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Golden start for QAS athletes at swimming nationals

7 April 2015

Almost 700 of Australia’s finest swimmers congregated at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC) to compete at the 2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships from Friday 3 April.

Days one to four proved fruitful for Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) swimmers.

While preparation for the meet was abuzz with Grant Hackett’s return to the pool, QAS athlete David McKeon was the first Queenslander to qualify for the Australian Dolphins swim team by winning the silver medal in the men’s 400 metre freestyle. Hackett was not far behind in third place.

Queenslander Jessica Ashwood won gold in the women’s 400m freestyle. Leah Neale came in a close second, narrowly missing the selection time.

McKeon and Ashwood will now head to the upcoming FINA World Championships in Russia.

Olympian Michael Anderson (S10) led the way for a Queensland dominated podium in the men’s 100m multi class backstroke with QAS stars Daniel Fox (S14) and Brenden Hall (S9) taking silver and bronze respectively.

Early on night two Jake Packard and Christian won gold and silver in the 100m breaststroke.

Commonwealth bronze medallist Emma McKeon followed up her win in the heat of the women’s 100m butterfly with a gold medal win in the final on the second night of competition.

The win sealed McKeon’s spot on the Australian team beside her brother David. Madeline Groves took out silver and qualified to make her debut for the Australian team.

Just 15 minutes after placing second in her 100m backstroke semi-final, Emily Seebohm won the 200m individual medley with Keryn McMaster taking bronze.

Night three saw Daniel Fox take a second place in the men’s 50m multi class event.

The Queensland contingent did not fail to disappoint in the highly anticipated men’s 200m freestyle final, taking places one to five.

Cameron McEvoy and David McKeon took gold and silver, automatically qualifying. Meanwhile third and fourth places earned relay spots for Thomas Fraser-Holmes and Grant Hackett, while Daniel Smith rounded out the top five.

Not to be outdone, Emily Seebohm and Madison Wilson took gold and silver in the women’s 100m backstroke final, along with world championship qualifications.

Open water swimmer Chelsea Gubecka won the women’s 1500m freestyle, which ensures her a chance for qualification when she races the 10km event at the FINA World Cup in Mexico in May 2015.

Mitch Larkin scored a qualifying spot with a new personal best in his gold medal winning performance in the men’s 100m backstroke final. His time of 53.10s was just shy of a new Australian record and puts him in equal second in Australian all time rankings.

Taylor McKeown and Brendan Hall rounded out the successful night for QAS stars with McKeown qualifying after a first place in the women’s 100m breaststroke and Hall taking gold in the men’s 400m multi class event.

Day four’s finals kicked off with the Academy’s own Grant Irvine taking top spot and qualifying in the men’s 200m butterfly.

Emma McKeon secured her second qualifying spot with a win in the women’s 200m freestyle.

The swim clocked the second fastest time in the world this year behind the Netherlands’ Femke heemskerk.

Second placed Kylie Palmer also qualified, with Brittany Elmslie and Melanie Wright taking relay positions in third and fourth. Bronte Barratt was a close fifth, ensuring all five positions went to QAS athletes.

Christian Sprenger and Jake Packard followed up their previous night’s efforts with gold and bronze in the men’s 50m breaststroke, with Sprenger successfully defending his national title.

Jake McLoughlin rounded out the night for QAS swimmers with a bronze medal winning performance in the men’s 800m freestyle.

The 2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships continue at SOPAC until Friday 10 April, with heats starting daily at 10am AEST. Live Stream is available via Swimming Australia.

The national titles double as a FINA and IPC World Championship selection event.

Last updated
7 April 2015