Olympic 200m backstroke champion Kaylee McKeown sailed to the Australian title Saturday as fast-rising prospect Mollie O’Callaghan smashed her ticket for a 4th individual event at next month’s world championships.
McKeown, 20, who triumphed the 100m and 200m backstroke at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, touched in 2mins 05.31secs in Adelaide — the 4th fastest of the year and with plenty in the tank.
However, it was a long way outside the 2:03.35 world best set by American rival Regan Smith in 2019.
“This is a little bit of extra training under my belt and hopefully in a few weeks with a little more rest I can produce a faster time,” McKeown stated.
“Over and done with now and I’m happy.”
McKeown holds the 100m world record and Olympic title and triumphed that race on Friday in 58.49.
She also swam an extreme 400m medley, but is anticipated to drop it from her programme for the worlds.
Virtuoso Emily Seebohm, the Tokyo Olympic 200m backstroke bronze medallist, is taking a rest and not competing in the Australian titles, with O’Callaghan, 18, qualifying apace with McKeown.
O’Callaghan has been a standout in Adelaide, triumphing the 100m freestyle in 52.49 to secure the number one world ranking this year, whilst her 200m freestyle was good enough for second behind Olympic gold medallist Ariarne Titmus.
She also triumphed the 50m backstroke and has now concluded second to McKeown over the 100m and 200m backstroke.
The 50 stroke races at the trials do not conclude who qualifies for the worlds and Commonwealth Games in July, with selection at the choice of Swimming Australia.
“It was so good to get a PB (personal best) and so glad it’s done now,” O’Callaghan stated.
“It’s been amazing and crazy that I have an individual spot (at the worlds), and so many now.”