Cool headed Kyle leads Marion boys into 100 metres freestyle final



Olympic champion and local hero Kyle Chalmers will be chasing his first National short course title in his home pool on the opening night of the Hancock Prospecting Australian Short Course Swimming Championships in Adelaide tonight.


The 19-year-old from Marion is the fastest qualifier in the 100 metres freestyle - clocking 48.21 to win his heat at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre today. 


Just 12 months after suffering a supraventricular tachycardia attack at the 2016 Short Course Championships and four months after successful heart surgery, the 19-year-old was happy to be back racing.


 “I guess that (elevated heart rate) is something I no longer have to worry about,” Chalmers said.


“But I know I’m not at my best swimming so there’s not a whole lot of confidence going on there.


“But it’s good to get the heat out of the way this morning and roll into the finals tonight.


“It’s very nice to be back in there.”


Chalmers felt even more at home swimming alongside his Marion, SA team mates Travis Mahoney (48.50) and Andrew Abood (48.66) who are the second and third fastest qualifiers for the final. 


Meanwhile World champion Cate Campbell kicked off her Short Course campaign in fine style, winning the gold medal in the 50 metres butterfly event - taking her first major National title in the stroke.


Campbell dominated the two-lap dash from the outset to beat Australia’s leading butterflyer in Emma McKeon, clocking 25.56 to McKeon’s 26.14, with Gemma Cooney (Brisbane Grammar) 26.65 third. 


The men’s 50m backstroke timed final saw 2014 Commonwealth Games representative Bobby Hurley (Warringah Aquatic) return to the pool and the top of the podium at 29 and he successfully added his 11th National Short Course title 24.02 ahead of Rio Olympians Josh Beaver (24.56) and David Morgan (24.64).


Hurley, who has spent the past eight months working with South African Olympic champion Chad Le Clos, has returned to Australia to launch a bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games team.


The men’s 50m breaststroke timed final saw Grayson Bell (TSS Aquatic) win his first National title in 27.03 in the tightest finish of the day from James McKechnie (Starplex) 27.08 and Samuel Williamson(Firbank Aquastars) 27.30.


In the Multi-Class timed finals Rio bronze medallist Monique Murphy (Southport Olympic) recorded a comfortable victory in 4:35.56 in the women’s 400m freestyle while Mitchell Kilduff (SLC Aquadot) won the men’s in 4:06.46; triple Paralympian Matt Levy (North Sydney) took out the 50m breaststroke in 36.77 and Ashley Van Rijswijk (Tumut) the women’s in 37.89.


Meanwhile in other heats, Olympic finalist David McKeon leads the finalists in the men’s 400m freestyle after the late withdrawal from the meet of fellow Olympian, Griffith University training partner and defending champion Daniel Smith with a shoulder problem.


McKeon, who has spent the last week swimming with Olympic champions Australia’s Mack Horton and Italy’s 1500m freestyle king Gregorio Paltrinieri, clocked 3:45.33 ahead of Joshua Parrish (TSS Aquatic) 3:46.15 with Rio Olympian Jack McLaughlin the third fastest into the top eight in 3:46.40.


The women’s 200m backstroke saw World University Games gold medallist Sian Whittaker (Melbourne Vicente) grab lane four in 2:06.71 ahead of Commonwealth record holder Emily Seebohm (Brisbane Grammar) in a cruisey 2:08.81.


Seebohm, the two-time Long Course world champion in this event will be chasing her 23rd Australian Short Course Championship since winning her first titles in 2009. She holds the Commonwealth record at 1:59.49 set in 2015.


Seebohm was also a surprise late starter in the women’s 400m individual medley where she clocked 4:41.34 to qualify second to Rio Olympian Blair Evans (4:38.61).


Meanwhile visiting internationals Japanese Olympic bronze medallist Daiyo Seto and Lithuania’s London Olympic gold medallist Rūta Meilutytė topped the qualifiers in their event.


Seto is the fastest qualifier in the men’s 200m butterfly in 1:54.10 while Meilutytė clocked the fastest time of 1:06.25 in the women’s 100m breaststroke. 


Meilutytė holds the world record of 1:02.36 jointly with Jamaica’s Alia Atkinson.


Tonight’s Finals session at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre start at 7pm.