Australia’s Stewart McSweyn capped off a spectacular season on Tuesday, running an Australian all-comers mile record of 3:50.61 in Tasmania. This was the fourth PB of McSweyn’s season, and it was also the third-fastest mile time in Australian history, less than two seconds off Craig Mottram‘s national record of 3:48.98. McSweyn has been a force on the Australian distance scene for a couple of years now, but after recording multiple podium finishes at Diamond League events and other international meets, he has proven he can be a regular contender on the world stage, too. The Tokyo Olympics are the better part of a year away, but based on his 2020 season, McSweyn has shown he could run to some big results come July 2021.
Superlatives – @Stewy_mac3 1 mile 3:50.61 in Penguin, Tasmania tonight
•PB by 4 seconds
•Australian Allcomers record set 29 yrs ago (fastest mile on Australian soil)
•3rd fastest mile by an Australian 🇦🇺
•2020 World Leader
•Fastest mile by an Australian for 15 yrs pic.twitter.com/3ZMnrZ3iyv
— David Tarbotton (@David_Tarbotton) December 29, 2020
The Penguin carnival
McSweyn ran his mile PB at the Tasmanian Christmas Carnival Meet in a small town called Penguin, where he crushed the rest of the field. He was paced through 800m by fellow Australian Adam Spencer before continuing solo for the final two laps. He crossed the line four seconds faster than his previous PB, which he set in the U.K. in 2018, and 19 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher. His final time of 3:50.61 was not only the fastest mile run on Australian soil, beating the previous record that was set 29 years ago, but it was also the fastest run of 2020, giving McSweyn the world lead to close out the year (unless someone else runs a faster time before midnight on Thursday).
This capped off a season that saw McSweyn run to three other PBs and two national records. He broke his 1,500m PB twice, first running 3:31.48 at the Stockholm Diamond League (where he finished third) and then setting the Australian record of 3:30.51 at the Doha Diamond League (which he won). He also ran the Australian (and Oceanian) 3,000m record of 7:28.02 at the Rome Diamond League, where he placed third yet again.
Heading into 2021
McSweyn has proven that he can compete with the world’s best across multiple distances, and he will have several options as he moves forward into 2021 and sets his sights on the Olympics. As he showed in Doha, he has the speed to win in the 1,500m, but he has also performed well in the 5,000m and 10,000m at races in Australia (he won the 5,000m national championships in 2020 and the 10,000m crown in 2019). Whatever he chooses, he could shock the world and sneak onto the podium in Tokyo.