Courtesy: Shaun Nodwell, SPLC Director of Sport
The Mighty St Peters Western Club, show no signs of slowing down and have started the year like no other. The Powerhouse Club located in Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia have been producing some incredible results this year already, and its only April.
At the helm is Head Coach Dean Boxall alongside him, Assistant Head Coach John Gatfield, Maxine Seear and Head Junior Coach Stewart Melton. St Peters Western has long been the top performing club in Australia, having produced national and world beating results as far back as 2008 with names such as Stephanie Rice, Leisel Jones and Emma Mckeon under former Head Coach Michael Bohl and recently Mitch Larkin, Ariarne Titmus, Clyde Lewis and Jack Cartwright who swim under the energetic Boxall.
The club Kicked off its competitive campaign early at the Australian Open Championship in March which doubled as a trial for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The team’s performances were led by 17yo Ariarne Titmus, who is starting to make her mark in world swimming. Titmus came home with Gold in the 200m, 400m (Australian Record 4.02.36) and 800m Freestyle, with the 200m event upsetting top seed Emma Mckeon.
Mitch Larkin showed a return to form, after returning to St Peters to be coached by Boxall. He also took gold in multiple events. Starting with his favored 100m and 200m Backstroke events, Larkin built into the meet seemingly getting stronger throughout to revisit a medley win taking out the 400IM.
St Peters finished the meet with 8 National Titles, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze as well as Larkin, Titmus, Lewis, Cartwright and Coach Dean Boxall, all being named in the National Team to the Commonwealth Games.
Without rest the club kicked straight into competing in the QGSSSA (Women) and AIC (Men) College championship meets, taking out the overall win in each respectively. This marks this 5th year win in a row for Women and 2nd year win in a row for men.
Come Commonwealth Games last month, St Peters Swimmers again were at the forefront of attack, this time as part of the Australian swim team. The team lead the way for Australia with outstanding performances from all, to contribute an astonishing 10 Gold medals to the tally of 21 produced by the entire Australian swim team. Again, Titmus and Larkin took control with Ariarne taking Gold in the 400m Freestyle in a Games and Australian Record of 4.00.93 as well as the 800m Freestyle. Titmus went head to head with the other young swimmer of the meet, Taylor Ruck, in the 200m Freestyle, being pipped to the post in a time of 1.54.85 to Ruck’s 1.54.81.
Larkin came home with the most gold of any athlete, totalling 5. Larkin, looking ‘2015 esk’, took out all 3 Backstroke events 50m, 100m and 200m along with the title in the 200IM.
Clyde Lewis bagged his first international medal in winning the Men’s 400IM, in which proved to be an absolute all-out effort, producing a time of 4.13.12. St Peters total medal tally at the games cam to 10 Gold (7 Individual,3 relay) 1 Silver and 1 Bronze.
Capping out the season the St Peters Age Team again caused a stir, as they produced yet another dominant performance at the Australian age and New Zealand Age Championships. Starting in New Zealand, the small kiwi contingent of St Peters Western (4 swimmers) competed at the 2018 AON New Zealand Age Championship. Made up of up-and-coming sprinter Michael Pickett, Eve Thomas, Tarquin Magner and Xavier Hill, the quartet came home with an impressive 6 National titles, with both Pickett and Thomas meeting Junior Pan Pac and Youth Olympic Standards. Pickett has stood out this year as one to watch, after moving to St Peters in January Pickett has produced some very fast times already and he is only 15. With a 23.14 50m Freestyle and 51.21 100m Freestyle (both National age records) already swum this year, it is exciting to think of what the young man might achieve under this club.
The New Zealand Age Champs did however prove merely a warm up to what the entire age squad were about to produce at the 2018 GHF Australian Age Championship. St Peters Western amassed a monstrous 23 Gold, 10 Silver, 12 Bronze and 2 Australian Age records at the championship, this time lead by 16yo Michaela Ryan. A stand out performer at the championship, Ryan, collected 6 Individual Gold for her efforts in the 200 Fly (2.10.51), 100 Free (55.46), 200 Free (1.58.91), 100 Fly (59.05), 200 IM (2.15.59) and 200 Back (2.13.77). Not to be outdone, at 14yo Jenna Forrester, posted times that would be respected in any age group taking titles in the 200 IM (2.17.09), 100 Free (56.47), 200 Free (2.01.32) and 400 Free (4.14.16) amongst others.
This marks the 4th year in a row that St. Peters Western have led Australia at the Age Group Championship. One thing is for sure, under the lead of Head Coach Dean Boxall and his team, this international club has the ability to take the world by storm.