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McKeon throws down challenge to Titmus ahead of 200m final

by ZwemZa on June 11th, 2019

Emma McKeon (Illawarra Mercury)

Emma McKeon has put the heat on Ariarne Titmus ahead of the women’s 200m final at the world championship trials in Brisbane, qualifying fastest to throw down the challenge to the rising superstar of the Australian pool.

McKeon went out fast and held her form to touch the wall at 1:56.76s, with Shayna Jack, better known for her 100m freestyle, second quickest in 1:57.50. Titmus was fifth-fastest in 1:58.11s.

Titmus has the sharpest time in the world this year with her 1:54.30s at April’s Australian championships but McKeon would dearly love her crown back as the nation’s premier 200m swimmer.

She took silver at the 2017 FINA World Championships in Budapest, hitting the wall locked with Katie Ledecky but just behind Italy’s Federica Pellegrini. She looks a major player again ahead of next month’s world titles in Korea.

But Titmus has the runs on the board in this event, now holding the Australian record and looking to continue her recent dominance. She was controlled in the final heat and looked to have plenty up her sleeve in the final.

“They were quick heats, I did what I had to do to get into the final,” Titmus said. “I think it is going to be a pretty hot final, not only are people looking for an individual spot but I think our relay team is strong at the moment, the girls will be fighting to get into the top four.”

The women’s 200m freestyle relay will be a major focus for all of the finalists.

The quartet of Titmus, McKeon, Mikayla Sheridan and Madeline Groves held off the Americans in a pulsating final at last year’s Pan Pacs and could well do the same next month, although Groves is not swimming at Chandler and won’t make the world titles.

It’s a short finals session on night three of the meet but it’s crunch time for Olympic 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton, who gets his final chance to make the world championships squad in his own right when he steps out in the 800m.

They were quick heats … I think it is going to be a pretty hot final.

Ariarne Titmus

He finished second to Jack McLoughlin in the 400m and missed the qualifying mark, then finished fifth in the 200m.

He will need to step up in the 800m to be guaranteed an individual swim but is almost certain to be taken as a 200m relay swimmer, which should then see him get a slot in the 400m.

Phil Lutton | The Sydney Morning Herald

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