A strong Australian team have travelled over to the American West Coast to continue their preparations for the Olympic Games this summer in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. It was very apparent that preparations are going well for the team from down under, as they took another five titles in the finals session on the last day of the Arena Pro Series in Santa Clara yesterday.
Having taken the 400m freestyle convincingly earlier in the weekend it was no surprise that Jessica Ashwood kick started the Day 3 finals with a dominate 800m freestyle display. Aussie Ashwood clocked a time of 8.18.14, which is a time that only Katie Ledecky has beaten this year (8.06.68). Although Ledecky is swimming times that are changing the history of the event, Ashwood is now the next name on the list as a favourite for an Olympic medal this summer.
Australian backstroke stars Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin followed suit in the Women’s and Men’s 200 backstroke finals. The 2015 World Champions both swam solid times to take away the gold medals in 2.08.57 and 1.55.38 respectively. Both swimmers showed their strength and class, posting the fastest last 50 metre split in each of their finals.
Then came the 100 metre freestyle events where yet again Australia touched the wall first. In the Women’s event, Emma McKeon took the victory (53.30) just ahead of her team mate Brittany Elmslie (53.77) for an Australian 1-2. With the addition of the two Campbell sisters (52.38 and 52.58 this year), the Aussie relay team heading to Rio this summer is going to be incredibly tough to beat. In the Men’s equivalent, the confident Olympic Silver Medallist James Magnussen claimed the victory in a time of 48.99. Interestingly the American Nathan Adrian only decided to swim the heats of this event, but it didn’t disappoint, as the Olympic Champ posted a swish 48.17 in the morning prelims.
Brazilian favourite and medley specialist, Thiago Pereira, has been racing in a number of different events over the three days in Santa Clara to prepare himself for his home Olympics. The 400 Individual Medley Olympic silver medallist, who has always been under the shadow of Phelps and Lochte, left his best swim to last when he beat the pool by a demanding five seconds to take the 200 metres Individual Medley final in an imposing time of 1.57.77. One of Brazil’s all-time greats is now ranked third in the World in this event and Pereira will be raring to show his optimum in August as he embraces the home nation crowd.
There were less fireworks in the equivalent Arena Pro Swim Series in Indy, but the stand out was another impressive display of power by the Canadian Santo Condorelli in the 100 metres freestyle. Condorelli dominated the field and touched the finish pad in 48.34, nearly a full second ahead of the rest, and a gold that goes with his 100 Butterfly performance on Friday.
Across the pond on the final day of the Monaco leg of the Mare Nostrum tour, the Women’s events were yet again dominated by the ‘Iron Lady’. Katinka Hosszu took the 400 freestyle, 100 Backstroke, and 200 Individual Medley final in the space of 90 minutes, as she continues to impress so many with her ability to swim fast throughout a gruelling programme. On the Men’s side the notable swims were Paul Biedermann taking the 200 freestyle in 1.46.71 and Chad Le Clos winning the 100 fly in 51.58. Biedermann, after a successful German trials, will be pleased with a mid-season time like that as he gears up for the summer games. Le Clos equalled the time Joseph Schooling achieved when beating Michael Phelps in Texas this weekend, which only highlights that the two past champions will be going back and forth once again this summer in Brazil.
The Mare Nostrum tour continues on to Canet, France on Wednesday and Thursday, and most swimmers will look to improve on their performances from Monaco. Subscribe to Swim Words to hear about the best of the action in Canet.
Arena Pro Swim Series, Santa Clara Full Results
Arena Pro Swim Series, Indianapolis Full Results
Monaco Mare Nostrum Full Results