20 Australians Under 20 You Need to be Watching – Men

These are the 20 Australian swimmers under 20 years of age who you need to be paying attention to. Below are the 10 men to watch in no particular order.

Elijah Winnington

  • Age: 18
  • Stroke:  Mid-distance freestyle
  • Most Impressive Feat: World Junior Record Holder 200 freestyle LCM & 400 freestyle SCM

Why you should be watching: He holds multiple World Junior Records, has represented Australia at Pan Pacifics and Commonwealth Games (where he took relay gold in the 4×200 freestyle with the fastest split for Australia of 1:45.97). His time at Queensland Champs puts him 12thin the world this year in the 200 freestyle.

Joshua Edwards-Smith

  • Age: 15
  • Stroke: Backstroke
  • Most Impressive Feat: 3 Australian Records

Why you should be watching: Edwards-Smith is 15 and already holds 3 Australian records. He has represented Australia at the Oceania Championships in Papua New Guinea. His 200 backstroke long course is a 2:00.23 which ranks him 92nd in the world this year at just 15 years of age.

Stuart Swinburn

  • Age: 16
  • Stroke: Backstroke
  • Most Impressive Feat: Two-time Junior Pan Pacific ‘A’ Finalist

Why you should be watching: Swinburn narrowly missed Mitch Larkin’s 16-year 200 backstroke Australian record at Age Championships this year and went on to qualify for Junior Pan Pacific’s making two A finals. He also represented Australia at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games.

Zac Stubblety-Cook

  • Age: 19
  • Stroke: Breaststroke
  • Most Impressive Feat: 200 breaststroke silver at Pan Pacs

Why you should be watching: Stubblety-Cook is the most immediately impressive swimmer on this list. At 19 he is already a Pan Pacs silver medalist and just over a second from the world record in the 200 breaststroke with his 2:07.89 from Pan Pacs. This time puts him 5thin the world this year.

Leon MaCalister

  • Age: 18
  • Stroke: Backstroke
  • Most Impressive Feat: Australian Record

Why you should be watching: Macalister has been dominating at an age group level for years in Australia culminating in an Australian record in the 16-years 100 backstroke. He has a bright future ahead of him as a recent commit to Stanford’s Class of 2023.

Thomas Hauck

  • Age: 15
  • Stroke: Free/Back/IM
  • Most Impressive Feat: 3 Australian Records

Why you should be watching: Hauck is recently turned 15 and already has 3 Australian records. At the recent Queensland Champs he picked up a whopping 7 golds and a bronze in what is by no means an easy field also picking up Age Group Swimmer of the Meet. His versatility is also impressive – these medals came across backstroke, freestyle, IM and butterfly.

Brendon Smith

  • Age: 18
  • Stroke: Freestyle
  • Most Impressive Feat: Junior Pan Pacifics Silver

Why you should be watching: Brendon Smith fought his way to silver on a world stage at Junior Pan Pacific Champs. He also made A finals in a variety of other events finishing the meet with a 4tha 5thand a 6thto add to his silver. His 400 IM may be his most impressive – his 4:18.95 from Junior Pan Pacs puts him 71stin the world this year.

Ash Brinkworth

  • Age: 18
  • Stroke: Sprint Freestyle
  • Most Impressive Feat: Junior Pan Pacifics Gold

Why you should be watching: Brinkworth dropped a 22.72 in the Junior Pan Pacifics final to clinch the gold. In the heat he dropped a 22.68 and his lifetime best is a 22.66. Being the Junior Pan Pacific reigning champion in the 50 free is no mean feat and Brinkworth is still 18 giving him plenty of time to make an impact on an open level on the world stage.

Sam Short

  • Age: 15
  • Stroke: Distance Freestyle
  • Most Impressive Feat: 2 Australian Short Course Records

Why you should be watching: The youngest swimmer on this list, Samuel Short made headlines in August when he broke two national records at the Brisbane Short Course Champs. He took down Mack Horton’s 1500m SC record in a 15:31.87. His 800 at the competition was also a record in an 8:09.42.

Lewis Blackburn

  • Age: 18
  • Stroke: Backstroke
  • Most Impressive Feat: 6that Youth Olympic Games

Why you should be watching: Blackburn took 6thplace in the final of the 50 backstroke at Youth Olympic Games. This was one of the top performances by Australian men at the competition and with Blackburn not turning 19 until 2019 he has plenty of time to make an impact on the world stage at an open level.

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I appreciate the article, and, indeed, I shall be watching in the coming months/years.
However, the systemic problems of Swimming Australia continue to manifest themselves as recently as World SC Championships, e.g., their commitment to send a significant team didn’t materialize. Of course, there are explanations why (or excuses) but without more regular international racing and a change in leadership attitude, I just don’t see the Ozzies being a huge factor In Tokyo 2020 – a sad possibility for me and for international sport.


Agreed…Australia seems to have a low conversation rate of young talented swimmers into international competitors.


Can’t take your opinion seriously if you use the word ‘ozzies’…


Oh, please!
I lived in Sydney, for crying out loud!!!
My usage perfectly fine, mate!

Old Coach

The beef is with the spelling “Aussies”:


Aussies or wizard of OZ, but not Ozzies.


Nope, we’re not drunk gothic rockers, we’re Aussies. And I’m so sorry you had to live in Sydney

Drama King

I thought you are in Dallas.
Surely a maverick 😂


Ho, Ho, Ho!
Neither Maverick nor Cowboy nor Star
Operative word in previous post – “lived” – past tense
In Dallas, living here now – Lone Star Republic and all that!
PS: Oxford English Dictionary thinks “Ozzie” is just quite fine as a spelling –

Drama King

Thomas Neil ? Se-Bom Lee ?

drama queen

this is good stuff, note that tom hauck went to junior pan pacs ^_^

Drama King


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