Australia’s junior swimmers have finished their Oceania Championships campaign in second spot on the medal table following the final night of competition at the West Wave Aquatic Centre in Auckland.
With a total of 20 gold medals the young Aussie team finished just behind the host nation, New Zealand (22 gold) who had a large number of their Commonwealth Games squad competing.
In the first event of the evening, Sacha Downing (8:41.17) showed off her distance dominance when she hit the wall first in the women’s 800m freestyle over ten seconds ahead of silver medallist and fellow Australian Moesha Johnson (8:52.60).
The Aussie duo were too strong for the rest of the field with the bronze medallist finishing over one minute behind in 10:39.88.
At the other end of the scale, the sprinters were also stepping up to the top of the podium with Ami Matsuo and Brianna Throssell grabbing the gold and silver medals respectively in the splash and dash women’s 50m freestyle.
World Championships relay medallist Matsuo stole the win at the wall with a time of 25.41, to take her sprint title count to three as she touched just ahead of Throssell in 25.44 and New Zealand swimmer Gabrielle Fa’amausili 25.86.
Trinity Grammar swimmer Jake Baggaley (2:05.01) got off to a strong start in the men’s 200m individual medley, eventually touching in second place just ahead of his teammate Nicholas Groenewaldwho picked up the bronze medal in a time of 2:06.71. While Bradlee Ashby (2:04.07) from New Zealand was first.
Not long after his silver medal winning performance, Baggaley was back in the water for the men’s 200m breaststroke final where he added a bronze medal to his collection in a time of 2:21.23. new Zealand took the gold and silver with Julian Layton (2:15.44) and Alex Peach (2:18.22) too strong for the rest of the field.
In the corresponding women’s event, Lucy McJannett made her way onto the podium, collecting the bronze medal in a time of 2:20.26. New Zealand teammates Tash Hind (2:17.24) and Helena Gasson (2:19.73) picked up the gold and silver respectively.
Sprinters Blake Jones and Kyle Chalmers battled for the bronze medal in the men’s 50m freestyle with World Junior Championship representative Jones just getting the better of the rising star Chlamers at the wall. Jones hit the wall in a time of 23.41 to Chalmers 23.48.The top two spots went to Cameron Simpson (22.79) and Nielsen Varoy (23.39) from New Zealand.
Just 0.01 of a second separated the gold and silver medallists in the mixed 4x100m freestyle relay with the Australian team touching in a time of 3:32.06, enough to relegate New Zealand to second in 3:32.07. The bronze medal was awarded to New Caledonia in 3:46.84.
Australia also claimed the gold medal in the men’s 4x100m medley relay, finishing first in a time of 3:43.91. New Zealand were second, stopping the clock at 3:44.16 while Hawaii rounded out the top three in 3:56.68.
The Australian women’s 4x100m medley relay team capped off the evening with a bronze medal winning swim behind New Zealand’s two teams. The Aussies finished in 4:17.33 with New Zealand A collecting gold in 4:09.51 and the B team taking the silver in 4:16.19.
The swimmers from the Oceania Championships will take part in either the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing or the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii in August this year.
Full results from the Championships can be found at http://swimmingnz.org.nz/results/?mt_id=82
The following report was provided by Swimming Australia