Australian Trials, Day One Finals: Elijah Winnington and Sam Short Produce Ding Dong 400m Battle – Next Stop Paris And Olympic Games

Sam Short and Elijah Winnington 800m
BOOKED: Sam Short and Elijah Winnington will give Australia a two-pronged 400m attack for the Paris Games. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

AUSTRALIAN TRIALS, Finals, Day One: Elijah Winnington And Sam Short Stage Ding Dong 400m Battle – Next Stop Paris And The Olympic Games

World champions Elijah Winnington and Sam Short have booked their places on the Australian Swim Team for Paris after a ding dong 400m freestyle battle on the opening night of the Australian Trials in Brisbane.

Tokyo Olympian Winnington, the 2022 World Champion in Budapest, backing up for his second Olympic campaign; Short, the 2023 world champion, realising a childhood dream after going so close at the 2020 Trials in Adelaide in the 1500m.

After the lead changed three times, it was 2022 World Champion, Tokyo Olympian Winnington who won the eight-lap duel – stopping the clock at 3:43.26, Short finishing strongly in 3:43.90.

STROKED: Elijah Winnington reaches out to Paris. Photo Courtesy Wade Brennan (Wade’s Photos)

It was Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD; coach Dean Boxall) who led through the first 100m – under world record pace in 53.56; before Short (Rackley, QLD; Coach Damien Jones) took over to lead through the 200m in 1:50.40 – Winnington a touch behind in 1:50.47.

Short was still in front at the 250 in 2:18.98 to Winnington’s 2:19.05 but by the next turn it was Winnington who hit the front and stayed there, lifting off the last two walls to lead at the 300m mark by 0.22 in 2:47.72 and he held on over the last 100m, despite Short’s stirring finish.

The Winnington, Short combination will give Australia a real two-pronged attack in an event won six times by Australia – twice to Murray Rose (1956, 1960) and Ian Thorpe (2000 and 2004) and once to Brad Cooper(1972) and Mack Horton (2016).

While in the Multi-Class finals, established USC Spartans, QLD, S9 stars Brenden Hall and Lakeisha Patterson have booked their nominations for the Paris Paralympics with stirring 400m performances – Hall booking a place for a fifth Paralympics and Patterson for her third Games.

Hall winning his 400m in 4:16.17 and 25-year-old Patterson a second QT in the final of her 400m freestyle of 4:45.79 after her heat qualifier of 4:43.54.

Now a father, Hall, who will be the oldest male on the team at 32 started his journey as the youngest male in the Beijing Games in 2008, followed by his golden Games of London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 where he won the 400m, returning to Tokyo in 2021 where he was fourth in the 400m.

Their fellow Queenslander Jack Ireland (University of QLD; Coach David Heyden) also clocked his second qualifier of the day in winning the S14 category 200m final – adding his second QT of the day after his 1:54.75 in the morning prelims – staking his claim to make his Paralympic debut.






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