Olympic Gold Dreams: Australian Swimmers Set Sights on Paris

Australian swimmers are preparing for national trials at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre to secure their spots for the Paris Olympics. With standout athletes like Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus, and Mollie O'Callaghan, Australia aims to outperform their previous success at Tokyo and possibly dethrone the U.S. team.

Reuters | Updated: 07-06-2024 15:48 IST | Created: 07-06-2024 15:48 IST
Olympic Gold Dreams: Australian Swimmers Set Sights on Paris
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The eyes of the swimming world will be fixed on the Brisbane Aquatic Centre from Monday as Australia's roster of Olympic and world champions battle at national trials for tickets to the Paris Games.

With nine golds among 21 medals, Australia claimed its biggest Olympic swimming haul at the Tokyo Games, finishing a close second to the United States (11 golds, 30 medals). Three years on, the Australians are aiming higher, with a contingent of formidable women again leading the way.

Many in the Brisbane pool will be familiar names, including Tokyo heroes Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown, who won six individual gold medals between them. Zac Stubblety-Cook will also feature at the trials as he looks to book his Olympic title defence in the men's 200 metres breaststroke.

However, some among the old guard will be wary of the young and hungry talent determined to stake their claim. Rampaging redhead Mollie O'Callaghan may be the chief disruptor of the meet and first picked from a brilliant crop of sprinters.

At 17, O'Callaghan emerged from Tokyo with two relay gold medals and a bronze but will eye bigger prizes in Paris if all goes smoothly in Brisbane. She is set for a showdown with Olympic 200 metres freestyle champion Titmus after beating her for the world title in Fukuoka last year in a world record time (one minute 52.85 seconds).

Also the 100m freestyle winner at Fukuoka, O'Callaghan will lock horns with Olympic champion McKeon in the shorter sprint along with Shayna Jack, who is desperate to nail a Paris spot after missing Tokyo for a doping ban. The women's 100m freestyle may see the fiercest competition as swimmers jostle to make the team that defends the 4x100m relay title at Paris.

Timekeepers will be on world record watch when Olympic 100m and 200m backstroke champion McKeown launches in her pet events. McKeown reset her 100m backstroke world record last year and also swiped the 200m record from American Regan Smith.

She has since emerged as a medal threat in the 200m individual medley and will hope to improve on her year-best time of 2:06.99 set at the Australian Open Championships in April. On the men's side, 100 metres freestyle specialist Kyle Chalmers will bid for a third Games appearance after taking gold at the 2016 Rio Games and silver behind Caeleb Dressel at Tokyo.

The evergreen Cameron McEvoy will be the man to beat in the 50 metres freestyle, with no swimmer having touched his world championship-winning time of 21.06 seconds since Fukuoka. Former world champions Sam Short and Elijah Winnington will continue their rivalry in the 400m freestyle.

The Australians, nicknamed the "Dolphins", underlined their strength in Fukuoka when they finished top of the table ahead of the second-placed U.S. team. They have genuine hope of knocking the U.S. off top spot at the Olympics for the first time since the 1988 Seoul Games where the Americans were second to East Germany.

With the last day in Brisbane overlapping with the first of the U.S. Olympic trials in Indianapolis, Australia will hope to set a high bar before the swimming powers face off at Paris.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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