Keanna MacInnes and Laura Stephens Gets Their Paris Pass To The Games On 2:07s

2024-04-02 No comments Reading Time: 3 minutes
Keanna MacInnes, right, and Laura Stephens are delighted to have grabbed tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the 200m butterfly - image courtesy of Aquatics GB
Keanna MacInnes, right, and Laura Stephens are delighted to have grabbed tickets to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in the 200m butterfly - image courtesy of Aquatics GB

Keanna MacInnes and Laura Stephens claimed the first two British tickets to the Paris Olympics in a tight 2:07 tussle in the 200m butterfly at the London Aquatics Centre as six days of British Championships and trials got underway.

Stephens, who claimed the World title in Doha in February in 2:07.35 at an oddball championships, was out in 28.73 and 1:00.17, held away at 1:33.34 at the last turn before MacInnes chased her down in the hunt for home and took the title at the touch, 02:07.24 to 2:07.37.

The target time of 2:07.96 achieved, the top two, whose selection must be confirmed by the British Olympic Association after trials come to a close on Sunday, were delighted to have achieved their goal on the first day of racing in London.

MacInnes, of the Stirling performance centre, will make her Olympic debut in Paris. She said: “I want believe it I’m so emotional. I just wanted to make sure I was secure in that space. I have the 2100 ion Saturday but it’s great to get it in the bag up front.”

Stephens, based at the Loughborough performance centre, was delighted to have backed Doha up with another fine swim: “Doha was such a nice stop off on the way to the champs. This was the target all the time; to be on a low 2:07. So, fingers crossed that I’ll be on that plane to Paris in the summer. “

The British-championship bronze went to Emily Large in 2:09.02.

Doubtless she will. Both have a shot at a place in the Paris final, while the podium is likely to take a time of at least 2:05, if not considerably faster.

Men’s 400m Free – Kieran Bird on 3:45 but 0.2sec shy of the cut for Paris

Kieran Bird set the pace, on 54.05, 0.14sec up on Bath teammate Luke Turley, at the 100m. By the half-way mark, Bird, on 1:50.79, had built a lead of almost a second and led at the 300m mark in 2:48.33, Turley on 3:50.00 and struggling to stay with Bird’s wash.

The race was in the bag but the battle for a ticket to Paris was ahead of the 2020ne Olympian. Bird ploughed on, built up an unassailable lead and looked set to grab the berth he’d worked for. On 3:45.63, inside his lifetime best of 3:46.00 from Olympic trials in 2021, he fell an excruciating 0.2sec shy of the automatic cut for the big 400m of this summer.

Said Bird: “Fastest I’ve done since the last Olympic trials. I’ve had a couple of years of plateau … but gutted to miss the time by 0.2.” He has further chances in the 200m on the last day of the British Championships on Sunday in the boiling cauldron of a race that will send at least five men to Paris to defend the Olympic 4x200m crown three years after triumph in Tokyo.

Turley came home closest, on 3:48.93, with 19-year-old Tyler Melbourne-Smith, on 3:50.45.

James Guy of Great Britain jubilates after winning the men's 200m Freestyle Final while Ryan Lochte (R) of the United States of America (USA) finishes 4th during the FINA Swimming World Championships at Kazan arena in Kazan, Russia, 4 August 2015.
James Guy the Man, at 19 a world champion – by Patrick B. Kraemer

The qualification time of 3:45.43 is slower than the swiftest 10 times ever swum by a Brit. And it is ‘A’ Brit: all of the top 10 ever belong to one of those British 4x200m heroes James Guy.

He clocked all his best 400m times between 2014 and 2018, circling the 2015 and 20166 seasons in which he became World 200m champion and was robbed of an Olympic medal by Sun Yang*, the Chinese controversy who tested positive for a banned substance in 2014 but was given a get-out-of-jail card by FINA.

The best of the next man on the British 400m performances list matches the qualification time for Paris 15 years after his effort at the Rome (shiny suits) World titles: it’s the Welsh record held since 2009 by David Davies, the 2008 marathon Olympic silver medallist, 2004 Olympic 1500m bronze medallist and 2006 Commonwealth 1500m champion.

The Paris Olympic final may well take a time inside the British qualification cut.

In other finals:

Colbert & Wood Lead Harris and Hope With Paris Tickets For All In 200 Solo & 4×200 Free Relay

Peaty Three-Peat Back On! Passage To Paris With 57.94 Blast In Hallowed Lane Of Olympic Champion’s First WR

Paralympic Tickets To Paris – Day 1:

  • Poppy Maskill (S14 200 Freestyle)
  • Louise Fiddes (S14 200 Freestyle)
  • Olivia Newman-Burke (S14 200 Freestyle)
  • Susanna Hext (S6 200 Freestyle)

Trials Information


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