Bring On The Trials After Records Tumble At The Australian Championship On The Gold Coast

24 April 2024
Written by: Ian Hanson OAM

The just concluded 2024 Australian Open Championships on the Gold Coast have produced a mouth-watering entrée for Queensland swimmers leading into June’s Paris Olympic Selection Trials at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre.


Australia’s finest will converge on the 2032 Olympic host city for the six-day Trials meet from June 10-15 after the Gold Coast provided the perfect backdrop for an action-packed four-days of head-to-head racing, records, a collection of some of the fastest times ever swum amongst an extraordinary depth of talent.


It has heralded in what is sure to be a Paris Trials meet for the ages with “Chandler” to host  the biggest domestic meet of the Olympic and Paralympic cycle.


Queensland clubs, swimmers and coaches didn’t disappoint at the Gold Coast Aquatiuc Centre, leading the way with some superb performances across the board over two weeks of non-stop swimming action from the Australian Age to the Open – putting the world on notice.


There was a collection of highlights at every turn, with Kaylee McKeown (Griffith University; coach Michael Bohl) leading the way right from the get-go and Paralympic S9 world champion Alex Leary (St Hilda’s, Coach Jon Bell) chiming in with a new world record of 59.64 in the 100m freestyle putting  her exclamation mark on the meet as she too chases gold and her Paralympic debut in Paris.


“The unstoppable” Kaylee turned her attentions to the IM and sliced her way through the water faster than she’s ever been as the dual Olympic backstroke gold medallist, attacked the IM record books with a powerhouse display of medley swimming – not seen in Australian waters for 16 years.


Setting two new Australian records held by dual Olympic champion Stephanie Rice (also coached by Michael Bohl) since her 2008 Beijing Olympic triumphs in the 200 and 400IM – clocking world class times of 2:06.99 (fifth fastest time in history) and  4:28.22 (third fastest all time) respectively before nudging her own world record in the 200m backstroke with her 2:03.84, the sixth fastest time ever swum.


Kaylee now has five of the 10 fastest 200m backstroke times ever swum; her US rival Regan Smith has four and US legend, 2012 London Olympic champion Missy Franklin the other.


The Paris showdown will be one of so many duels on the Paris program.


World’s All-Time Top Ten Women’s 200m Backstroke


  1. Kaylee McKeown (AUS) 2:03.14 (WR)
  2. Regan Smith (USA) 2:03.35
  3. Regan Smith 2.03.69
  4. Kaylee McKeown 2:03.70
  5. Regan Smith 2:03.80
  6. Kaylee McKeown 2:03.84
  7. Kaylee McKeown 2:03.85
  8. Regan Smith 2:03.99
  9. Missy Franklin (USA)2:04.06
  10. Kaylee McKeown 2:04.21


And then there’s Mollie O’Callaghan (St Peters Western, coach Dean Boxall) who also pushed herself into new territory.

After injecting her trademark kick over the final 25 metres to win the 100m freestyle in 52.27 - the third fastest time in the world this year – and with Kaylee turning her attention to the 400IM, Mollie O turned onto her back, clocking her own personal best and another world number three.


Not done with yet, the pocket rocket world record holder charged ahead of training partner and Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus to clocked the fastest time in the world this year with her 1:53.57 – the sixth fastest time in history.


All-Time Top Ten Performances In The Women’s 200m Freestyle


  1. Mollie O’Callaghan (AUS) 1:52.85 (WR)
  2. Federica Pellegrini (ITA) 1:52.98
  3. Ariarne Titmus 1:53.01
  4. Ariarne Titmus 1:53.09
  5. Ariarne Titmus 1:53.31
  6. Ariarne Titmus 1:53.50
  7. Mollie O’Callaghan 1:53.57
  8. Allison Schmitt (USA) 1:53.61
  9. Summer McIntosh (CAN) 1:53.65
  10. Mollie O’Callaghan 1:53.66


Titmus was also in her best “in season form” the Olympic champion and world record holder keeping her five-year unbeaten record intact in the 400m freestyle – clocking under four-minutes, clocking the world’s fastest time of 3:59.13 after her 8:17.80 to take out the 800m.


With the very impressive Lani Pallister (Griffith University, coach Michael Bohl) second in the 400m in 4:01.75 and the 800m in 8:19.38 before doubling up with her near best time of 1:55.99 in the 200 free before taking her second 1500m title in 15:57.01.


Pallister is very much on track to join Titmus on the team for Paris in both the 400 and 800m as well as the No 1 contender for the 1500m as she also chases a spot in the 4x200m freestyle.


Her but week closing in fine style – but not quite over as the multi-talented Pallister drove two hours “home” to the Sunshine Coast where she has been a member of the Alexandra Headlands Surf Life Saving Club since Nippers – producing another gold medal moment at “The Aussies.”


Pallister produced a stunning swim leg to come from 50m behind to catch the leading teams, cracking a wave into the bargain to led her Alex team to victory in the Taplin Relay.


The men’s events were highlighted with two eye-ball to eye-ball races between world champions Elijah Winnington (2022) and Sam Short (2023) in the 400m freestyle and then a return bout in the 800m.


Winnington’s turns proving the difference in the 400m, clocking 3:41.41 (the fastest time in the world this year) to Shorts’ 3:41.64, the second fastest time.


Over to the 800m with Winnington in 7:43.08 (World #3) nudging out Short in 7:43.98 (World #4) as the pair went hammer and tongs for 16 laps.


Another record-breaking eye-catcher came in the women’s 200m butterfly with World Aquatics silver medallist Lizzy Dekkers (Chandler, Coach Vince Raleigh) setting a new Australian All-Comers Record of 2:05.20 – the second fastest time in the world this year.




In a dominant Australian Championships, Queensland swimmers won:


  • 86.3 percent of the medals in the female open division
  • 41.5 percent of the medals in the female U18/19s
  • 58.8 percent of open male medals and;
  • 58.8 percent of U18s/19s


Across the Australian Age and Australian Open Championships, Queensland athletes won 62.3 percent of all Medals.


The following Queensland athletes gained a Top 20 World Ranking based on their Times set at the Open Championships.




50 Free

Shayna Jack, (St Peters Western) 24.28

Meg Harris, (Rackley Swim Team) 24.28

Emma McKeon, (Griffith University) 24.86


100 Free

Mollie O’Callaghan, (St Peters Western) 52.27 (World #3)

Meg Harris, 52.59

Emma McKeon, 53.09

Shayna Jack, 53.20

Brianna Throssell, (St Peters Western) 53.77


200 Free

Mollie O’Callaghan, 1:53.57 (World #1; sixth fastest time all time)

Ariarne Titmus, (St Peters Western), 1:55.38

Lani Pallister, Griffith University), 1:55.99

Shayna Jack, Brianna Throssell, 1:56.96

Jamie Perkins, (St Peters Western), 1:57.13


400 Free

Ariarne Titmus, 3:59.13 (World #1)

Lani Pallister, 4:01.75

Kiah Melverton, (St Peters Western), 4:06.94

Jamie Perkins, (St Peters Western) 4:08.55


800 Free

Ariarne Titmus, 8:17.80

Lani Pallister, 8:19.38

Kiah Melverton, (St Peters Western) 8:25.71


1500 Free

Lani Pallister, 15:57.01


100 Back

Mollie O’Callaghan, 58.09 (World #3 2024)

Hannah Fredericks (St Peters Western) 59.69


200 Back

Kaylee McKeown, 2:03.84 (World #1 2024)

Hannah Fredericks, 2:08.92


200 Breast


Jenna Strauch (Miami; Richard Scarce) 2:23.33


100 Fly

Emma McKeon, 56.58

Brianna Throssell, 56.77




200 Fly

Elizabeth Dekkers, 2:05.20 (Aust All Com Rec, World #2)

Brianna Throssell, 2:06.98

Abbey Connor (USC Spartans) 2:07.20


200 Medley

Kaylee McKeown, 2:06.99 (Aust Rec; (World #1 2024)

Ella Ramsay (St Peters Western) 2:10.71


400 Medley

Kaylee McKeown, 4:28.22 (Aust Rec; world #1 2024)

Ella Ramsay, 4:36.94




100 Free

Kyle Chalmers (St Andrews) 47.63


200 Free

Kai Taylor (St Peters Western), 1:45.89 (relay)

Flynn Southam (Bond), 1:46.11


400 Free

Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western) 3:41.41 (World #1)

Sam Short (Rackley Swim Team) 3:41.64 (World #2)


800 Free

Elijah Winnington 7:43.08 (World #3)

Sam Short 7:43.98 (World #4)


1500 Free

Sam Short 15:03.25


200 Breast

Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler) 2:07.50 (World #6)


Written by Ian Hanson OAM

Photo Credit: Delly Carr / Swimming Australia 

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