Australian Dolphins Next Wave Make A Record Return To Racing in WA and The Gold Coast

WA SC Harrison Farmer
FLYING FARMER: WA's 15-year-old Harrison Farmer (Central Aquatics) shows the style that won him the 200IM and 200m butterfly double. Photo Courtesy Clinton Bradbury (*Bradbury Photography)

Australian swimmers have made a splash on both sides of the country with an exciting weekend return to racing in Perth, WA and on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

After months of hibernation, meet cancellations and hundreds of kilometres in training due to COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions it was finally time to race and over 800 swimmers relished the return and didn’t disappoint – posting some outstanding times along the way and highlighting the “new wave” of talent emerging in the Swimming Australia ranks.

Perth’s HBF Stadium hosted the three-day 2020 Hancock Prospecting Western Australian Open and Age Short Course Championships while the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre at Southport hosted the two-day Welcome Back to Swimming – the 2020 Swimming Gold Coast Championships.

The WA titles attracted over 430 competitors from 35 Clubs with Swimming WA boasting “Australia’s first Championships in the post-COVID-19 world” while the Gold Coast played host to 440 swimmers from 20 clubs and were hot on their heels.

WA SC Adam Sudlow

SUCKING IN THE BIG ONES: Adam Sudlow after his 800m freestyle win in WA. Photo Courtesy: BRADBURY PHOTOGRAPHY

WA swimmers served up a record breaking feast with two of the State’s most exciting talents – the Michael Shaw trained UWA-West Coast team mates 19-year-old Adam Sudlow and 17-year-old Joshua Edwards-Smith lighting up the pool, setting the standards that will see them challenge for higher honours at the Australian Short Course Championships.

While on the Gold Coast it was 21-year-old TSS distance star Maddy Gough, fresh from her Australian record breaking 1500m at the 2020 Speedo Short Course Preparation Meet at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre, last weekend, clocking her second fastest 800m freestyle time while another star-in-the-making 17-year-old Thomas Hauck (All Saints) was non-stop for two days, dominating the men’s events.

The WA weekend saw a staggering 150 records falling with the WA stars standing up and a new wave of talent coming to the party in a big way.

And it was distance swimming’s rising star Sudlow who was the first into action as he took to the water in the men’s 1500m freestyle and another step forward as he led the race from start to finish – touching in 14:55.72. to establish a new the WA Residential Record and WA All-Time Record, which had stood to dual Athens and Beijing Olympian Travis Nederpelt since 2004.

Swimming WA Programme and Events Officer and noted WA swimmer William Rollo was poolside for all the action.

“Adam turned through the 800m mark at 8:02.58, leaving spectators sceptical of a sub-15-minute performance, however the 19-year-old had plenty left up his sleeve as he stormed home to touch in 14:55.72,” said Rollo.

“Up next was Edwards-Smith in the men’s 200m backstroke, who, to no surprise, absolutely crushed his first event of the weekend.

“Turning through the 100m in 54.93, spectators were on the edge of their seats as they knew they were witnessing history in the making.

“Edwards-Smith didn’t take his foot off the pedal in the last 100m and flew home to touch in 1:52.29.”

WA SC Josh Edwards Smith

CAPPING IT OFF: Backstroking phenom Josh Edwards-Smith or J.E.S set the pool alright in Perth. Photo Courtesy: BRADBURY PHOTOGRAPHY

This swim sees Edwards-Smith become the fastest ever Australian Age Grouper in this event and is now the 10th fastest Australian of all time, an incredible feat at just 17 years of age, ahead of Australia’s premier backstroker Mitch Larkin.

Edwards-Smith also added the open 200m freestyle in 1:47.02, just for good measure.



Sudlow went on to add the 200m (18/19 years 1:46.75), the 400m (3:46.62) and the 800m (7:49.22) freestyles while Edwards-Smith was second to 24-year-old team mate and Tokyo Olympic hopeful Zac Incerti in the 100m backstroke – Incerti touching in 51.17 and Edwards-Smith in 52.25.

In an all UWA-West Coast finish, Incerti also won the 100m freestyle in 47.49 ahead of 20-year-old Ashton Brinkworth (48.24) and Edwards-Smith (49.28) while it was Brinkworth (21.88) leading home the first five UWA-West Coast finishers in the 50m freestyle ahead of Incerti (22.43), 22-year-old Alex Milligan (22.71), 18-year-old Cooper Brinkworth (22.85) and Edwards-Smith (23.01).

Continuing the theme of incredible individual achievements, the Harry Clark coached Iona Anderson (Breakers) had an outstanding weekend in the backstroke events, claiming five gold, two silver and two bronze medals.

She also broke the 50m backstroke 14-year-old WA Residential Record in the first leg of the Breakers 4x50m Medley Relay which spurred her team on to claim Silver, just behind Westside Christchurch.

WA Country rising breaststroke prodigy, Finlay Larmour (Peel Aquatic), coached by Patrick Stellino also landed himself well and truly on the radar after dominating the breaststroke events over the weekend.

The highlight was undoubtedly his 100m breaststroke which saw the youngster smash his age group, winning by over six seconds as he finished in 1:01.84. Larmour’s time re-wrote the record books as he took all Country Records as well as the WA All-Time Record and WA Residential Record.

“In addition to the up-and-coming stars, WA’s best and brightest owned the spotlight throughout the weekend with the likes of Mick Palfrey coach Milligan and Incerti joined by Holly Barratt (Rockingham, c: Will Scott, WAIS), Kieren Pollard (North Coast, c: Ian Mills) and Brianna Throssell (UWA-West Coast, c: Michael Palfery, WAIS) all having stellar meets,” said Rollo.

“Incerti, in particular, was in fine form putting his name as one to watch as we approach Tokyo 202One.”


Meanwhile on the Gold Coast it was Maddy Gough who again looked impressive, winning the 800m freestyle in 8:15.88 – just over half-a-second outside her best time with TSS club mate Moesha Johnson second in 8:24.33 with 16-year-old TSS youngster Taylor Butler third in 9:00.79.

With the ever present Chris Nesbit TSS senior team only racing on the opening day before heading to a Sunshine Coast training camp, it was Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and World Championship finalist Kiah Melverton who took the honours in the 200m freestyle in 1:58.72 ahead of Gough (2:00.74) and Commonwealth Games 200m butterfly silver medallist Laura Taylor (2:01.88) third.

In the absence of her higher ranked team mates it was Butler who clocked a personal best time of 4:17.16 to win the 400m freestyle after Melverton (4:44.88) beat Butler (4:56.68) in the 400IM.

GCCTM 200m freestyle

SKY’S THE LIMIT: The Gold Coast welcomed back its swimmers at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on the weekend with a classic early Spring blue sky to celebrate. Photo Courtesy: Karen Meyer (Swimming Gold Coast).

The Ken Sabotic trained Hauck, whose pathway to the top continues at a rate of knots, like Junior Dolphins team mate from WA Edwards-Smith, was the stand out in the men’s events, in a non-stop weekend of races – chalking up wins in the 200m freestyle (1:47.57) ahead of Rio Olympian David Morgan (1:49.42) and Josh Parrish (1:50.23); the 400m freestyle (3:47.80); the 800m freestyle (7:52.09); the 100m (55.17) and 200m backstrokes in 1:57.36 ; and the 200m (1:59.12) and 400m IMs in 4:13.46.

Meanwhile 24-year-old London Olympian Yolane Kukla (Palm Beach Currumbin) won the 50m (25.75) and 100m (56.28) ahead of TSS’ Tanya Stovgaard (25.91) and 56.58, while Stovgaard turned the tables in the 100m butterfly 1:01.58 to 1:01.90.

Swimming Gold Coast secretary Karen Meyer praised the efforts of SGC president Kim Cook and vice president Warren Dopson for their tireless work to ensure the meet went ahead in the strict COVID-19 environment.

Australian Dolphins

MEDLEY ON THE MOVE: The men’s IM field hits the water on the Gold Coast. Photo Courtesy: Karen Meyer (Swimming Gold Coast).


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