With eight weeks still to go before the national trials, rising star Sam Short has left another indelible mark on the Australian Swimming Championships.
The 19-year-old stormed to victory in the men’s 800m freestyle on Wednesday to complete the treble, after already securing the 400m and 1500m titles at the Gold Coast meet.
Just as he impressed with his 400m time when he went faster than Australian all-time great Grant Hackett before posting a sub-15 in the 1500, Short’s winning time of 7:42:96 secs in the 800 was the second fastest in the world this year.
Expectations will now be high for the Commonwealth Games gold medallist with still two months to go before the national trials and more than a year out from the Paris Olympics.
Cameron McEvoy triumphed in the 50m freestyle in 22.11 ahead of Thomas Nowakowski (22:17) and Flynn Southam (22:32).
It was a strong return to racing for McEvoy, who took time off post Tokyo.
“Very happy to win, time also happy (with). Race wise it was nice to get in there, have a close race and replicate the competitiveness of the 50 free,” said the triple Olympian.
“A decent spot to be in 7-8 weeks out from trials, so I’m very excited. I had a year off after Tokyo, got back into it in October. I haven’t swum fresh since coming back, but I’ve beaten the times I did at the Olympics.”
In the men’s 100m butterly final, Matt Temple (51.49) touched ahead of Ben Armbruster (51.96) and Shaun Champion (52.01). Kyle Chalmers was fourth in 52.09 while Cody Simpson disappointed in eighth spot in 53.48.
Other men’s winners were Thomas Neill in the 200m Individual Medley (1:58:99) and Bradley Woodward, who won the 100m backstroke in 54.66.
Olympic women’s champion Ariarne Titmus won two from three of her pet events, taking out the 400m freestyle after already securing the 800m.
On Thursday she will compete in the 200m freestyle.
“I train for all three equally, my training is probably more tailored to the 400 because I need the 800 work as well, but I also can’t be a distance animal because my 200 would fall off the back,” said Titmus.
Young gun Mollie O’Callaghan added another gold to her medal haul, winning the 50m backstroke in 27.42 after owning the 100m freestyle on Monday night.
Olympic gold medal backstroker Kaylee McKeown surprised all with her win in the 200m breaststroke in 2:24:18 to go with her 100m backstroke win.
The swimmer who adorned the Olympic stage in Tokyo with three gold medals, swimming backstroke, left the established specialist breaststrokers behind to clock a huge personal best and the eighth fastest time by an Australian.
“It is just a real fun event for me and it was all about having no nerves and just coming out and giving it a real red-hot crack,” said McKeown.
“And despite swimming under a heavy training load, it just makes it all the more interesting … and looking forward to getting some good rest (before Trials in June) and taper time, so I’m looking forward to that.”
The Australian team for the World Para Swimming Championships will be named on Thursday with the Australian Championships doubling as a selection event.