Five things we learnt from the Olympic swimming trials

Five things we learnt from the Olympic swimming trials


The kids are all right

There’s nothing like the fearlessness of youth at an Olympic Games. Time and again we’ve seen swimmers with everything to gain and nothing to lose step up when the opportunity arose. You don’t have to look further than a 17-year-old Kyle Chalmers charging through the middle lane to plunder gold in the 100m freestyle in Rio, or 16-year-old Canadian Penny Oleksiak dead-heating for gold in the women’s event. Granted, Kaylee McKeown (19) and Ariarne Titmus (20) are a few steps further down the road but all they know is swimming fast, racing to win and loving every second. It will be quite the ride.

Emma McKeon, Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell.Credit:Sydney Morning Herald

The balance is better than Rio

The 35-strong team going to Tokyo has a better spread of talent, age and expectation than the one that swam in Rio in 2016. This time, they are armed with a pair of Olympic champions in Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton, who will be a vital cog for the Dolphins even though he missed an individual swim. And three-time Olympians like Mitch Larkin and Bronte Campbell are exactly the kind of calm, ultra-professional veterans the 21 new faces will need around the pooldeck.

McKeon has timed her run to perfection

The ironwoman of Australian swimming didn’t need to prove a thing given her record of medals at major events. She now has a chance to break through for an elusive individual gold medal as she heads the rankings for the 50m and 100m freestyle heading into Tokyo. She’s also swimming 100m butterfly and a host of relays on her program – but expect her to drop the 200m freestyle to focus on shorter trips. If anyone deserves to stand on top of an Olympic podium, it’s the humble 27-year-old from Wollongong.

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