A new breed of women's distance swimmers are sitting their sights on the newest Olympic event in Tokyo 2020 the 1500m freestyle.
Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Kiah Melverton (15: 59.92) out-touched Kareena Lee (16:00.14) and Maddy Gough (16:09.11) at the first night of the Pan Pacific Championship Trials.
Swimming's golden girl, Ariarne Titmus (16:09.87) was in her second ever 1500m and finished fourth after leading through the 800m.
All four girls were under the Dolphins Selection Time of 16:20.98.
Melverton not only got a personal best but became only the second Australian behind Jess Ashwood to swim under 16 minutes.
“The 1500m was always on the radar and we were hoping it would be on the Olympic program and when it was added, coach Chris Nesbitt (TSS Aquatic) said to me ‘this is your thing now,” said Melverton.
“This is a fairly new event for me so it’s hard; you don’t really know what you’re doing; it’s just practicing racing really. It’s only my fourth or fifth 1500m," she said.
Melverton was happy to sit back and stay in touch with the field through the 800m with only two seconds between Titmus, Gough, Lee and herself.
Lee, who noted Open Water specialist, will now add the 1500m to the 10km for her tilt at the Tokyo Pan Pacs and the Olympics.
So happy with my swim in the 1500 last night at #panpactrials , we didn’t know what to expect after getting off the plane less than 2 weeks ago from 2x10km in Europe. It’s such exciting times for the women’s 1500 as it is now an Olympic event. We had 4 girls under the Qualifying time for Pan Pacs and the 4 of us are now in the all time top 10 Australians 🤭 congrats to @melvertonkiah for the gold 🥇 and @mad_gough for the bronze🥉. Excited to add this event to the 10km at Pan Pacs. . . . #tyr #alwaysinfront #infinitnutrition #gocustom #eatingscheating #nobarsnogels #panpacs2018
“I knew it would come down to a sprint finish with a lot of the girls, me and Kiah really sprinted," she said.
“I feel I have improved my speed for the finish which is crucial.
“Heading into the World Cups with only a week and half to prepare for this 1500m, I really didn’t know what to expect but I put my trust in JR and it’s certainly come together,” Lee said.