SYDNEY, Australia, October 26. CONSIDERING the fact that the Australian male scene isn't what it once was, it's not surprising that the Aussie media is looking to highlight a youngster who may bolster the future. Chris Ashwood, a 14-year-old standout with significant potential, has been compared to the likes of Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett.
Coached by his grandmother, Mary Sortwell, Ashwood recently gave a scare to Hackett's 14-year-old age-group record in the 1,500-meter freestyle. Ashwood clocked in at 16:07.94, not far off Hackett's mark of 16:07.58. As impressive, perhaps more so, is the fact that Ashwood broke a district record of Thorpe's in the 100 freestyle, thanks to a swim of 55.26.
According to a story in The Australian, Ashwood has no intention of leaving the coaching guidance provided by his grandmother. That Ashwood has broken records or come within a sniff of a major age-group standard is a positive development for the Aussie movement. While Hackett and Thorpe are still major forces, Ashwood provides hope for the years ahead.
"To be swimming the same times as Olympic swimmers when they were my age is pretty exciting, and it makes me think that getting there is within my reach," Ashwood told The Australian.