2023 Sydney Open Day 1 Finals: Meg Harris Hits 50 Free PB, McEvoy Looks Sharp


By Retta Race on SwimSwam


The 2023 Sydney Open kicked off from SOPAC today with the likes of Kaylee McKeown, Meg Harris, Bronte Campbell and more diving in for more tune-up racing ahead of next month’s World Championships Trials.

We reported how 21-year-old multi-Olympic medalist McKeown opened her meet campaign with a huge personal best in the women’s 200m IM. McKeown stopped the clock in a 2:07.19 scorcher to drop nearly a second from her career-quickest en route to becoming Australia’s 2nd fastest woman in history.

McKeown is slated to also race the women’s 100m back, 200m back and 400m IM over the course of the meet. She currently ranks #1 in both the 100m back (57.84) and the 200m back (2:03.14), with the latter representing the newly-minted World Record she set at March’s New South Wales State Championships.

In addition to McKeown’s PB, Cameron McEvoy logged his fastest 50m free in nearly 6 years en route to grabbing gold in the men’s 50m free.

28-year-old McEvoy produced a heats swim of 21.85 this morning, a time which marks the fastest outing by any Australian since his own 21.81 in the semifinals of the 2017 World Championships. It was the 3-time Olympian’s first time going sub-22 seconds since the 2019 World Championships. His lifetime best remains at a 21.44 from 2016.

In tonight’s final, McEvoy sliced .01 to get to the wall in 21.84 for gold, representing the sole competitor to get under the 22-second barrier.

Behind him was Thomas Nowakowski who stopped the clock in 22.23 for silver while 17-year-old Bond athlete Flynn Southam rounded out the top 3 in 22.34.

Nowakowski owns a PB of 21.86 from last year while for Southam, his result fell just .02 outside his personal best of 22.32 logged at last month’s Australian National Championships.

McEvoy now ranks 5th in the world in the men’s 50m free on the season, tying Israel’s Meiron Cheruti.

2022-2023 LCM Men 50 Free


2 Josh
CAN 21.80 03/30
3 Kenzo
NED 21.81 04/09
4 Szebasztian
HUN 21.82 04/20
5 Meiron
ISR 21.84 04/21

View Top 28»

Southam was actually in the water earlier in the session, taking on the men’s 400m free race. The teen punched a time of 3:52.07, dropping over half a second off his previous personal best en route to bronze this evening.

Taking the 4free title was 22-year-old Brendon Smith who scored 3:50.28, narrowly defeating Olympian Mack Horton who snagged silver in 3:50.36.

The women’s 50m free final saw Marion Olympian Meg Harris get it done for gold, registering a time of 24.29. Harris beat out Madi Wilson who touched in 24.62 while 16-year-old Milla Jansen also landed on the podium in 25.32 for bronze.

Harris’ effort shaved .03 off her previous lifetime best of 24.32 produced last year. She remains Australia’s 6th swiftest performer in history in this women’s 50m free.

Top 6 Australian Women’s LCM 50 Free Performers All-Time

  1. Cate Campbell – 23.78, 2018
  2. Emma McKeon – 23.81, 2021
  3. Libby Trickett – 23.97, 2008
  4. Bronte Campbell – 24.12, 2015
  5. Shayna Jack – 24.14, 2022
  6. Meg Harris – 24.29, 2023

Harris now ranks 3rd in the world this season.

2022-2023 LCM Women 50 Free


2 Shayna
AUS 24.26 03/11
3 Zhang
CHN 24.40 03/23
3 Abbie
USA 24.40 03/04
5 Marrit
NED 24.42 04/09

View Top 27»

Of note, Bronte Campbell made her post-Tokyo Olympics debut this morning in this women’s 50m free. She snagged the top seed with a morning swim of 24.95 before dropping out of the final.

Although the 28-year-old is also entered in the 100m free, it’s reported she will not be racing that event.

C2 owns a lifetime best of 24.12 from the 2015 World Championships when she topped the podium. She was the double world champion that year, also claiming 100m free gold in Kazan in a time there of 52.52.

The women’s 400m free this evening saw visiting New Zealand Olympian Erika Fairweather post a strong result of 4:02.20 to beat the field by over 2 seconds.

19-year-old Fairweather has already logged a time of 4:00.62 at the New Zealand World Trials to be positioned as the 4th fastest woman in the world on the season.

Behind Fairweather was World Short Course Championships multi-medalist Lani Pallister, with the 20-year-old Griffith star hitting 4:04.88 while Maddy Gough rounded out the top 3 in 4:09.53. As a refresher, Gough has already been named to the Australian World Championships team in open water.

Although it was Cody Simpson who led the men’s 100m fly field out of the heats with a morning swim of 52.52, it was Olympic finalist Matt Temple who ultimately earned the gold.

23-year-old Temple of Marion stopped the clock in 51.50 to beat the pack by over a second.

Bond’s Ben Armbruster, who currently ranks 6th in the world in the 50m fly, hit his prelims time exactly in 52.75 to secure silver. Simpson settled for bronze in 52.92.

Temple nearly matched the time he produced at last month’s Australian National Championships, a mark of 51.49 which currently situates him 15th in the world on the season in this 1fly race.

Additional Winners

  • Marion Olympian Madi Wilson touched first in the women’s 50m back, logging a result of 28.14.
  • Griffith’s Joshua Edwards-Smith posted a winning effort of 1:57.09 to take the men’s 200m back. The 20-year-old currently owns the world’s fastest time this season with his PB of 1:55.42 earned at December’s Queensland Championships.
  • The women’s 200m fly saw Elizabeth (Lizzie) Dekkers grab gold, producing a time of 2:08.33 to get to the wall over 3 seconds ahead of the field. The Commonwealth Games bronze medalist already clocked a season-best 2:06.55 last month to rank #2 in the world.
  • Nunawading’s William Petric was the fastest men’s 200m IMer this evening, registering a gold medal-worthy 2:00.35. That approached his lifetime best of 2:00.09 put up at the 2023 NSW State Championships this past March.

SwimSwam: 2023 Sydney Open Day 1 Finals: Meg Harris Hits 50 Free PB, McEvoy Looks Sharp

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