Backstroke champion Mitch Larkin has broken his own national record at the world swimming championships in Russia as Australia’s 4x100m medley relay team sounded their intentions on Sunday.
Larkin clocked a lead-off leg of 52.37 seconds to help Australia (three minutes, 31.86 seconds) qualify second fastest for Sunday’s final behind the Ryan Lochte-led United States (3:31.06) at Kazan.
Australia’s 17-year old freestyle young gun Kyle Chalmers also turned heads with a world class 47.86 when he anchored the team.
Australia will now back themselves to upset defending champions the US in the final and keep their hopes of finishing on top of the medal tally alive.
Australia have six gold – double their 2013 world titles haul – to sit behind the US (seven gold) with one finals session remaining at the eight-day titles.
Larkin will be vying for his third gold of the meet after becoming the fourth person in history and first in 10 years to complete the 100m-200m world backstroke double.
“Every swim I do I try to forget about what I’ve done already and I treated that as if it was the final of the individual 100m and the excitement of these guys was quite amazing,” Larkin said of teammates Chalmers, Jake Packard and David Morgan.
“Kyle (Chalmers) was ready to go quite early and we almost had to hold him back.”
Meanwhile, Commonwealth silver medallist Thomas Fraser-Holmes was left scratching his head after failing to qualify for the 400m individual medley final.
“That was poor,” he said.
“It’s funny how it works, I don’t train for it and swim top four in the world (last year).
“I do train for it and … won’t make the final.
“That is a bit strange but you know Olympics is next year and everyone says that is the one that counts.”