Campbell often leads out at the turn but McKeon laid it down and made Campbell work hard to overhaul her in the final stages. Bronte closed hard from an outside lane but fell just short, although her time of 52.84s was good enough to qualify, as was that of Shayna Jack (53.18s) in fourth.
It’s great to have someone like Emma step up, to have three girls go under the 53-second barrier. We are going to be a tough relay team.
“Emma has been swimming really well all week, so that wasn’t unexpected,” Campbell said. “I was just really pleased that I held my nerve, swam my own race.
“Traditionally I like to be out quickest and then try and hold on. I have been really working on cruising on the way out and then using all my training to help me get home.”
It’s a deep race on the domestic front, so Campbell had little choice but to pull out all stops if she wanted to not just qualify but win. McKeon, one of Australia’s proven international performers, was just the tonic for her to stop the clock in impressive fashion.
It also bodes well for the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay, which will start as an unbackable favourite to claim another gold on the international stage.
“It’s great to have someone like Emma step up, to have three girls go under the 53-second barrier. We are going to be a tough relay team. I am really excited to be a part of it,” Campbell said.
McKeon said she had learned to keep her focus on her race plan and it almost paid off, with Campbell needing until the final five metres to surge to the wall.
“No one was expecting me to be in the top spot, so I just had to do my own race, have fun with it so that’s what I did,” McKeon said.
Mitch Larkin added the 200m backstroke to his trio of wins during the week, while Matt Wilson flirted with the 200m breaststroke record on the way to victory in that event.
Jack McLoughlin completed his marathon week with a win and a qualifying time in the 1500m freestyle, meaning he will swim a 4 x 200m relay, 400m, 800m and 1500m in Korea.