Day Four of the World Junior Championships in Singapore uncovered many fantastic performances from Australian swimmers in what can only be described as a tremendously successful day for the Aussies.
One of the highlights and most pleasing aspects will be the emergence of Matthew Wilson in the 200m Breaststroke event. Posting a time of 2:11.23 to claim a personal best, silver medal and Australian Age record for 16 year olds – which he already held himself- Matthew has announced himself as a contender for an individual swim for the Rio Olympics.
The 2015 Australian Champion, Nicholas Schafer, posted a time of 2:12.47 back in April to claim the gold medal. Matthew Wilson -in the same race- recorded a time of 2:13.92. However, less than a month later won the 16 year old Australian title in a time of 2:12.83 claiming the Australian Age record. In doing so, he has now posted a time that will no doubt put a target on his back in this event come the trials in April 2016. The 2:11.23 is quick enough to also register as the 17 year old Australian Age record which is held by Simon Cowley (Commonwealth Games Gold medallist).
While training under the SOPAC swim club, the teenager has shown significant progression over the last two years. He currently works with Coach Adam Kable, who was better known as a butterfly swimmer in his competitive years and also served as an assistant to Brant Best when he coached James Magnussen. In 2014, Wilson collected the Australian title for 15 year olds in a time of 2:14.71 (which was & still is an Aus. Age record) and 16 months later has dropped his time by 3.5 seconds. The time posted at the World Junior championships alone was a 1.7 second drop from his gold medal winning time at the Australian Age championships just 4 months ago.
Since Christian Sprenger is looking more and more likely to focus on the 50/100m breaststroke events, and Brenton Rickard’s retirement in 2013, Australia has been hard-pressed to find a swimmer capable of meeting the FINA qualifying times into the 200m Breaststroke. The FINA qualifying time for Australia for the 2015 World Championships was a 2:10.01. Once at the meet, competitors had to put up a 2:09.64 to get into the top 8. Anton Chupkov, of Russia, was the last man to qualify for the finals. This means that Wilson and his fellow Aussies still have quite a bit of work to do in order to be leaves competitive on the senior international stage. However, the benchmarks that the Aussies have been hitting are encouraging steps to rebuilding their competitiveness in this event. Not only do we expect Wilson’s latest performance to spur him on, but it will also challenge his Australian colleagues vying for individual spots on future senior teams in the 200m breaststroke.