Se-Bom Lee, Shaun Champion, Bradley Woodward, Matthew Galea, Will Yang and Abbey Connor will all be flying the flag for “The Mighty Blues” on the final night of what has been a thrilling 2023 NSW State Open Swimming Championship meet at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.
The packed fields of Australia’s finest Olympic, World and Paralympic champions have rocked the SOPAC pool this week with Kaylee McKeown’s world record swim in the 200m backstroke, kick-starting the meet on night one.
McKeown has been the star of the show – clocking the No 1 time in the world in the 100m backstroke last night and who will line up in two more finals tonight, the 200IM and the 50m backstroke.
It will cap off three days of close, hard racing and fast times as Australia’s finest continue to fine tune their racing skills towards this year’s Australian Age and Open Championships on the Gold Coast next month and the World Championship Trials in Melbourne in June.
And what a finale for Carlile’s Tokyo Olympian Se-Bom Lee who will be out to complete the 200-400IM double after his thrilling win in the 200IM last night.
Lee found another gear in the final freestyle leg to edge out early leader, Nunawading Victoria’s talented youngster William Petric who will line up again in the 400IM final tonight.
This morning it was Lee who again had full control, clocking 4:14.77 to win the opening heat ahead of Petric in 4:18.71 with Nunawading team mate Elliot Rogerson taking heat two in 4:17.88.
Revesby Workers super-talented 2022 World Championship and Commonwealth Games debutant Abbey Connor will be facing off with Australia’s most successful Olympic and Commonwealth Games swimmer in Emma McKeon (Griffith University, QLD) in the opening event of the night, the women’s 200m butterfly.
Connor looked comfortable in this morning’s heats, clocking the fastest time of the day in 2:12.74, from McKeon (2:13.37) and Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar, NSW) 2:14.39, the third fastest.
The men’s 100m butterfly final promises to be a helter-skelter affair with just two-one-hundredths of a second separating the top four.
US Open titleholder Shaun Champion, coached by Amanda Isaac at Abbotsleigh, heads the qualifiers winning heat two in 53.10 for a final featuring Commonwealth Games debutant from Birmingham, Cody Simpson (Griffith University, QLD) who won the opening heat in 53.11 with Jack Carr (Chandler, QLD) taking heat three in 53.30, just out-touching Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers (Marion, SA) in 53.32.
Commonwealth Games medallists Will Yang (SOPAC) and training partner Bradley Woodward (Mingara) will be in the hunt for medals in the men’s 100m backstroke, Yang the fastest qualifier in 54.92 ahead of Woodward 55.07 in the opening heat while Tokyo Olympian Isaac Cooper won the second heat in 55.02.
While Matthew Galea (SOPAC), silver in the 800m behind Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) in the 800m will swim from lane four in the 1500m freestyle timed final tonight.
The other major highlights will come in the women’s 200m freestyle and 200m individual medley and the men’s 50m freestyle.
The women’s 200m freestyle will feature a who’s who of Australia’s premier Dolphins – with a flood of World and Olympic champions fighting for positions as they grapple with the affects of tough training camps and maximum mileage as and motivating themselves to race fast.
World and Commonwealth Games champion Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, QLD) who has had a different schedule, racing the 100 and 200m backstroke and the 400 freestyle and by passing her specialist 100m freestyle – is the fastest qualifier into the final on 1:58.28.
She will be joined by Olympic, World and Commonwealth champion Madi Wilson (Marion, SA) 1:58.31 and O’Callaghan’s St Peters Western team mates Shayna Jack 1:58.57 and Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus 1:58.74, dual Olympian Brianna Throssell 1:58.79 and Eve Thomas 1:59.36.
The men’s 50m freestyle will be headed by triple Olympian Cameron McEvoy (Somerville House, QLD) clocking 22.18 to headline a final that includes Commonwealth Games finalist Thomas Nowakowski (Somerset, QLD) 22.37 who is coached by Olympic gold medallist Ashley Callus, British 100m record holder Lewis Burras (Peel Aquatic, WA), 22.39, Jezze Gorman (St Andrews, QLD) 22.47 and Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers (Marion, SA) 22.50.