Stunning start for Kaylee and Sam

Published 1:07pm 14 June 2023

Stunning start for Kaylee and Sam
Words by Nick Crockford

Above: Kaylee McKeown smiles after winning the 200m IM in a blistering time. Picture Delly Carr

Former Moreton Bay swimmers Kaylee McKeown and Sam Short have set Australia’s World Championships Trials alight on the opening day in Melbourne.

In the closest race of the night Short, a former Albany Creek Swim Club member now at Rackley, just held off World and Commonwealth Games champion Elijah Winnington

Short, who went to Prince of Peace Lutheran School, touched first place in 3 minutes 43.38 seconds, with Winnington 0.1 of a second behind.

Both are hoping they can be standing side-by-side on the podium in five weeks at the World Championships in Fukuoka, Japan July 14-30.

I was happy with that,” Short told Swimming Australia. “I did a faster heat swim in the morning and kind of replicated what I would do at worlds if I made the spot and try to come back at night and really put it on the line.

Stunning start for Kaylee and Sam
Sam Short touches first in the 400m at Melbourne. Picture Delly Carr

“I felt better than when I won at the Goldie (Australian Swimming Championships) but it’s a much different atmosphere here, in terms of pressure and making the team.

“It’s my first time stepping up at trials and getting the job done for the 400,” he said.

Winnington said it was “actually good fun out there”.

Olympic star Kaylee McKeown, who lived in Caboolture and swam at Burpengary Regional Aquatic Centre with Australian Crawl, won gold in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley.

McKeown, who won silver in 200 IM at the 2022 World Championships in Budapest, clocked the second fastest time this year with 2:07.19.

“I’m really happy with my results considering I haven’t had a full rest and taper so I’m really happy,” the Griffith University swimmer said..

Stunning start for Kaylee and Sam
Kaylee McKeown at the Australian World Championship Trials in Melbourne. Picture Delly Carr

“If you look at how I’ve raced throughout the year so far, I haven’t had any taper for any of them… we’re just playing around a little bit. Trying to figure out if a taper actually works for me or not.”

McKeown has also been named a finalist in the World Aquatics Athlete of the Year awards.

In the Women’s 400m, Olympic and two-times Commonwealth Games champion Ariarne Titmus (St Peters Western) beat teammate Lani Pallister (Griffith University).

Despite heading into the World Championships as the current Olympic Champion, Titmus said she’d relish the underdog status behind Katie (Ledecky), Summer (McIntosh).

I was definitely a little bit rested [tonight] but I wasn’t completely tapered like I would be for Worlds or Olympics, cause I guess I knew I had a good shot at making the team, so it's more about keeping that workload up so I don’t lose as much with the short turnaround.

“When you’re going into a meet like this you always take the opportunity to swim as fast as you can.”

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