SYDNEY, Australia, April 19. THE future of Australian swimming, in terms of those who should be viewed as prospects for the 2020 Olympic team, was on display this week at the long course age group championships, featuring three swimmers who each collected two national age group records.
Kyle Chalmers, Elijah Winnington and Matthew Wilson took down some tough records in the six-day meet, some of which had stood for more than 10 years. Chalmers and Wilson are both 15 years old, suggesting the 2016 Trials might be their major senior-level breakthrough meet.
Chalmers broke a 15-year-old Ian Thorpe age group record in the 15-year-old category, swimming a 49.68 in the 100 freestyle. Notably, it’s not much slower than the USA Swimming record for the 15-16 age group, a 49.28 swum by Caeleb Dressel, who was 16 years old at the time. Chalmers also posted a 22.68 in the 50 free to beat out Te Haumi Maxwell’s 23.03 from 2010. Again, Chalmers is just a tick off the USA national age group record of 22.39 by Dressel, suggesting that these two could become rivals similar to Nathan Adrian and James Magnussen in the near future.
Wilson showed promise in the breaststroke events, posting a 1:03.51 in the 100 breast to beat the 15-years-old national age group record of 1:04.31 by James Stacey. Wilson followed it up with a 2:17.31 in the 200 breast, breaking Simon Cowley’s record 2:18.28 set in 1996.
Winnington, just 13 years old, was impressive in the middle distance events. He won the 200 free in 1:57.27 to beat Chalmer’s mark of 1:57.47 for the 13-and-under age category. His second record came in the 400 free with a 4:07.78, beating out William Guthrie’s 4:08.76.
Two ladies got in on the record-breaking action as well. Shayna Jack posted a 1:59.67 in the 200 free to break the 15-years-old age group record of 1:59.80 by Leah Neale in 2011. And Minna Atherton broke her own age group record in the 13-and-under category, swimming a 1:02.79 in the 100 backstroke and lowering her mark by .25 seconds.
Tasmin Cook set an Australian All-Comers age group record in the 15-years-old 400 freestyle with a 4:09.29, erasing the 4:09.87 swum by Bonnie Macdonald in 2011. The All-Comers record would be similar to the USA Swimming U.S. Open national age group record, if such a standard existed. Cook has a long way to go to beat the overall national age group record, a 4:06.28 by the legendary Tracey Wickham at the Berlin world championships in 1978. That time won her the gold medal at the meet as a 15-year-old to go along with the 800 free gold (and current national age group record) she won.
Many of these swimmers could be considered for the junior Pan Pacific championships in August in Hawaii.