SwimmingQueensland Short Course Championships: Mitch Larkin and Chelsea Hodges Take Vital Post...

Queensland Short Course Championships: Mitch Larkin and Chelsea Hodges Take Vital Post Surgery Steps With Paris On Their Minds

Australia’s premier Olympic backstroker Mitch Larkin and Tokyo medley relay gold medallist Chelsea Hodges have both taken vital steps forward post career saving surgeries as they set their sights on next year’s Paris Games.

Both Larkin and Hodges chalked up key milestones – winning doubles at the 2023 Hancock Prospecting Queensland Short Course Championships at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre over the weekend.

Larkin, 30, won the 100m backstroke in an encouraging 52.37 and the 200m backstroke in 1:56.16.

FAMILIAR POSE: Australia’s premier Olympic backstroker Mitch Larkin starting his long road back to Paris Trials. Photo Courtesy: Wade Brennan (Wade’sPhotos)

Larkin (Chandler; Vince Raleigh) is chasing a place on a fourth Olympic team after undergoing shoulder surgery post last year’s Birmingham Commonwealth Games, saying he was happy to be back racing as he plans his next steps to the 2024 Trials.

“Yep….happy with my races this weekend, while the 200m was still pretty rusty due to a lack of backstroke volume in my training at the moment which was showing over the longer distance,” said Larkin.

“But my 100 was much better and I tried to execute better skills and hold my technique.

“I’ve got about eight weeks of training ahead and then I’ll be looking to finalise if I race the World Cups in October.

“Then I’ll be able to get another eight weeks of training in before the Queensland Long Course Championships in December.”

Just days after arriving home from the Commonwealth Games in August, Larkin, the veteran of three Olympics and three Commonwealth Games had an MRI scan on his troublesome right shoulder – confirming his worst fears.

The scan showing that his subscapularis (subscaps) had completely ripped off the bone – and the only way to fix it would be to have it stitched back down – in a complicated process.

“For surgeons to do that,” said Larkin, “they had to cut my Long Head of the Biceps Tendon as well to make room for everything to be stitched on.”

While Australian breaststroke champion, Hodges (Southport; Sean Eels), has returned to competition after she too underwent career-saving hip surgery which has kept her sidelined in 2023 – like Larkin, home in Queensland, watching the Dolphins triumphant medal haul at the World Championships in Fukuoka.

Hodges won the 50m breaststroke in 30.73 and the 100m in 1:06.67 in two encouraging swims as she surges towards qualifying for a second Olympic team.

Coach Eels confirming Hodges long haul re-hab program was complete and she was well and truly on her way back.

Cheksea Hodges Thumbs up

LOOK WHO’S BACK: A happy Chelsea Hodges gives the thumbs up to Swimming Queensland photographer Wade Brennan after her 100m breaststroke win tab the Queendkland State SC Championships. Photo Courtesy: Wade’s Photos.

“It has been a great effort from Chelsea’s support team to get through it and see her return to racing,” said Eels.

“She Is just starting a full load of training cycles again including her breaststroke main sets and her 100m at the Queensland Short Course was only the second time she had swum 100m breaststroke continuously so that’s a good starting point.

“Our focus now will be on using the next few months to prepare for the Japan Open Meet and the Queensland Long Course Championships.”

The 22-year-old breaststroker’s Olympic dream came true in Tokyo as part of the gold medal winning Australian 4x100m medley relay with Kaylee McKeonEmma McKeon and Cate Campbell, knowing that she would have to undergo her second hip surgery – similar to what she required seven years ago – to again be a contender for Paris in less than 12 months.

Some of the other highlights from the Queensland Short Course included Ed Somerville (Brisbane Grammar) who won the 18 years 100m freestyle in 47.87 ahead of Olympic relay medallist and Commonwealth Games relay gold medallist Zac Incerti (USC Spartans) who won the open in 48.00.

Visiting New Zealander Laticia Transcom who won the women’s open 100m freestyle in 53.13 from age group winners Ainslie Trotter (St Peters Western) who won the 15 years in 54.45 and Hannah Casey (Marist College Ashgrove) the 17 years in 54.73.

While Miami’s Alexander Grant won the 400m (3:47.49), 800m (7:59.78) and 1500m (15:09.15) freestyle treble.

And dual Olympian David Morgan (Surfers Paradise) won the 50m freestyle (21.92) and 100m butterfly (51.81) in a weekend of duelling with Ben Armbruster who was second to Morgan in the 50m freestyle in 22.06 and also in the 100m butterfly in 52.07.

Armbruster turning the tables on Morgan in the 50m butterfly – 23.24 to 23.27.


Mitch Larkin launching at QLD SC 2023

LAUNCHING PAD: Mitch Larkin launches his return too racing at the Queensland State SC Championships. Photo Courtesy: Wade Brennan (Wades Photos)



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