By Phillip Whitten
SYDNEY, Jan. 15. AS expected, Australian swimmers dominated the Sydney Youth Olympic Festival held at the Olympic Pool in Homebush, Jan. 11-14. Still, youngsters from Canada, New Zealand, Japan and the USA were among the winners at the four-day long course extravaganza.
Josh Krogh and Stephen Penfold–both Queenslanders–turned in outstanding performances. Krogh, 18, won the 200 fly in a swift 1:58.38, a nice improvement from the 1:59.9 he posted at last year's Australian Age Group Championships. He also took the 200 free in 1:52.02.
Penfold may be the newest Aussie distance phenom. The 15 year-old won the 400 free (3:54.11), 800 free (8:01.97) and 1500 free (15:24.27) to become one of only two swimmers to win three events.
The other triple winner was 17 year-old Tobias Oriwol of Canada, who won the 100 back (56.90), 200 back (2:00.03) and 200 IM (2:04.04). In the prelims of the 200 back, Oriwol clocked 2:01.12, breaking Chris Renaud's 1994 age group mark of 2:01.79. He then lowered it another second to win the final. Oriwol is a swimmer to watch: he has already dropped almost four seconds from his previous best, 2:03.9, recorded last summer.
Another Canadian, Chuck Sayao, announced he was ready to step up and become the next superstar in the great tradition of Canadian medley swimmers. Sayao clocked an outstanding 4:19.99 to win the 400 IM.
On the women's side, Canada's Jennifer Fratesi won only one event, but she did it in spectacular fashion.
The 17 year-old stroked to a 2:13.17 time in the prelims of the 200m back, breaking Kelly Stefanyshyn's national and 15-17 mark of 2:13.24 swum in 1999. In the final, she lowered her time to 2:12.42.
Australia's Kelli Waite demonstrated that the Aussies have another breaststroke star in the making. The 15 year-old posted a 2:28.35 to breeze to victory in the 200 breast.
Japan's Ayane Sato recorded and excellent 4:48.36 to take gold in the 400 IM.
Only two Americans–both women–managed to win events. Erin Sieper, 17, took the 100 breast in 1:10.75. She also finished third in the 200 in 2:32.73. Morgan Henton was the victor in the 1500 free, with a 16:44.65.