Friday marked the second-to-last day of the so-called ‘able-bodied’ portion of the 2014 Australian Age Championships, with the multi-class para races set to begin on one day’s overlap Saturday and run through Monday.
After no National Records were broken on Thursday as this meet fell into a mid-week funk, Friday saw the return to the earlier fireworks, beginning early with the boys’ 12-13 400 free.
There, Elijah Winnington of Palm Beach won his 4th individual race of the weekend with a 4:07.78. That knocked a full second off the old Australian 13 & under National Record of 4:08.76 that was set back in 1995 by William Guthrie in 4:08.76.
Perhaps indicative of the recent problems in Australia’s senior group in the middle-distance and distance freestyles, of the top 5 times coming into this meet in the event, the most recently swum was back in 2005. The top four are from 1995, 1994, 2002, and 1996, in that order.
But Winnington will now work his way up the pipeline of the age groups and hope to bear that torch a little bit by the Tokyo or yet-unawarded 2024 Olympics.
Aaron Mansfield took 2nd in 4:14.46.
The next record came in the girls’ 200 free. There, Shayna Jack, best known as a 50/100 freestyler, broke the Australian Record for 15-year olds with a 1:59.67. That took out the old mark of 1:59.80 held by Leah Neale from just a couple of years ago.
Not far behind her was Tasmin Cook, who earlier in the meet broke the 400 National Record, with a 1:59.86. Chelsea Gubecka (2:02.82) and Vivian Zhu (2:03.53) took 3rd-and-4th, respectively.
For Jack, stunningly, this is her first National Age Record. She had to side-step just a little bit outside of her comfort zone to do so, given that in her primary events she’s contending with the youth times of the Campbell sisters, who were always stars.
And finally, in the third record-setting swim of the day, SOPAC’s Matthew Wilson added a second National Record to his name in the boys’ 15 year olds 200 breaststroke. He swam a 2:17.31, which lowers the old record of 2:18.28 set by Simon Cowley in 1996.
Wilson now holds both the 100 and 200 meter records after this week, having taken out the 100 earlier in the meet by almost a second.
En route to this victory and title, Wilson pulled away early from Zach Stubblety-Cook who not only was the champion last year in the 14-year olds age group, but holds all of the 200 breaststroke Natoinal Age Records up to this one. Stubblety-Cook still swam very well for 2nd in a 2:19.50, but that win by Wilson shows the progress he’s made in improving his 200 over the last year.
Canadian youth swimmer Mary-Sophie Harvey might have sealed up the Swimmer of the Meet award, if internationals are considered, with two more wins on Friday evening.
She first swam a 1:03.72 in the 100 long course meter backstroke to top a pair of Chandler swimmers Aliesha Meagher (1:05.38) and Kayla Hoey (1:05.40).
She came back later in the meet to take th 400 IM running away, by almost 7 seconds, in 4:51.22. That left her just about half-a-second away from the Australian Age Record for 13-14’s. Harvey used her strongest races, the opening fly and back, to build her lead, and then just continued to inch away in the rest of the distance.
Rebecca Cross took 2nd in 4:57.95, and Olivia Anderson (another Canadian) was 3rd in 4:58.54.
Those two swims for Harvey, as she continues a breakout meet, were both lifetime bests by around four seconds.
Rocky City’s Alanna Bowles struck again in the women’s 200 IM, posting a 2:16.42 for her 5th win of the week. She was pushed more than expected by Bayside’s Lucy McJannett, who is a very good sprinter, but Bowles was able to pull ahead on the breaststroke and inch away on the freestyle for the win. McJannett was about six-tenths back in 2:17.05.
Canadian Danielle Hanus took 3rd in 2:18.90.
In the 12-13 50 freestyles, Josiah Wells won a tight boys’ race in 24.80, followed by Simon Geldenhuys (24.82) and Julian Bulich (24.89).
The girls’ race went to Natasha Ramsden in 26.45, part of an Abbotsleigh 1-2 with Katie Strachan touching 2nd in 26.83. That time for Ramsden becomes the 7th-fastest by a 13 & under in Australian history, and the list of names in front of her is loaded: both Campbells, Kukla, Jack, Elmslie, and Jemma Schlicht.
Speaking of Schlicht, she picked up a win on Friday as well in the 100 fly. The Surrey Park 16-year old was a 1:00.93, holding on to the back-half of the race to touch ahead of Hanus 1:00.93-1:01.12. Emily Waddington took 3rd in 1:01.14, and Lizzie Gannon took 4th in 1:01.15. That top 5 was separated by two-tenths of a second.
In the boys’ 16-year olds 100 fly, Dominic Richardson won in 54.80, topping the hot-handed Damian Fyfe (54.98).
Other highlight swims included:
- Mitchell Pratt won the boys 18-18 200 back for the second-straight edition, improving a full second over his winning time from last year’s meet. His 2:00.75 puts him into the country’s all-time top 10 in the age group.
- Sprint prince Kyle Chalmers won the boys’ 200 free in 1:52.50. Unlike his 50 and 100 freestyles, this wasn’t even close to Ian Thorpe’s National Record, nor even as good as Damian Fyfe’s winning time from last year, nor even his own best time, but it was another gold medal for the sponsored teen.
- Leah Neale continued to be off of her tapered times from senior Nationals, but easily took another win in the 17-18 girls’ 800 free with an 8:38.67.
Other Age National Champions from Friday
- Tianna Gilmour from Pelican Waters won the 17-18 200 back in 2:15.99. She came-from-behind against Gabrielle Wilson (2:16.21) in the final 50.
- Molly Batchelor won the girls’ 12-13 400 free in 4:24.94.
- Jacob Desmond took the boys’ 14-year olds 100 back, just sneaking under a minute in 59.99. Joshua Kennedy wasn’t able to get there with a 1:00.20.
- In the boy’s 1500 free, Lachlan Colwuhoun won in 15:48.41 ahead of a 15:50.78 from New Zealand’s Matthew Myers.
- Ethan Dorrian from DAPTO won the boys’ 14-year olds 400 IM final, improving 8 seconds after prelims to go 4:37.28.
- Ella Bond won the girls’ 200 breaststroke with a 2:32.38 in the girls’ 15-year olds race.
- Clyde Lewis topped Nicholas Groenewald in the boys’ 16-year olds 200 IM 2:05.23-2:05.49. Theo Benehoutsos was a 2:06.15 for 3rd after splitting a furious 28.91 on the last 50.
- Sarah Beale won the girls’ 12-13 100 breaststroke in 1:15.03. Maria Moshovis was just behind in 1:15.10 – especially impressive as Moshovis is only 12 years old.
- The St. Peter’s Western girls won another relay, taking the 14 & under 200 free relay in 1:47.63.
- The Carlile boys won their version of the same relay in 1:42.68.