Australian Age Championships: Fifteen-year-old Sienna Toohey’s 1:07.72 Closes In On Leisel Jones’ 24-Year-Old National Age Record

Sienna Toohey
SIENNA ON THE MOVE: Breaststroking's big improver Sienna Toohey shows her style on the Gold Coast.Photo Courtesy Rebecca Ohlwein (Swimming Australia).

Australian Age Championships: Fifteen-year-old Sienna Toohey’s 1:07.72 Closes In On Leisel Jones’ 24-Year-Old National Age Breaststroke Record

Sienna Toohey, a 15-year-old girl from the NSW country town of Albury, has tonight continued her assault on the 24-year-old 100m breaststroke record set by Olympic legend Leisel Jones in the year 2000 – missing it by a long touch.

The teenage discovery stopped the clock at 1:07.72 – just 0.23secs outside Jones’ Australian 15 years age record of 1:07.49, on the second last night of the 2024 Australian Age Championships at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre at Southport.

Just four swimmers have times faster than Toohey this season – the fastest being Olympic backstroking golden girl  Kaylee McKeown (1:07.01), fellow Olympian Jenna Strauch (1:07.30) and Matilda Smith and Ella Ramsay (1:07.64).

Jones burst onto the scene in a year the Olympics arrived in Australia for the first time in 44 years and it was the start of a brilliant career for the then 15-year-old and a time that kick-started a new golden era in the sport.

GOOD TIMES: Olympia Pope and Sienna Toohey embrace on the Gold Coast. Photo Courtesy Rebecca Ohlwein (Swimming Australia)


Her 1:07.49 was set when the Queensland schoolgirl won Olympic silver on September 18, 2000 behind 16-year-old American star Megan Quann who won the gold in 1:07.05.

Third home that night was the reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, South African Penny Heyns in 1:07.55 – a fair scalp for a youngster who would go on to conquer the world and swim at four Olympics – winning nine medals – three gold, five silver and a bronze.

As does happen with teenage prodigies they improve every time they dive into a pool and like Jones before her – Toohey is on the move – and how – improving five seconds in 12 months over 100m breaststroke.

This time last year Toohey entered the 14years 100m breaststroke at the Australian Age Championships on 1:12.70, clocked 1:11.91 in the preliminary heat and then dropped her best to 1:10.28 to finish with silver behind Olympia Pope from Miami in the final.

Fast forward to February 2024 and the NSW Country Championships and Toohey, coached by NSW coaching legend Wayne Gould, drops a huge pb of 1:08.39.

Then in the heats of the NSW Championships in March at the same Olympic pool where a 15 year-old Jones won that Sydney silver and Toohey lowers her best to 1:08.36 and then improves her time yet again in the final – cracking 1:08 for the first time and entering Jones territory with a 1:07.97.

Then tonight, with Pope, unbeaten in 2022 and 2023 at Age level, alongside her again and Toohey takes off, splits the 50m at 31.58 before her latest best of 1:07.72.

And it was Pope who hung on for her own personal best time of 1:09.07, followed by Nunawading’s Lily Koch with her pb of 1:10.55 after fourth-placed Isabelle Rae, Toohey’s Albury training partner, had also pushed out her best time of 1:10.05 in her heat.

In a week’s time, Toohey and Rae step up to race the nation’s best breaststrokers in the Australian Open Championships on the Gold Coast and they won’t have to look far to see their major opposition.

Toohey has been seeded into lane five in heat two against world championship silver medallist Strauch in lane four and Tokyo medley relay gold medallist Hodges in lane three, with Rae out in lane zero in the fastest heat against Abbey Harkin and Mikayla Smith.

A another chance to improve for the girls from Albury – another chance to turn the clock back to a time when a 15-year-old heralded a golden era for Australian breaststrokers – and another chance to take a leap towards putting Australian breaststroking back on the world stage.


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lewis Gee
lewis Gee
1 month ago


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