PERTH, Western Ausralia, April 14. IT was an electric Night One finals session at the Fisher and Paykel Australian Age Championships at Challenge Stadium with Athens Olympic Games team member, Marieke Guehrer proving her selection form for the Australian team is going from strength to strength clocking a new personal best and Australian Age record in the 100 metres backstroke.
The Brisbane 18 year-old didn’t disappoint in one of the most anticipated events of the evening taking the lead early and powering away to stop the clock in a time of 1:02.25, slicing 0.08 off her previous best she set in taking silver and qualifying for Athens at the Australian Championships under a fortnight ago.
Guehrer admitted she was looking to break the 1:02.00 barrier but was still happy with her personal best after a short Easter break,
“I’m pretty happy with my swim being a personal best but I really wanted to get under that 1:02 barrier. Now I am just looking forward to getting back into the cycle of proper training and I definitely can’t wait for the Olympics,” she said.
“The hardest thing about racing here is being in the transition phase, I was looking forward to racing here in Perth again but I want the new season to start again so I can get stuck into my preparation for Athens,”
“It was a bit hard getting back into training after making the Olympic team, but we have had some tough heart rate sets to start back with and that definitely brought me back down to earth pretty quickly.”
Fellow Olympic team members, Alice Mills (1:03.40) and Lara Carroll (1:03.45) rounded out the minor placings.
The records continued to tumble with Albany Creek 17-year-old Leith Brodie setting a new Australian Age record in the 100 metres backstroke final, in a time of 56.76 to take 0.08 off the previous mark set in 2002 by Ashley Anderson.
But Brodie had to settle with silver in the event after a tight tussle in the combined men’s 17-18 years final with hometown favourite, 18-year-old, Michael Jackson (no relation to the American entertainer) form the City of Perth Club proving too strong on the wall to take his first gold of the meet in 56.31 ahead of the younger Brodie (56.76) with Nunawading’s Ashley Delaney taking bronze (57.55).
The 16 years 400 metre freestyle events were both tightly contested finals with Victorian, Haylee Reddaway (4:15.25) just touching out South Australian, Caroline South (4:16.84).
It was an incredible battle in the men’s 16 years 400 metre freestyle event with the talented pairing of Sydney’s, Kenrick Monk and Gold Coast teen, Ephraim Hannant pushing each other to some incredibly impressive times.
The pair swum the eight lap event stroke for stroke with the race of the night coming down to the final touch with Monk taking the honours just ahead of his rival in a classy time of 3:54.74 with Hannant (3:54.85) a finger nail away in a high quality second placing.
More winners on night one of the championships included:
Boys 15 years 200 metres butterfly Nic Donald Nu Swim, NSW 2:03.91
Girls 15 years 200 metres butterfly Stephanie Rice Commercial, QLD 2:15.52
Girls 14 years 50 metres freestyle Francesca Halsall (V), Great Britain 26.15
Sara Marson, Twin Towns, NSW 26.63
Boys 14 years 50 metres freestyle Sam Barrett Acacia Bayside, QLD 24.96
Girls 13/U years 100 metres breaststroke Nicola Sleight Kiama, NSW 1:13.01
Boys 13/U years 100 metres breaststroke Nathan Broadbent Gosford Stingrays, NSW 1:11.34
Girls 16 years 100 metres backstroke Gemma Spofforth (V) Great Britain 1:03.49
Zoe Tonks Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton, QLD 1:04.35
Girls 14 years 100 metres butterfly Francesca Halsall (V), Great Britain 1:01.78
Kylie Palmer Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton, QLD 1:03.21
Boys 13/U years 100 metres freestyle Jason Schnyder Geelong, VIC 55.86
Girls 13/U years 100 metres freestyle Kate Brennan Coffs Harbour, NSW 58.73
Girls 14/U years 800 metres freestyle Stephanie Williams, NSW 8:48.51
Girls 15 years 800 metres freestyle Rachel Mitchell West Coast, WA 8:54.29
Boys 16 years 400 metres individual medley Ephraim Hannant Miami, QLD 4:29.33