in Matthew Wilson (SOPAC, NSW).

Meanwhile Carlile’s Olivia Wunsch returned to racing after her impressive Australian Age meet to win the women’s 50m freestyle, clocking 24.78 to finish ahead of Japanese Olympian Rikako Ikee (25.03) and South Australia Brittany Castelluzzo (Tea Tree Gully, SA) 25.09.

And Chandler’s Commonwealth champion Lizzie Dekkers (2:06.47) was impressive in winning the 200m butterfly from local girl Bella Grant (Australian Catholic University, NSW) 2:08.92 with the ever-present Castelluzzo third  in 2:11.29.

The men’s world number two Matt Temple (Marion, SA) continued his solid form as Australia’s number one butterflyer, winning the 100m in 51.72 from Shaun Champion (University of Technology, Sydney, NSW) 51.99 and Harrison Turner (Nudgee College, QLD) 52.64.

With world champion Paralympic medallist Timothy Hodge (Western Sydney University, NSW) winning the Multi-Class 100m butterfly in 1:00.89 from Liam Schluter(USC Spartans, QLD) 58.37 with the multi-talented Declan Budd (Knox Pymble, NSW) 59.76 in third. 

And in the 200m freestyle Multi-Class for women saw Jade Lucy (Southern Sydney Swim Team, NSW) in 2:126.64 take the gold from Chloe Osborn (ACU Blacktown Swim Club, NSW) 2:36.31with Madeleine McTernan  (Sharks Aquatics, QLD) 2:17.30 in third.

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