Aussie Mollie’s Full Medal Packet At Queensland Championships: Paris Odyssey Off To Flying Start
Queensland teenager Mollie O’Callaghan surfaced from Australia’s history-making Olympic campaign as one of the girls most likely to light up Paris in 2024.
At 17 and on her first Australian senior team, “Mollie O” helped lay the platform for a victorious relay assault from a hungry Dolphins pod.
Last week O’Callaghan emerged from her post Olympic slumber at the 2021 McDonald’s Queensland Championships – like so many of her team mates – swimming a whopping 12 open and age individual events and three relays – a total of 27 races in seven days –winning a remarkable 14 gold and one bronze medal.
Wins in the open 100 and 200m freestyle where she lowered the colours of a returning Shayna Jack and Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus – two timely reminders to her St Peters Western training partners that Mollie O is all Go! And she squeezed in both the Open and Age 100m backstroke after the 200m free win.
Swimming World spoke exclusively to Maxine Seear –a key player in Dean Boxall’s St Peters Western coaching staff about this remarkable teenager’s non-stop week and why it could well be another major springboard for this super-talented youngster into 2022 and 2024.
And to Mollie O after a gruelling competitive week as she returns to training in the lead in to Christmas.
But first let’s push the rewind button on her Olympic debut and remind ourselves just how good it was for this shy, fresh faced Brisbane teenager swimming at her first Games.
Swimming the heats in the 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle and 4x100m medley relay, Mollie delivered a steely start well beyond her years.
Her 53.08 was the fastest of any lead-off split in the 4x100m freestyle heats – and only bettered in the final by Australia’s lead swimmer Bronte Campbell (53.01), Sweden’s world record holder Sarah Sjostrom (52.62, Olympic record) and Norway’s Pernille Blume (53.07).
O’Callaghan’s epic World Junior Record time of 1:55.11 in the bronze medal winning 4x200m freestyle heats was only bettered by lead off swims from China’s Yang Juan who clocked a new National record of 1:54.37 and her training partner and Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus’ 1:54.51 in the final – an Australian time only ever bettered by Titmus and Emma McKeon.
And then her Tokyo hurrah – a flying anchor split of 52.35 in Australia’s gold medal winning medley relay heats team – the fastest heat split and a time only bettered by Australia’s sprint queen Cate Campbell’s 52.11 and Sjostrom’s 52.26 in the final – leaving Mollie O among the fastest females of the Games.
Many keen judges believing Mollie had earned the right for a finals appearance – in teams that would earn her two gold and bronze medal for her best supporting roles in teams bulging at the seams with talent.
But it was something Mollie took in her stride–thankful for the opportunity to do her bit in the best teams in the world.
Believing her time will come as the curtain falls on 2021 and the dawning of a hectic 2022 just around the corner – a year she very much wants in on at the World Championships and Commonwealth Games.
And not just in the relays with Mollie signalling her intentions in not only the 100 and 200m freestyle but also the 100m backstroke.
Seear is clear about where Mollie O is heading and why her busy States program will be reap rewards as she heads towards Paris.
“The 100 and 200m freestyle and 100m backstroke will be Mollie’s major focus moving forward; she’s got a chance in all of those events to be successful,” said Seear.
“Australia has huge depth in all of them so she’s still got to be on her game if she still wants to make a senior team in an individual position and also to still be in those relays.
“Swimming multiple events (like she did at States) is so she learns to back up individual swims into the relays through the next session.
“It’s all about starting to get used to swimming multiple times through one session and Mollie did three events for most sessions, two events for the two days and just the last day where she had one event.
“She did a phenomenal job and we included events she is not that comfortable with including the 400m freestyle and the 100m butterfly just to get her used to swimming events she’s not used to and outside her comfort zone….
“It’s incredibly tough, largely tough on the mental and emotional side; physically a lot of the time they are right.
“But if you are not that happy about your first swim you’ve got to put that behind you and move forward.
“You can’t jeopardise the rest of your swims because of one swim and I think its incredibly tough and it’s very hard to train for the pressure of that big environment.
‘I don’t think we could ever simulate the intensity of the Olympic environment anywhere other than the Olympics.
“Obviously Olympic Trials has got a lot of pressure…but its still just not the same…if you can use these smaller meets to just to keep getting up and demanding more from yourself.
“At least you know you’ve got it in your back pocket .knowing “I’ve done this before…I’ve done the physicality of this before’ and then it’s just allowing you mentality to move through those meets.
“The Olympics was only her second Australian team; her first Australian team was a junior team and she’s now straight into the senior team.
“What being on that senior team taught her is going to carry with her for years now.
“She has matured unbelievably so through that one senior team experience, knowing she’s not got that in her back pocket…standing up and leading these relays off in the heats.
“There is no easy heat. She can lean on that forever. She can trust herself. She doesn’t need to doubt herself…and the team can trust her and that’s invaluable really….
“I think it’s awesome that relays are such a big part of the Australian team. Because that’s a cohesive unit…you bring everyone together to fight for your country and that’s what brings that unity to the team….starting off on your first Olympic team for Mollie in those relay environments were the best.”
And Mollie O was as proud as punch in what she achieved across the week and in her words: “I’m pretty stoked…..”
“It was a good learning experience which I’m sure will help me along way on my journey, starting next year,” said Mollie.
“It was quite hard coming back after a break and then transitioning into training again and this being the first meet since the Olympics.
“It gave me a lot of confidence in a way that I can do a lot more hopefully next year I can achieve my goals.
“I was happy with my 200m freestyle; we tried to replicate what I did at the Olympics but I still have to work on my technique, some other little things and getting fitter.
“I was also happy with my first 400 freestyle in three years…so I kind of surprised myself in an event I don’t really know how to race……
‘And when it comes to changing strokes – training backstroke helps my freestyle and training freestyle helps my backstroke……and I’m just happy that I can do so many events….because the freestyle and backstroke are both very very competitive.”
FULL OPEN RESULTS AND AWARDS
Shayna Jack (St Peters Western) 24.41
Alex Perkins (USC Spartans) 25.50
Mia O’Leary (Bond) 25.67
* Mollie O’Callaghan won the 17 years 50m freestyle in 25.19
Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) 53.62
Shayna Jack (St Peters Western) 53.80
Brianna Throssell (USC Spartans) 55.54
Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) 1:56.51
Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) 1:57.36
Brianna Throssell (USC Spartans) 1:58.16
* Mollie O’Callaghan also won the 17 years 200m freestyle in 1:57.68
Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) 4:04.64
Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western) 4:07.63
Moesha Johnson (Griffith University) 4:08.00
* Jamie Perkins (St Peters Western) won the 16 years 400m freestyle in 4:10.49 (which would have placed her fourth in the Opens)
Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) 8:26.65
Moesha Johnson (Griffith) 8:28.79
Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western) 8:33.15
Moesha Johnson (Griffith University) 16:01.66
Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western) 16:15.13
Madeleine Gough (Chandler) 16:16.65
Ashley Weill (St Andrews SC) 30.35
Carla Buchanan (Rackley Swim Team) 30.64
Emma Cran (Carina Leagues) 30.82
* Bronte Job swam the fastest time of the night breaking her own Qld 18 years All Comers record in 27.87.
Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) 1:00.67
Bronte Job (Rackley Swim Team) 1:0143
Jaclyn Barclay (St Peters Western) 1:01.94
- Earlier on Night 2, O’Callaghan also won the 17 years 100m backstroke in 1:01.26, and giving her three wins from her first three swims.
Tahlia Thornton (USC Spartans) 2:12.95
Ashley Weill (St Andrews) 2:16.54
Ava Brickley (Bond 2:20.29
- On night two, Mollie O’Callaghan won the 17 years 200m backstroke in 2:10.97.
Chelsea Hodges (Southport) 30.45
Mia O’Leary (Bond) 31.97
Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) 32.30
* Olympia Pope set new QLD 13 years records of 33.29 in the 50m breaststroke and 1:11.84 in the 100m breaststroke
Chelsea Hodges (Southport Olympic) 1:07.76
Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) 1:08.73
Matilda Smith (Hobart Aquatic Club) 1:10.75
* On night three Ella Ramsay (St Peters Western) won the 17 years 100m breaststroke in 1:08.92
Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) 2:29.91
Tayla Lumley (Rackley Swim Team) 2:32;75
Madeline Snell (Brisbane Grammar) 2:33.63
* On night two Olympia Pope (Somerset) won the 13 years 200m breaststroke in 2:32.61 – a new Australian 13 years record set by Tess David in 2009.
On night four Ella Ramsay (St Peters Western) won the 17 years 200m breaststroke in 2:28.73
Lily Price (Rackley Swim Team) 27.01
Rebecca St Vincent (Griffith) 27.11
Gemma Cooney (Brisbane Grammar) 27.31
Brianna Throssell (USC Spartans) 58.51
Alexandria Perkins (USC Spartans) 59.08
Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers) 59.86
Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers) 2:08.12
Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western) 2:16.19
Lucy Dring (SC Grammar) 2;16.41
* Elizabeth Dekkers set a new Australian 16 years record in the 200m butterfly with a time of 2:07.29 – breaking the 2008 record held by Samantha Hamill at 2:07.29, earning Dekkers the Female Swimmer of the Meet Award.
200m individual medley
Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) 2:15.27
Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western) 2:15.86
Mya Rasmussen (New Zealand) 2:15.98
400m individual medley
Mya Rasmussen (New Zealand Federation) 4:44.57
Ella Ramsay (St Peters Western) 4:45.68
Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers) 4:48.52
Thomas Nowakowski (Somerset SC) 22.17
Grayson Bell (Somerset SC) 22.21
Jamie Jack (Rackley) 22.45
*Flynn Southam won the 16 years 50m freestyle in a new 16 years Queensland All-Comers record time of 22.67.
Flynn Southam (Bond Swim Club) 49.40 (24.62/24.78)
Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 49.43
Maximillian Giuliani (Hobart Aquatic Club) 49.66
* Flynn Southam erased two of Australia’s biggest names – Ian Thorpe and Cameron McEvoy from the 16 years 100m freestyle record books on Day One. Southam clocked 49.42 (24.08; 25.34) faster than Thorpe’s 1999 Qld All-Comers record of 49.98 and McEvoy’s 2011 QLD record of 49.70.
Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 1:47.28
Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western) 1:48.22
Clyde Lewis (Griffith University) 1:48.88
In the 16 years 200m freestyle, Flynn Southam (Bond) set a new QLD 16 years age record of 1:48.72 which would have seen him place third in the Opens.
Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 3:50.20
Brendon Smith (Nunawading, VIC) 3:51.70
Mitchell Tinsley (Chandler) 3:53.18
Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 7:57.52
Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western) 8:02.89
Conor Daff (Chandler) 8:07.52
Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 15:21.47
Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western) 15:25.51
Mitchell Tinsley (Chandler) 15:34.68
Nash Wilkes (Southport) 28.22
Josh Hardness (Southport) 28.33
Jiachuan Yang (Rackley) 29.17
* Lello Bailey lowered the QLD 18 years 50m breaststroke record twice, to 27.57 and then to 27.48
Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler) 59.74
Nash Wilkes (Southport Olympic) 1:02.55
Jack Dugandzic (Churchie) 1:03.11
Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler) 2:07.00 (29.64; 1:01.99/32.35); 1:35.43/33.44; 2:07.00/31.57)
Yannik Zwolsman (Southport Olympic ) 2:16.27
Ryan Maskelyne (Papua New Guinea Federation) 2:16.3
Mitch Larkin (Chandler) 25.47
Ty Hartwell (Chandler) 26.06
Andrew Rice (St Andrew’s SC) 26.34
* Tokyo Olympian Isaac Cooper won the 17 years 50m backstroke in 24.62, breaking Mitch Larkin’s Queensland Open and Queensland All Comers record of 24.65 – ranking him the second fastest All-Time Australian behind Australian Open record holder Ben Treffers (24.54/2014).
Mitch Larkin (Chandler 53.80
Isaac Cooper (Rackley Swim Team) 54.59
Joshua Edwards-Smith (Griffith Uni) 54.98
- Flynn Southam (Bond) won the 17 years 100m backstroke in 56.01
Mitch Larkin (Chandler) 1:55.97
Joshua Edwards-Smith (Griffith University) 1:57.09 (57.20) Australian 18 years record 7th fastest Australian All-Time)
Ty Hartwell (Chandler) 1:59.21
On night three Thomas Hauck (All Saints Gold Coast) won the 18 years 200m backstroke in a new 18 years Queensland All-Comers record of 1:58.42, which was bettered by Joshua Edwards-Smith (Griffith University) with his 1:57.09 Australian record.
Joesph Jackson (Brisbane Grammar) 24.26
Jack Taylor (Churchie) 24.41
Ben Armbruster (Bond) 24.61
Bowen Gough (Griffith University) 52.80
David Morgan (Miami) 53.40
Jesse Coleman (Bond Swim Club) 53.48
Bowen Gough (Griffith) 1:56.71
Charles Cox (St Peters Western) 1:59.29
Lucas Humeniuk (Chandler) 2:00.78
200m individual medley
Clyde Lewis (Griffith) 1:58.92
Thomas Neill (Rackley) 1:59.87
Brendon Smith (Nunawading) 2:01.39
400m individual medley
Thomas Neill (Rackley Swim Team) 4:19.18
Joshua Staples (St Peters Western) 4:23.81
Lucas Humeniuk (Chandler) 4:25.06
PRESIDENT’S TROPHY – CLUB POINTSCORE TOP 10
St Peters Western (9360)
Rackley Swim Team (6772)
Griffith University (3167)
Nudgee College (3112)
Brisbane Grammar (2970)
Bond University (2807)
TSS Aquatic (2416)
Sunshine Coast Grammar (2094)
USC Spartans (1658)
Swimmers of the Meet:
Flynn Southam (Bond SC), coached by Kyle Samuelson, set a new 16 years Queensland All-Comers 50m freestyle record time of 22.67 and the 16 years 100m freestyle records to 49.42 (24.08; 25.34) and 49.40. In the 16 years 200m freestyle, he set a new QLD 16 years age record of 1:48.72.
Elizabeth Dekkers (Newmarket Racers), coached by Steve & Bob Miller who set a new Australian and QLD 16 years record of 2:07.29.
Age Group Swimmers of the Meet:
Olympia Pope (Somerset), coached by Chris Urquhart who set a new Australian 13 years record in the 200m breaststroke of 2:32.61 and new QLD records of 33.29 in the 50m breaststroke and 1:11.84 in the 100m breaststroke.
Joshua Edwards-Smith (Griffith) Coached by Michael Bohl who set a new Australian 18 years record 7th fastest Australian All-Time) of 1:57.09 (57.20) in the 200m backstroke
Para Swimmer of the Meet:
Benjamin Hance (USC Spartans), coached by Nathan Doyle who set a new Para World Record of 56.88 breaking his own previous S14 record in the 100m backstroke, as well as a Virtus World Record in the 50m Backstroke (27.00 in the Heat and 26.76 in the Final).
Country Swimmer of the Meet:
Ike Martinez (TAS Swimming), coached by Duncan Todd who won 6 Gold medals, 3 Silver medals plus a Bronze medal throughout the Championships.
President’s Trophy: St Peters Western
Female Aggregate Towel Awards:
Open – Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western) Coach: Dean Boxall
Para – Natalie Shaw (Southport Olympic) Coach: Sean Eels
18 Years: Jenna Forrester (St Peters Western) Coach: Dean Boxall
17 Years – Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western) Coach: Dean Boxall
16 Years – Jamie Perkins (St Peters Western) Coach: Richard Sleight
15 Years – Taryn Roberts (Rocky City) Coach: Shane Kingston
14 Years – Jaclyn Barclay (St Peters Western) Coach: Richard Sleight
13 Years – Bianca Rayward (TSS Aquatics) Coach: David Thomas
12 Years – Tibeca Lui (Griffith University) Coach: Janelle Pallister
Male Aggregate Towel Awards
Open – Thomas Neill (Rackley) Coach: Damien Jones
Para – Benjamin Hance (USC Spartans) Coach: Nathan Doyle
18 Years – Thomas Hauck (All Saints) Coach: Ken Sabotic
17 Years – Joshua Staples (St Peters Western) Coach: Dean Boxall
16 Years – Robert Thorpe (St Peters Western) Coach: Dean Boxall
15 Years – Ike Martinez (TAS Swimming) Coach: Duncan Todd
14 Years – James Leigh (MCA) Coach: James Boyce
13 Years – Kai Gilbert (TSS Aquatics) Coach: David Thomas
12 Years – Finn Morton (St Peters Western) Coach: Andrey Pianca dos Santos