The 2014 Australian Age Championships wrapped up their non-disabled portion on Saturday and began to cede way to the para-class competitors, who compete for their titles through Monday.
The non-disabled athletes wouldn’t leave the grounds without one more National Age Record, however.
13-year old Minna Atherton was a 1:02.79 in the girls’ 12-13 100 backstroke, which broke her own National Record for 13 & unders of 1:03.04 set in December.
The second-through-fifth fastest swimmers on this list all-time are Yolane Kukla, Emily Seebohm, Mikkayla Sheridan, and Shayna Jack, an impressive list to lead.
Allana Bowles finished an impressive meet of her own with a 6th individual event title in 6 days. She took the women’s 800 free in 8:32.45, and while that’s not a best time for her, it is faster than the winning time in the 17-18 race. That sets her up for a potential 5-year run in this event, as she won the 14-year olds race in 2012, the 15-year olds race in 2013, and now the 16-year olds race in 2014. For those curious, she was only 8th in the 12-13 age group in 2011.
Another swimmer punctuating her meet with a victory on Saturday was Canada’s Mary-Sophie Harvey, who actually outdid Bowles with a 7th event title. That final win was a 2:31.79 in the 13-year olds 200 meter breaststroke. The Canadian Youth Team member has run through her age group this weekend, winning, in order:
- 200 IM (Monday)
- 100 fly (Monday)
- 200 back (Tuesday)
- 200 fly (Wednesday)
- 100 back (Friday)
- 400 IM (Friday)
- 200 Breast (Saturday)
This versatility, which is really a versatility that she never demonstrated until this weekend, included a win in all five stroke/stroke groups aside from the freestyles. She also took 2nd in the 100 breast and 3rd in the 800 free on the weekend for 9 total individual medals. She’ll return to Canada with a lot more star power and clout than that with which she left, and a springboard to really make some noise in her country’s junior ranks.
Matthew Wilson couldn’t add a 3rd National Age Record in his last swim, the 200 IM (15 year olds), but he did add another win with a 2:05.41. That puts him into Australia’s all-time top 5 at that age. As would be expected, he kept himself in-the-hunt through the butterfly and backstroke legs before pulling away on the breaststroke and finishing with a good freestyle anchor split as well. Wilson’s two National Age Records were in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes.
Jarryd Bacter from Central Gautang Aquatics in South Africa took 2nd in 2:07.88; he had the second-fastest breaststroke split, though it wasn’t all that close to Wilson’s, and Jacob Vincent from Hobart was 3rd in 2:08.90.
In the girls’ version of that race, Chelsea Gubecka won in 2:17.11, coming from 4th after the breaststroke leg to win with a 30.29 anchor split. Ravenswood’s Abbey Harkin took 2nd in 2:17.89, and Kelsey Wog from Canada was 3rd in 2:18.36.
Gubecka will finish this meet with a fistful of medals and three individual event wins.
In the boys’ 12-13 100 backstroke final, Leon McAlister won in 1:00.42, which actually left him only half-a-second away from the winner in the boys’ 14-year olds race earlier in this meet. Even more impressive is that last year’s winner in this age group Andrew Ryan was the exact same time this year now that he’s aged up.
Nick Jennens, McAllister’s Carlile teammate, took 2nd in this race at 1:02.63, and as a 12-year old he’ll be favored to win the event next season.
Staying in that age group, New Zealander Mya Rasmussen won the girls’ 400 IM in 4:59.78, roughly six-seconds faster than the winning time from last season, and makes her the youngest New Zealander to break five minutes. Her swim took down a 15-year old New Zealand Age Record set in 1999 by Carissa Thompson at 5:01.07.
The boys’ 400 IM went to a domestic swimmer, and another member of the 5+ win group, Elijah Winnington. He swam a 4:44.00 to beat Finn O’Connor (4:46.73). O’Connor had a magnificent breaststroke leg, splitting 38.3/38.7 and dominating anybody else in the final in that particular 100 to bring himself from 9 seconds back to just a second back over 100 meters. If he finds a little bit more of a butterfly, he’s got huge potential in this race.
Kyle Chalmers for the second-straight day didn’t capture a National Age Record, however he did get his 4th individual event title of the meet with a 54.97 in the boys’ 15-year old 100 fly. That beat a 26.32 from Alston Jeroff of Trinity Grammar and does make Chalmers just the third 15-year old in Australian history to go under 55 seconds in the event.
Markus Thormeyer, another Canadian, won the boys’ 200 backstroke for 16-year olds with a 2:03.39. He was just ahead of Australia’s bests Tristan Ludlow (2:03.45) and Nicholas Groenewald (2:03.52).
In the girls’ 16-year olds race Amy Forrester won in 2:11.00, opening up an early lead with a 1:04.0 first 100 meters.
In the girls’ 17-18 100 freefinal, Yolane Kukla got perhaps some excitement and some disappointment from the result. Her 54.30 winning time is the best swim we’ve seen from her across three weeks of national-level competition, however had she raced this well at senior nationals in Perth, she would’ve had a shot at Commonwealth Games qualifying (it took a 54.06 to make the 400 free relay).
This is good evidence at least that the 18-year old Kukla hasn’t lost the speed that brought her so many accolades as a younger swimmer; rather she may have just mistimed her training and taper for April’s championship meets.
Carlile’s Ami Matsuo took 2nd in 54.78, and Chelsea Gillett was 3rd in 55.42. They’re both 17 year olds and will be eligible to compete for this title again next season.
In the boys’ 17-18 100 free final, Regan Leong was the only swimmer under 50 seconds, winning the race in 49.70. Blake Jones (50.10) and Isaac Jones (50.60) took 2nd and 3rd, respectively.
More notably from the results of that race, however, is the fact that Chalmers’ 100 free from earlier in the meet was the fastest 100 free we saw this week, which should put him in control of a spot on the Youth Olympics team this summer in Nanjing, China.
The other noteworthy swim out of that age group on Saturday came in the boys’ 200 fly. There, the Tigersharks’ Mitchell Pratt showed his versatility with a 1:57.28 win, adding to his 200 back win from Friday. This swim moves him to 2nd on the all-time Australia list for 18-year olds, as he now seems poised to make his big breakthrough at the senior level and contend for the Worlds team even in 2015.
Other Champions on Saturday
- Megan Gianotti from St. Peters Western won the girls’ 200 fly in 2:13.34.
- Elly Wikaire won the girls’ 14-year olds 200 free in 2:04.38, topping Mikayla Messer (2:04.62) with a good last 50.
- Andrew Ryan won the boys’ 14-year olds 200 free in 1:55.61, putting in over a second ahead of Zachary Attard (1:56.97). Ryan went big on the front-half of his race, extended his lead on the third 50, and while he gave a bunch back coming home, he had plenty of room to spare.
- Lucia Lassman (1:00.67) won the girls’ 15-year olds 100 fly in a tight race over Mikaela Cornelissen (1:00.73). 200 fly winner Tasmin Cook was a 1:01.73 for 3rd, exactly a second behind Cornelissen.
- Heath Macleod won a somewhat lackluster boys 14-year olds 200 breast final with a 2:24.50. David Schlicht was 2nd in 2:27.06.
- Joshua Parrish won the boys’ 1500 free for 16 year olds running-away in 15:45.05. That put him 15-seconds ahead of 2nd place.
- St. Peters Western took one last relay win with a 4:12.20 in the girls’ 18 & under 400 medley relay. That included a 1:08.4 breaststroke split from 17-year old Georgia Bohl.
- The Nunawading boys came within tenths of a National Record in the 400 medley relay, but wound up just shy in 3:49.82. Nicholas Groenewald gave them an early lead with a 56.79 backstroke split, though Trinity Grammar fought back later in the race to take 2nd in 3:50.39.