THE SECOND night of finals at the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships will see the fastest men and women in the world line up on the blocks chasing the blue riband 100m freestyle crowns.
The morning heats saw swimmers flying and records falling, with the world’s greatest athletes vying for a spot in the finals.
Crowd favourites Cate and Bronte Campbell came out firing in the women’s 100m freestyle, with Cate hitting the wall in a sizzling 52.62 to clock the fastest time in the world this year.
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Cate’s time will bump Sarah Sjostrom of Sweden out of the number one spot on the world rankings, a position she held for only a day after lodging 52.67 at the European Championships final.
“I always knew the heats this morning were going to be really quick,” Cate said, “So I knew that I had to post a good performance and I’m very happy to just make it through.”
This morning’s swim was Cate’s fastest in this event since winning the World Championships in 2013 and will see her progress as fastest qualifier, just ahead of her younger sister Bronte.
Bronte touched the wall in 53.50, breaking the Pan Pacs record, albeit only for a moment until big sister Cate swooped in.
“It was like trials again,” Bronte said of the nerves she had going into this morning’s heats. “You have to prove yourself to make the spot. And that’s what’s so good about this meet.
“You’ve got to step up and do it. And it doesn’t matter who you are, what your name is, anyone can be beaten and that’s why it’s so exciting.”
The sister act will face tough competition in the final, in particular from the USA’s Missy Franklin who posted 53.75.
Melanie Schlanger (53.65) and Brittany Elmslie (54.29) will go through to the B final. Other Aussies from this morning’s heats included Emma McKeon (54.96), Bronte Barratt (55.28), and Madeline Groves (56.11).
Not to be outdone by their female counterparts, the men’s 100m kept the crowds on the edge of their seats.
Nathan Adrian, James Magnussen, Michael Phelps and Cameron McEvoy – four of the fastest men in the world – will go head to head in tonight’s 100m freestyle final, with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Magnussen, who has been struggling with back issues over recent months, took on the might of Olympic Champion Adrian of the USA in the final heat of the day, with the rivals going head to head the whole race. It was the US Olympic Champion Adrian (48.05) who just edged out Magnussen (48.25) for the win in a new Pan Pacs record time.
“They didn’t leave anything in the tank and I know what they’re capable of now,” a relaxed Magnussen said of his US rivals.
“I felt good,” the World Champion said. “The start felt fine. The turn was pretty rusty – underwater is probably the hardest thing for me at the moment, but I’m just pushing through and not worrying about my back.”
The world’s greatest Olympian Phelps came out with a bang – winning his heat in 48.45, his best time since coming back to the sport. Bettered by only one of his teammates, it was enough to get him through to the final.
“The biggest thing is that I want to be part of the team,” Phelps modestly said after his race.
With bragging rights, pride and world rankings on the line, expect a fast final with nothing between the podium places.
Missing the final by a whisker was 28-year-old Matt Abood (49.13) who will take on the B final tonight which is sure to warm up the crowd for the main event. Other Aussie results were Tommaso D’Orsogna (49.18), Jayden Hadler (49.84), Ned McKendry (50.39) and Chris Wright (50.98).