Shayna Jack completes Olympic dream as Ariarne Titmus world record stuns at swimming trials

Titmus and Mollie O'Callaghan both bettered the previous world record mark in the 200m freestyle.

It was a massive night at the Australian Olympic swimming trials on Wednesday, with Ariarne Titmus breaking the world record in the 200m freestyle, Shayna Jack securing a spot at her first Olympics, and Cameron McEvoy becoming the first Aussie male swimmer to make four Olympic Games. Titmus beat Mollie O'Callaghan in an incredible battle, with both swimmers going faster than O'Callaghan's previous world record time.

Titmus clocked one minute 52.23 seconds, bettering O'Callaghan's previous mark of 1:52.85 that she set at last year's world championships. O'Callaghan also eclipsed her previous record, coming in at 1:52.48 for the second-fastest time in the history of the event.

Shayna Jack and Ariarne Titmus.
Shayna Jack made her first Olympic team while Ariarne Titmus broke the 200m freestyle world record. Image: Getty/Channel 9

It came as a scary warning to rest of the world ahead of the Paris Olympics, with Australia now the favourites to go 1-2 at the Games. Titmus now holds the 200m and 400m freestyle world records and is the reigning Olympic champion in both events.

"Honestly, the world record is a bonus," she said. "I am happy to finally put together a swim that I know I'm capable of and it's exciting to do it in my home town."

Titmus said she didn't use the fact O'Callaghan held the world record as extra motivation, with both swimmers coached by Dean Boxall. "We really don't see what each other is doing in training, we are very separate - she trains for the sprint events, I train for middle distance," Titmus said. "Looking at a world record, I don't look at who has it. I look at the time."

O'Callaghan admitted she suffered severe pre-race anxiety, but the 20-year-old took positives out of the race despite losing her world record. "I couldn't really sleep last night," she said. "[But] it really takes the pressure off me, because coming into this (meet) I was not in a good place."

Mollie O'Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus.
Mollie O'Callaghan and Ariarne Titmus after the 200m freestyle final. Image: Getty

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Titmus and O'Callaghan were so dominant that they finished more than three seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Lani Pallister came third, Brianna Throssell was fourth, while Jack and Jamie Perkins tied for fifth.

All six swimmers secured their spot at the Olympics and will make up the 4x200m relay team in Paris. Titmus, O'Callaghan, Pallister and Throssell will likely swim the final, while Jack and Perkins will be taken as back-up/heat swimmers.

It marks a huge achievement for Jack, who missed out on the 2021 Olympics in Tokyo because she was suspended. The 25-year-old was initially hit with a four-year doping ban after testing positive for a banned substance, but the suspension was cut in half on appeal after it was found she didn't knowingly take the drug Ligandrol.

Ariarne Titmus, Brianna Throssell and Shayna Jack.
Ariarne Titmus, Brianna Throssell and Shayna Jack after the 200m freestyle final at the Olympic swimming trials. Image: Getty

Jack has now made her first Olympic team in a huge feat of redemption. “There was probably a point where I thought I didn’t want to be an Olympian anymore, whether I’d given up on that dream,” she admitted on Wednesday night. “But I didn’t and I know that my family, friends and my partner are really proud of me no matter what happened tonight and moving forward for the rest of this week is about me and what I wanted to achieve since I was a young girl.

“I definitely came into this with a mindset of, I really want to enjoy the journey. I really don’t want to go through a phase where I don’t love the sport anymore. So I really wanted to come into this enjoying the journey, remembering that no matter what I’ve done, I’ve put myself out there, gave it my all, and basically come away proud of myself no matter what.”

And McEvoy became the first male Aussie swimmer to qualify for four Olympic Games - a feat that not even the greats like Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett ever achieved. The 30-year-old booked his ticket by winning the 50m freestyle final.

"Eighteen months ago, my goal was just come back, give this new training approach a go and see what happens," he said after clocking 21.35 seconds to win. "And if I can maybe go under 22 (seconds) again, I'd be over the moon with that. What I've done so far has just obliterated any expectations I had."

with AAP