By Retta Race on SwimSwam
2022 AUSTRALIAN SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Wednesday, May 18 – Sunday, May 22, 2022
SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre, Oaklands Park, South Australia
Live Stream (Amazon Prime)
World Championships Qualifying Criteria
Day one of the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships saw the likes of Olympians Kyle Chalmers, Elijah Winnington and Matt Temple take to the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre pool.
Among the mix of primetime athletes, however, were those making a return to racing after a particular break in training or trial outside the pool.
We reported how pop star Cody Simpson most likely qualified for Budapest in the men’s 100m fly, finishing 3rd behind winner Temple and runner-up Chalmers in the event with a time of 51.96.
Although he finished outside the top two, silver medalist Chalmers has stated he would be opting out of this year’s World Championships, rendering Simpson on the consideration list.
Once a formidable age group swimmer, Simpson took a 10-year break from the pool to pursue a successful music career before delving back into training just 2 years ago. This marks the first elite senior international squad appearance for the 25-year-old.
Simpson said of his return, “To get on a podium at a national meet is pretty unreal.
“I’ve just put in the hours all year, just trying to make some progress and I didn’t expect this much progress so soon,” he said.
“No one said it was crazy when I told them … I told Phelps, I told Hackett, I told Thorpe and I was never greeted with any doubt from any of those guys, like they were always going, ‘yeah, I think you can do it.’
“That obviously just gave me the air under my wings to want to give it a crack.” (ABC.net)
Shayna Jack also made her mark after an absence, having served a two-year ban for having tested positive for a prohibited substance in 2019.
Jack missed out on that year’s World Championships and returned to racing with a vengeance beginning with last December’s Queensland Championships. There the 23-year-old put up near bests to put her name among the mix of potential relay squad member contenders, if not on the map for a potential individual roster spot.
And Jack made it happen tonight, clocking a time of 52.60 as a new lifetime best to finish 2nd behind winner Mollie O’Callaghan who stormed to teh wall first in 52.49.
As such, Jack has made her first elite international roster since her ban.
On her comeback, Jack stated post-race, “I’m overwhelmed with emotion to be back on the team.
“Not very many people know what I actually really went through – you know the depths of it and to be back and wearing those colours again means more than anything to me.
“My goal was to love swimming and fall in love with it again and I have and I’m really, really proud to be back.” (ABC.net)
26-year-old Horton was the 2016 Olympic gold medalist in the men’s 400 freestyle, winning a riveting head-to-head showdown with his podium nemesis and defending champion Sun Yang.
Horton continued his momentum with 400m free silver and 800m free relay gold at the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships.
However, at the 2021 Australian Olympic Trials, Horton placed third in the 400 free behind Elijah Winnington and Jack McLoughlin, meaning he would not have the opportunity to defend his Olympic title in Tokyo.
He did make the team as a member of the men’s 800m free relay; however, he was a heats only swimmer, a far cry from the podium in Rio.
As such, Horton did enjoy some redemption of sorts with his silver medal-worthy 400m free performance here tonight. His time of 3:44.06 placed him less than a second off winner Elijah Winnington who scored the win in 3:43.10.
Read the full story on SwimSwam: 2022 Australian Swimming Championships: Day 1 Marked By Comeebacks