Australian Age freestyle champions Phoebe Walker and Ela Noble and exciting Gold Coast distance swimmer Max Osbornare among a 14-strong Australian swim team named for the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games in the Bahamas in July.
The Commonwealth Games Association announced the team, nominated to Commonwealth Games Australia (CGA) by Swimming Australia.
The swimming team will consist of seven men and seven women in a group to be led by triple Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Petria Thomas as the Team Leader and Tracey Menzies-Stegbauer as Head Coach.
Menzies-Stegbauer, who coached Ian Thorpe to dual gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics, will be assisted by coaches Dean Bryant (Victoria) and Richard Sleight (QLD).
Swimming has been Australia’s most successful sport at Commonwealth Youth Games since the first Games in Edinburgh in 2000 when Australia’s swimmers, including Olympic gold medallists Jodie Henry and Linda MacKenzie won a total of 26 gold medals.
The home Commonwealth Youth Games in Bendigo in 2004 saw the swim team, that included Olympians Meagen Nay and Nick Ffrost collect nine gold, 17 silver and eight bronze while in Pune in 2008 the Australians with Olympians Ryan Napoleon and Jade Nielsen and Ned McKendry, Australia won 18 gold 11 silver and eight bronze.
In 2011 at the Isle of Man, Australia again topped the medal tally winning 15 gold, 15 silver and 6 bronze in a team that included London 2012 Olympian Jarrod Poort.
Four swimmers from the last Youth Games in Samoa in 2015 – Shayna Jack, Clyde Lewis, Jack Cartwright and Ariarne Titmus have all graduated to this year’s Australian Dolphins Swim Team for the FINA World Championships in Budapest.
Australian team Chef de Mission Matt Cowdrey, Australia’s most successful Paralympic swimmer, knows this group of swimmers will be determined to do Australia proud.
“Looking at what these swimmers have already achieved shows that we have another exciting group on or hands,” said Cowdrey.
“The Commonwealth Youth Games definitely provides an important pathway for these youngsters as they set their goals for bigger and better things in the future.”
Phoebe Walker (St Peters Western, QLD, 800m freestyle) won the 15 years 400m (4:17.55) and 800m (8:52.25) freestyle double at this year’s Australian Age Championships in Brisbane while Ela Noble (Commercial, QLD, 50m freestyle) took the gold in the 14 years 50m freestyle (26.07).
While 17-year-old Max Osborn (TSS Aquatic, QLD, 1500m) finished fifth in the competitive 17-18 years 1500m freestyle (15:45.42) at the end of a busy 2016-17.
Earlier in the season, Osborn, one of a group of promising young Australian distance swimmers, clocked a personal best time of 15:35.26 to win the 16 years 1500m freestyle at the Queensland State Championships – blossoming under TSS head coach Chris Nesbit.
Just two weeks before the Age Nationals, the 17-year-old won his first Open medal, a brave bronze behind Rio OlympianJack McLoughlin in the 800m freestyle in a personal best time of 8:12.96 – to signal his arrival in open company.
Osborn was also sixth in the open 1500m freestyle won by Olympic 400m freestyle champion, Mack Horton, clocking 15:40.89.
Walker, Noble and Osborn are three of nine Queenslanders on the team and will be joined by Charlotte Mitchell (TSS Aquatic, 200m butterfly), Katie Strachan (St Peters Western, 100m freestyle), Meg Harris (Commercial, QLD 50m freestyle), Charles Cox (St Peters Western, QLD 200m butterfly), Daniel Jacobson (Albany Creek, QLD 400m freestyle) andJake Goldsworthy (Acacia Bayside, QLD 100m breaststroke).
The other five spots went to Brittany Castelluzzo (Tea Tree Gully, SA 200m butterfly), Sophie Caldwell (Nunawading, VIC200m IM), Ethan McAleese (Rockingham, WA 200m IM), Heath Macleod (MLC Aquatic, VIC 100m breaststroke) and Myles Bailey (Woy Woy, NSW 200m backstroke).
Australia’s premier swimming club, St Peters Western has three swimmers on the team for the Games in Bahamas fromJuly 19-23 with club head coach and Olympic gold medal coach Michael Bohl praising his National Age Head Coach Dean Boxall for the job he has done in grooming the next generation.
“A lot of our kids set themselves for the Commonwealth Youth Games – targeting the qualifying times, no matter what age they were, Dean had them setting their goals from the start of the season,” said Bohl, the man who guided Stephanie Rice to triple Olympic gold.
“It is great for our younger athletes to have the Youth Games to target and I know that our young ones at St Peters are excited to be given the opportunity.
“They have worked hard all season and this is an amazing reward.”
2017 CYG Swimming Team
Brittany Castelluzzo SA
Charlotte Mitchell QLD
Ela Noble QLD
Katie Strachan QLD
Meg Harris QLD
Sophie Caldwell VIC
Phoebe Walker QLD
Charles Cox QLD
Daniel Jacobson QLD
Ethan McAleese WA
Heath Macleod VIC
Jake Goldsworthy QLD
Max Osborn QLD
Myles Bailey NSW
Petria Thomas Team Leader
Tracey Menzies‐Stegbauer Head Coach
Dean Bryant Coach
Richard Sleight Coach
THE COMMONWEALTH YOUTH GAMES
Athletes from 70 nations and territories will experience a Caribbean carnival of Commonwealth connections as the Opening Ceremony of the VIth Commonwealth Youth Games bursts into life. The Bahamas 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games will be the largest international sporting event ever to be hosted in the Bahamas, and the largest-ever edition of the Youth Games, with up to 1300 athletes aged 14-18 set to make the most of an inspiring and immersive mix of impactful sporting competition, personal development and new Commonwealth friendships.
Coordinated by the Bahamas Commonwealth Games Association and the Bahamas’ Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the nation’s first-ever international multi-sport event will see 94 medals contested across Athletics, Aquatics (Swimming), Beach Soccer, Boxing, Cycling (Road), Judo, Rugby Sevens, Tennis and (subject to final confirmation) Beach Volleyball. It will be the first time Judo, Beach Soccer and Beach Volleyball have been presented at a Commonwealth Youth Games.
As part of the Federation’s commitment to partner and support peaceful, sustainable and prosperous Commonwealth communities, it will be the second edition of the Youth Games to be held on a Small Island Developing State, following the hugely successful Samoa 2015 Commonwealth Youth Games in September last year. It will also be the first Commonwealth Games event to be held in the Caribbean for over 50 years, with Commonwealth athletes last participating in the 1966 Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica.
Almost all events will be held in the same sporting precinct, the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre, which includes the world-class 15,000-seat Thomas A Robinson stadium, host to the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Athletics. The sporting action will also reach out to the communities and streets of the island, with the Cycling competition to be held on the streets of New Providence.
The Bahamas is a Caribbean archipelago of 700 islands spread across 100,000 square miles, of which 30 are inhabited by a population of under 400,000. It is located around 50 miles off the coast of Florida. In addition to the sporting action, the VIth Commonwealth Youth Games promises a rich, colourful and diverse cultural and Commonwealth celebration, inspired by the islands’ world-famous carnival Junkanoo carnival parades which acknowledge and recognise the Commonwealth diaspora and emancipation of former African slaves in a vibrant musical celebration.
News courtesy of Swimming Australia.