China Makes Move at Australian Youth Olympic Festival

By Jason Marsteller

SYDNEY, Australia, January 20. WITH four gold medals on the day, China made a big run at Australia's top status at the 2007 Australian Youth Olympic Festival held at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Center during the third day of long course meter competition. At the end of the day, Australia led with 27 overall medals, but tied China with eight wins apiece. China remained in second with 19 medals, while Japan held onto third with nine medals and five wins.

In a relatively slower day compared to the initial few days of swimming, only one meet record fell as the Chinese contingent of Tang Yi, Zhang Chen, Zhu Qianwei and Yu Yao set the women's 400 freestyle relay standard.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Yosuke Mori of Japan also shined when he broke the Australian All Comers age group record in the 100 butterfly to eclipse a Garth Kates's standard set on April 14, 2005.

Women's 400 freestyle
15-year-old Ellese Zalewski easily won her second gold medal in as many days with a top time of 4:14.66. That clocking put her four seconds ahead of second-place finisher, 16-year-old Mi Mengjiao of China, in Zalewski's wire-to-wire win.

Mi closed out the silver medal in 4:18.90, while 16-year-old Jacinta Powell of Australian turned in a bronze-winning 4:19.74.

Men's 400 freestyle
16-year-old Shi Haoran of China claimed his country's fifth title of the meet with a first-place time of 4:00.31. He knocked off second-place finisher, 16-year-old Shane Patience of New Zealand (4:01.45) by a full second.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old Christophe Ashwood of Australia rounded out the podium in 4:02.58.

Women's 100 butterfly
China made it two straight as 16-year-old Guo Fan touched out 15-year-old Samantha Hamill of Australia, 1:00.63 to 1:00.66, in an upset after Hamill broke a Jessicah Schipper record in the 200 fly earlier in the meet.

Ellese Zalewski gathered in her fourth individual medal of the meet with a bronze-winning 1:01.20.

Men's 100 butterfly
15-year-old Yosuke Mori of Japan broke the Australian All Comers age group record with a gold-winning time of 54.98. That time cleared the previous standard of 55.19 set by Australia's Garth Kates on April 14, 2005. Kates' time still stands as Australia's national age group record in the event for 15-year-olds.

Meanwhile, 16-year-old Chen Weiwu of China grabbed silver in 56.11, while 16-year-old Ryan Napoleon of Australia placed third in 56.42.

Women's 200 backstroke
16-year-old Belinda Hocking of Australia cruised to her country's second win of the day in 2:14.69. 16-year-old Zhou Yanxin of China placed second in 2:16.65, while 15-year-old He Hsu Jung of Taipei took third in 2:18.41.

Men's 200 backstroke
14-year-old Takahiro Yamazaki of Japan absorbed an initial 50-meter push by 16-year-old Evan Buck of Canada to pull ahead in the final 150 meters for the win in 2:04.93.

Buck, who clocked the fastest first 50 of 29.46, wound up second in 2:06.49, while 15-year-old Gareth Kean of New Zealand took third in 2:06.85.

Women's 400 freestyle relay
China overtook Australia's gold-medal winnings for the day when the foursome of Tang Yi, Zhang Chen, Zhu Qianwei and Yu Yao touched in a meet-record time of 3:46.42.

Australia's team of Cate Campbell, Ellese Zalewski, Samantha Hamill and Belinda Hocking settled for silver in 3:47.53, while Canada's squad of Roxane Lemieux, Amy Xu, Sarah-Eve Savard and Marie-Pier Couillard snagged bronze in 3:53.84.

Men's 400 freestyle relay
China doubled up Team Aussie for the day with its fourth title of the day. The Chinese contingent of Shi Haoran, Zhu Jiang, Chen Weiwu and Ban Bao nipped Australia's team of Jason Schnyder, Daniel Smith, David Ferguson-Sharp and Nick Johnston, 3:29.20 to 3:29.55, for the victory.

In other action, Taipei's quartet of Nieh Ting Yu, Yuan Ping, Kuo Ting Hao and Chang Chia Han garnered bronze in 3:35.10.

Click Here to view results PDF file.

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