Emma McKeon's 32-year first as Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown shine at Olympic swimming trials

McKeon has become the oldest woman to make the Olympic swim team in 32 years.

Australia's queen of the pool, Emma McKeon, has become the first woman to qualify for the Aussie swim team aged in their 30s since Lisa Curry in 1992. Already Australia’s greatest Olympian with a record 11 medals, McKeon has now also become the oldest woman to make the Olympic swimming team in over three decades.

McKeon sizzled in the 100m butterfly at Australia's Olympic trials on Monday night, with a time of 56.85. She was the only Aussie woman to go under the time required in the event to make Paris with Alex Perkins, second, swimming a 57.10 in the heats but was outside the requirement with a 57.33 in the final. But it was McKeon's feat that wowed the swimming world, with Australia's most successful Olympian off to her third Games.

Emma McKeon has become the oldest Australian female swimmer to make the Olympics in 32-years, while swim queens Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown booked their spots in Paris with scintillating swims. Image: Getty
Emma McKeon has become the oldest Australian female swimmer to make the Olympics in 32-years, while swim queens Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown booked their spots in Paris with scintillating swims. Image: Getty

McKeon was the breakout star of the Tokyo Olympics, winning four gold and three bronze medals, including third place in the 100m butterfly. Just a week after she celebrated her 30th birthday, McKeon said she was thrilled to make her third Olympic team after considering retirement in the years following Tokyo.

McKeon has confirmed this will be her final Olympics and said getting onto the team on the first night of trials was such a relief. "The pressure is always on at Olympic trials. It's just crazy," said McKeon, who has freestyle sprints to come later in the seven-day meet. "Everyone is always going to be very nervous so I am glad I have got my first one out of the way."

The Aussie superstar recently took a break away from the pool to give her body and mind some time off before her Paris campaign got into full swing. The 29-year-old is already Australia’s most decorated Olympian, with a record 11 medals for Australia and sits level with Ian Thorpe for the most gold medals with five.

Australia's Emma McKeon (L) reacts after finishing first in the women's 100m butterfly final during the Australian Swimming Trials at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre on June 10, 2024. (Photo by Patrick HAMILTON / AFP) / -- IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE -- (Photo by PATRICK HAMILTON/AFP via Getty Images)
Emma McKeon says she is relieved to have qualified for Paris on day one of the Australian swim trials.

Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown both threatened world records on Monday but fell just short, yet still booked their ticket to Paris with strong swims. For Titmus, breaking her own 400m freestyle world record wasn't on her mind at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre but until the final 10m, she was under world record pace.

"I took it out and I was quite fearless," Titmus said after clocking three minutes 55.44 seconds, just missing her global record of 3:55.38 set last July. "Trials is a bit of a free shot for me. I don't have to worry about getting under the qualifying time so if I stuff up I have the luxury that I'd probably still be on the team.

"So it's about trying new things. And I think to win, you always have to try new things, you can't just expect to keep doing the same thing and expect to keep winning." Lani Pallister finished second behind Titmus in 4:02.27, bettering the Olympic qualifying time set by Swimming Australia.

While McKeown set a Commonwealth record in the 200m individual medley, an event she will compete in for the first time at the Olympic level in Paris. The reigning Olympic 100m and 200m backstroke champion touched in 2.06.63. The world record of Hungary's Katinka Hosszu is 2:06.12 and has stood for almost nine years and in the final 50m the Aussie looked a real chance to knock it off but couldn't quite manage it.

McKeown's time is the fastest in the event this year but much like Titmus, wasn't targeting a record and was just happy to clock a strong time. "When you're in the middle of a race, you kind of just switch off and I focus on trying to not get DQ'd (disqualified)," she said.

While in the men's 400m freestyle final, Elijah Winnington - the 2022 world champion in the event - and Sam Short - the 2023 world champion - continued their rivalry with a stroke-for-stroke battle. Winnington (3:43.26) pipped Short (3:43.90) with a last-gasp burst, with both booking their spot in Paris. And in the men's 100m breaststroke, Sam Williamson's winning time of 58.80 ensured his ticket to Paris with Joshua Yong placing second in 59.48, one-hundredth of a second inside the qualifying time.

with AAP