Aussie gold Rush at Youth Games

By Ian Hanson

EDINBURGH, Scotland. August 12. AUSTRALIAN Swimming has unearthed another breaststroke find in 15-year-old Brisbane schoolgirl, Kelli Waite, who stormed up the world and national rankings with her gold medal performance on day one of the Millennium Commonwealth Youth Games in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Waite, from the Yeronga Park Swimming Club, clocked a personal best time of 2:28.81 (35:02; 1:13.16; 1:51.34) to take four seconds off her previous best time. The performance rocketed her to seventh on the all-time Australian open rankings and moved her from 46th in the world to 18th on the latest world rankings.

The six Australians who sit in front of Waite at the moment are:
Rebecca Brown (2:24.76)
Samantha Riley (2:24.81)
Leisel Jones (2:26.59)
Caroline Hildreth (2:27.69)
Nadine Newmann (2:28.34)
Kristy Ellem (2:28.44)

It has certainly been a year of breaststroke resurgence in the women's ranks for Australia, with the arrival of Redcliffe wonder-kid Leisel Jones, who has swum her way from National Age level onto the Olympic team.

Waite actually finished eighth in the Olympic trials in the 200m breaststroke, but her swim at the QE II Pool in Edinburgh, would have seen her finish third behind Olympians Caroline Hildreth and Rebecca Brown and ahead of Jones.

Her "back-end" or second 100m was outstanding with a split of 1:15.65 – compared to her opening 100 metre split of 1:13.16 and she actually defeated her nearest rivals by eight and nine seconds respectively.

The young Australian girl's victory was one of seven by the talented 14-strong team of Dolphins, who dominated the 11-event day-one program, winning seven gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

Josh Krogh had a busy night, after winning the 400m individual medley, did not have time to collect his gold medal, having to rush off to contest the 200m freestyle, where he won bronze.

The final individual event of the night saw a stroke for stroke battle between Australia's Katie Canning and Nathalie Brown from England with Canning, the Australian Age champion, and one of three Miami swimmers on the team, snatch the gold in 8:49.27 to Brown's 8:49.36.

Other countries represented in the swimming events are: England, Scotland, South Africa, Northern Ireland and Zimbabwe.

Australian head coach Ron McKeon was happy with the day's results, saying: "Australia went into the first day's competition with seven number one rankings and came away with seven gold medals, but we felt that two got away on us. That was compensated by some good personal best times."

Here is the Australian medal tally after day one:

Kelli Waite (Yeronga Park, Qld) 200m breaststroke 2:28.81
Josh Krogh (Redcliffe Leagues, Qld) 400m individal medley 4:31.14
Mark Riley (Commercial Qld) 200m breaststroke 2:19.75
Alissa Searston (East Maitland, NSW) 400m individual medley 4:52.77
Katie Canning (Miami, Qld) 800m freestyle 8:49.27
Australia Mens 4x100m freestyle relay 3:27.89
Australia Womens 4x100m freestyle relay 3:51.36

Leigh McBean (Miami Qld) 100m backstroke 57.98
Kate Krywulyz (Aquadot Leisure Centre) 200m freestyle 2:02.89

Josh Krogh (Redcliffe Leagues, Qld) 200m freestyle 1:55.27
Alissa Searston (East Maitland, NSW) 100m backstroke 1:05.34

The overall swimming medal standings (after day one)


AUS 7 2 2
ENG 2 6 3
RSA 2 3 5
SCO – – 1