Australia 'pretty confident' for Tokyo after national championships

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian swimming emerged from its national championships with a string of encouraging performances from the country's major medal threats in the leadup to the Tokyo Olympics.

Kyle Chalmers, the Olympic 100m freestyle champion, added the 50m freestyle crown to his 100-200 double, while Ariarne Titmus won the women's 800 freestyle after winning the 200 and 400 titles in the week-long meeting, which wrapped up on Sunday.

Both swimmers are on the comeback trail after shoulder problems and can now look forward to building further at Olympic trials in June.

"To see them getting confidence, that comes from competing and wanting to win. Those are the ones that win against the best, we know that," Swimming Australia head coach Rohan Taylor said.

"I have an equal feeling at the moment, I’m pretty confident that people are on the right track.

"There were some good performances, some encouraging performances, and there are some ones where you talk to the coach, (and ask) what do they think?"

There are some question marks over Mack Horton, however. The Olympic 400m freestyle champion was 35th in the 200m, finished nearly 30 seconds behind the teenage winner Thomas Neill in the 800 final and did not swim in the 400.

Taylor played down Horton's performances, saying he usually did not swim well in season.

"So I’m going off that, off the conversations with (coach) Craig (Jackson) with where his training sits in comparison and banking on the fact he comes up at trials when it matters," he said.

"That’s how they operate, their preparations are always like that."

(Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)