Leisel Jones Challenges 200m Breast World Mark at Aussie Age Group Champs

By Ian Hanson

SYDNEY, April 13. LEISEL Jones gave the 200m breaststroke world record a real shake when she equalled her own personal best time in an exciting finale to the most successful Australian Age Swimming Championships on record at the Sydney Aquatic Centre tonight.

The brilliant 16-year-old from Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton in Queensland clocked 2:25.46 – the time she clocked to win silver in last year's FINA World Championships in Fukuoka.

Jones, who the night before smashed both the 50 and 100m breaststroke Australian records in one race, was under world record pace for the first 100 metres of tonight's 200m final.

Last night, the kid who gate-crashed her way on to the Sydney 2000 Olympic team, had a real crack at the world record – she wasn't going to die wondering.

At the 50 metre mark Jones split was 32.34 seconds – 1.03 under the world record pace of 34.37 when China's Qi Hui clocked 2:22.99 in Hangzhou in April 2001.

The triple Australian champion was 0.82 under Qi's world record split of 1:10.00 at the 100m mark – splitting 1:09.18.

With the crowd sensing the possibility of the first- ever world record at the Australian Age Championships, they started cheering for a young lady who has taken the swimming world by storm over the past two years.

By 150 metres, she had dropped off Qi's pace by 0.56 seconds and by the end of 200m was 2.47 seconds outside.

But Jones' time will come and all going well, that time could well be at this year's Manchester Commonwealth Games.

All in all, there were 12 Australian Age records and two open records broken at what Australian Swimming Inc. president John Devitt described as the best National Age Championships ever.

"We have just witnessed five great days of swimming by a future generation of swimmers who I'm sure will lead Australia internationally for many years to come," said Devitt.

"Congratulations to the swimmers, coaches, clubs and parents for one of the most exciting National Age meets I can remember."

The records kept tumbling tonight, with Queensland's Craig McLennan from the small mining town of Blackwater, 280km west of Rockhampton, erasing Ian Thorpe's name from the record books in the 14 years 100m freestyle.

McLennan won his first gold medal of the meet, but a memorable one at that, clocking 52.44 – to take 0.05 off Thorpe's 1997 Australian 14 years age record.

A swimmer who has also lowered Thorpe's age records along his path to swimming glory this year, Nic Donald, set another Australian mark when he won his sixth gold medal of the meet tonight.

Donald clipped 0.27 off a 13-year-old record established by Jason Rowsell of Waterlions back in 1989.

It capped off a marvelous meet for the 13-year-old from East Maitland who earlier in the meet established two Australian marks in the 50 and 100m freestyle.

After five days the Shannon Rollason coached Chandler Club with his group of – talented teens – Jodie Henry, Alice Mills, Cassie Hunt, Nadine Loof, Clair Barrett, Tegan Wilkie and Melanie Houghton, were easily the top team.

Of 220 clubs who earned points here are the top 20:

Chandler (Qld) 1,047 pts
Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton (Qld) 958
West Coast (WA) 875
City of Perth (WA) 763
Commercial (Qld) 690.50
Brothers (Qld) 656
United (NSW) 615
SLCAquadot (NSW) 560
Mackay (Qld) 539
Wilkinson (NSW) 531.50
Norwood (SA) 504
Albany Creek (Qld) 499.50
Fremantle Port (WA) 459
Southern Bay Swimming (Vic) 441.50
Yeronga Park (Qld) 416
Swan Hills (WA) 363
Toongabbie (NSW) 349
Macquarie Fields (NSW) 335
River City (Qld) 312
Gosford Stingrays (NSW) 311


Age: 14 years and under
Coach: Shannon Rollason

GOLD (5)
200m IM 2:17.44
50m freestyle 26.06
100m freestyle 56.32
200m freestyle 2:03.01
4×50 freestyle 1:42.30

100m butterfly 1:01.41
4x50m medley

400m freestyle 4:23.77

Age Group: 17-18 years
Coach: Shannon Rollason

GOLD (4)

50m freestyle 25.64 (PB, second fastest by Australian)
100m freestyle 56.16
200m freestyle 2:02.64
4x50m freestyle 1:42.30

LEISEL JONES (Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton, QLD)
Age Group: 16 years
Coach: Ken Wood

GOLD (4)

100m breaststroke 1:07.33 (Aust rec. also Aust rec 50m breaststroke 31.66s)
200 IM 2:16 (PB)
200m breaststroke 2:25.46 (equals PB)

Age Group: 13 years and under
Coach: Bob Lawson

GOLD (6)

50m freestyle 25.96
100m freestyle 55.17
200m freestyle 1:57.82 (Aust. Rec)
400m freestyle 4:09.84
100m butterfly 59.32 (Aust. Rec)
200m butterfly 2:09.19

NIC SPRENGER (Commercial, Qld)
Age Group: 16 years and under
Coach: Michael Bohl

GOLD (4)
100m freestyle 52.21
200m freestyle 1:51.32
400m freestyle 3:58.14
100m butterfly 56.34

200IM 2:08.74

Age group: 16 years
Coach:Bernie Mulroy

GOLD (5)
200m IM 2:06.66
100m breaststroke 1:05.50
200m breaststroke 2:22.21
200m butterfly 2:04.13
1500m freestyle 15:45.29

400m freestyle
400m IM
200m freestyle

JESSICAH SCHIPPER (Redcliffe Leagues Lawnton, QLD)
Age group: 15 years and under
Coach: Ken Wood

GOLD (4)
10m butterfly 1:01.24
200m butterfly 2:15.85
400m freestyle 4:19.57
4x50m medley

ANDREW LAUTERSTEIN (Southern Bay, Victoria)
Age Group: 14 years
Coach: Glenn Baker

GOLD (4)
50m freestyle 24.16 (ties Aust Rec)
100m butterfly 56.86 (Aust. Rec)
100m backstroke 1:00.24
4x50m freestyle

200m butterfly 2:09.72
200 IM 2:14.97
100m freestyle

Age group: 14 years
Coach: Brian Wilkinson

GOLD (4)
50m freestyle 26.51
100m freestyle 57.24
200m freestyle 2:03.29
400m freestyle 4:20.85

CRAIG McLENNAN (Blackwater, Qld)
Age Group: 14 years

GOLD (1)
100m freestyle 52.44 (Australian rec. Australian all-comers record)

50m freestyle 24.58
200m freestyle 1:58.11

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