‘King Kyle’ steals incredible freestyle final
Kyle Chalmers won another last-stroke thriller in the pool last night with his eyes closed to book his lead role in a sizzling, medal-hungry troupe of 200m freestylers.
The Rio Olympics gold medallist is the undisputed king of men's swimming in this country and last night's trademark final flurry to win is exactly why.
Brisbane medley specialist Clyde Lewis led through the opening 100m and looked to have stolen the feature 200m freestyle final on the second night of the World Championship trials at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre.
Chalmers (1min 45.76sec) timed his finish perfectly as he nearly always does to pinch it on the wall from Lewis (1:45.88) and Alex Graham (1:46.25).
Chalmers and Lewis booked individual spots for the world titles in South Korea next month while Graham and 400m winner Jack McLoughlin will also be at the core of a strong 4x200m freestyle relay group.
He disappointed with a slow time on opening night but Olympic 400m freestyle champion Mack Horton was just outsprinted here.
He has not yet booked an individual swim on the team because his fifth may only be good enough for relay work unless he qualifies in the 800m later in the meet.
"King Kyle and the Killer Finish" could be the name of a blues band. It seems to be what the South Australian does every time he jumps in for a big final.
Chalmers was delighted and did reveal all these classic finishes are on finely-tuned instinct not his eye for the wall.
"I just train with my eyes closed most of the time and I know when the going gets tough I grind it out with my eyes closed," Chalmers said.
"I couldn't see Clyde. I trust in myself, we do so much training when it comes to racing you really should be able to do it with your eyes closed.
"The (4x200m) relay is something I really want to be a part of, it is potentially our best shot of getting a medal in the relays (at worlds) and hopefully we can do something really special if we stay together and stay in form.
"We can almost field two teams, we are stacked (in the 200m)."
Mitch Larkin (52.38) won the 100m backstroke in a world class time that puts him in the medal picture for Korea while Brisbane's Minna Atherton (59.20) won the women's backstroke sprint in style.
Atherton swam two personal bests on the day and paid huge credit to training partner Emily Seebohm, who she unseated.
"She pushes me every day, it's great to train with the best in the world," a delighted Atherton said.
Long-time pacesetter Seebohm managed only fourth in an event she has dominated for most of the past decade and earned her a 2012 Olympic silver medal.
Gold Coast's Madeleine Gough (15:15.39) swam a qualifying time in the gruelling women's 1500m freestyle to book her world titles spot over 30 tough laps.
Larkin's consistency is remarkable but he didn't quite see such a sharp time coming.
"To go that quick, it has been a few years," Larkin said. "I knew I was swimming well, done lots of work and just about trusting myself, not rushing."