The Australian men just can’t seem to run out of young, highly talented sprinters.
On day 1 of the 2013 State Teams Short Course Swimming Championships in Canberra, Braga Verhage took the win in a new Meet Record of 22.67. The old standard of 22.80 was set by Te Haumi Maxwell in 2009. Verhage won silver for 14-year olds at last year’s Australian Age Group Championship meet, and is swimming in the 14-15 aged group, and knocked off an impressive field that included defending champion and 15-year old pro swimmer Kyle Chalmers, who took 2nd in 22.88, and New South Wales’ Vincent Dai, who was 3rd in 22.96.
Added to Victoria’s Benno Negri, the top four swimmers were all faster than Chalmers’ winning time from last year: speaking to the increasing stature of this meet with a fun format. The 14-15′s outshone even their older counterparts – the winning time in the 16-17 age group came from Queensland’s Blake Jones in just 22.75.
That was one of two wins for Verhage on day 1 of the three day, timed-final meet. He broke another Meet Record in the boys’ 14-15 50 fly, swimming a 24.14, knocking off the time of Olympian Jayden Hadler by .01 seconds.
This race had the same medal finish, with Chalmers taking 2nd in 24.46, and Dai 3rd in 25.43.
On the girls’ side, the swim of the day went to New South Wales’ Rebecca Cross with a 2:15.58 in the 200 IM – a Meet Record that broke the old mark held by Queensland’s Alanna Bowles. Bowles is the biggest name at this meet, though she is now in the 15-16 age group. There, she won her event in the girls’ 400 free with a 4:06.70 – a fantastic time, but shy of the Meet Record.
The girls’ sprinters were as sharp as their male counterparts on this day. Queensland 15-year old Lizzie Gannon took the girls’ 15-16 50 free (25.18) and 50 fly (26.80) sweep, followed very closely by Lucy Soden roughly a tenth behind in each race.
In the younger age group, the 13-14′s, Julia Hawkins won the 50 free in 25.53 and Stephanie Whan won the girls’ 50 fly in 27.02.
Queensland was leading the scoring after the meet’s first session, with New South Wales in 2nd and Victoria in 3rd.