Records continued to tumble at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre tonight with Tokyo golden girls Ariarne Titmus and Chelsea Hodges leading the way on the final night of the NSW State Open Championships.
Olympic champion Titmus (St Peters Western) set her third NSW All Comers record of the meet, streeting away in the 200m freestyle in 1:54.66 (27.20, 56.14; 1:25.47) – under Emma McKeon’s previous mark of 1:55.38, set in 2020.
And it makes Titmus the equal fastest swimmer in the world for 2022, alongside none other than her US nemesis Katie Ledecky who swam 1:54.66 herself at last month’s Sectional Championships in Florida.
The pair, locked together in the battle for freestyle supremacy in Tokyo last year, now continue to race for top billing in the 200m freestyle rankings (Titmus and Ledecky, 1:54.66), the 400m (Titmus 4:00.03), the 800m freestyle (Ledecky 8:11.83) and the 1500m (Ledecky 15:39.45).
Titmus’ club mate Shayna Jack has rocketed to No 1 in the world over 50m freestyle (24.53) and the 100m freestyle (with her personal best time of 53.91) - as she continues to build her pathway back to the international scene.
While Hodges (Southport Olympic, QLD), who swam the key breaststroke leg in Australia’s victoious 4x100m medley relay at the Olympics, set the Sydney Olympic pool alight with a sizzling 50m breaststroke time of 30.17, a new NSW and Australian All Comers record.
The second fastest time ever by an Australian - just 0.01 outside Sarah Katsoulis’ National record set in Rome at the World Championships back in 2009 – a milestone from an era of the now banned super-suit and a record under siege after more than a decade.
And in one of the most thrilling finishes of the weekend, Carlile’s Tokyo Olympian Se-Bom Lee (4:15.91) held off a fast finishing Tokyo bronze medallist Brendon Smith (Griffith University, QLD) 4:16.45 to win the gold in the grueling 400IM by just 0.54 – after leading with 100m to go by 2.64 seconds.
Lee looked to have an unassailable lead but as he did in Tokyo, never-say-die Smith set off on the final two freestyle laps, running out of water in the end, with Lee winning a cat and mouse battle to the finish.
Meanwhile Griffith University’s triple Olympic gold medallist Kaylee McKeown (27.61) added the 50m backstroke title to her 100 and 200m golds, just two events after winning the 200 IM with an all-the way win in 2:10.64 – for a four-gold meal haul.
And in other events
- Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers) raced away to a stunning victory, in the 200m butterfly, building her race through the second and third 50s to take the title in 2:08.85 - the start of a year that will surely see her receive the National team status she so thoroughly deserves.
- Tea Tree Gully Victoria’s Brittany Castelluzzo (2:11.63) hung on in a thrilling finish for the minor medals with NSW teens Abbey Connor (Revesby Workers) 2:11.64 third and Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar) 2:12.26 fourth – both Sydney girls clocking personal best times.
- Olympic relay medallist and Australian record holder Matthew Temple (Marion, SA) powered away to take the win in 51.83 from a fast finishing Shaun Champion (Abbotsleigh, NSW) 52.68 with 200m winner Bowen Gough (Griffith University, QLD) 52.95 third and Cody Simpson (Griffith University, QLD) fourth in 53.10, just edging out dual-Olympian David Morgan (Miami, QLD) 53.10.
- Temple was later third in the 50m freestyle clocking 22.72 behind former WA sprinter Ashton Brinkworth (USC Spartans, QLD) 22.65 with Jack Cartwright (St Peters Western) 22.69 making a welcome return to the podium in third.
- Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook and his fellow Tokyo Olympian and former world record holder Matthew Wilson both surged to the top of a world rankings list that needed some movers and shakers with a 2:08.38 winning time from Stubblety-Cook and an encouraging step forward with a 2:10.76 from Wilson for second.
- While in the women’s 1500m freestyle it was three-time World Junior Champion Lani Pallister (Griffith University, QLD) who capped off a welcome return to racing. The 19-year-old turned her bronze medals in the 400m and 800m freestyles in world class fields led by Olympic gold medallist Ariarne Titmus with a gutsy win in the 1500m freestyle in 16:03.95 (2:04.47; 4:12.56; 8:29.97) – capping off a satisfying weekend.
- Meanwhile it was two-time Tokyo Paralympic medallist, Timothy Hodge (Auburn, NSW) who ended his meet with two wins in the Multi-Class 100m backstroke (1:02.27) and the 200IM (2:14.70) – taking his gold medal tally to three after his 100m butterfly win earlier nin the meet.
- Other final night wins came from 18-year-old Hannah Price (Campbelltown) who added the 100m backstroke in 1:15.70 to her 400m freestyle win; Jasmine Greenwood (Bay and Basin, NSW) in the women’s 200IM (2:34.46); and Braedan Jason (USC Spartans) 54.53 and Emily Beecroft (USC Spartans) 1:04.16 in their respective 100m freestyle finals.