Neill Takes 800 Free Bronze And Becomes 7th Fastest Aussie Performer Ever


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Australia’s Thomas Neill entered these World Junior Championships as a viable contender but has already established himself as a bona fide budding freestyle superstar.

The 17-year-old teen from Rackley already claimed a silver medal here in Budapest via his impressive performance in the men’s 400m freestyle. Competing in the event on night 1 of these Championships, Neill laid waste to his previous personal best of 3:49.98 from earlier this year to clock a massive new PB of 3:46.27. That time rendered Neill runner-up, but not by much, as his time fell just .21 outside of Hungarian Gabor Zombori‘s 3:46.06 mark that won gold.

Then in the 200m free, Neill broke through with a big-time personal best yet again, smashing his entry time of 1:49.18 with his first sub-1:49 performance of his career in 1:48.20 to take 3rd seed out of the heats. Although he finished off the podium come the final that night, Neill clocked a 6th place time of 1:47.66, bringing his time drop total to over 1 1/2 seconds in this men’s 200m free event.

Rounding out a trifecta of head-turning swims for the Aussie teen so far, Neill once again landed on a podium, this time in the men’s 800m free event. Neill’s career-quickest mark of 7:59.05 landed him lane 2 based on entries, next to Croatia’s freestyle ace Franko Grgic, giving him a racer to chase the entire way. Neill was behind Grgic, right on Russian Ilia Sibirtsev‘s heels for the duration of the 800m, ultimately hitting the wall in a time of 7:48.65 for bronze.

His sub-7:50 effort means Neill dropped over 8 seconds with this one performance, giving him his 2nd individual medal of these Championships.

In terms of Australian swimming history, Neill’s 7:48.65 performance now checks him in as the 2nd fastest 17-year-old Aussie performer ever, sitting ahead of what legends Grant Hackett (7:50.30) and Kieren Perkins (7:52.93) threw down at 17. Only Mack Horton has been faster at this age, hitting 7:45.67 that sits as the World Junior benchmark time.

But, Neill’s time was stellar for any Aussie age, now inserting him as #7 on the list of all-time Aussie performers at any age.

Top Aussie Men’s 800m Freestyle Performers All-Time

#1 – 7:38.65 Grant Hackett 1981 Montreal 27.07.05
#2 – 7:39.16 Ian Thorpe 1982 Fukuoka 24.07.01
#3 – 7:44.02 Mack Horton 1996 Kazan 05.08.15
#4 – 7:46.00 Kieren Perkins 1973 Victoria 24.08.94
#5 – 7:46.79 Jack McLoughlin 1995 Brisbane 11.06.19
#6 – 7:47.38 Jordan Harrison 1995 Barcelona 30.07.13
#7 – 7:48.65 Thomas Neill 2002 22.08.19


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Colleen Goodin & Chris Thornton Coolum fans
3 years ago

What an incredible feat for this young man, Thomas O’Neill. Australian Swimming is in good hands. 👏👏👏

3 years ago

Jack McLoughlin should sit higher on that list. Didn’t he go 7.42 at the WC’s?

3 years ago

Great swims this week and exciting future ahead

Reply to  Mike
3 years ago


3 years ago

This makes the battle for the 400 & 800 spots next year interesting.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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