Haig Buckingham The Latest Blue Mountains Breaststroke Prodigy On The Rise At NSW Senior States

BUCKINGHAM'S PALACE: SOPAC's Blue Mountains teenager Haig Buckingham right at home in swimming's fast lane. Photo courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Haig Buckingham The Latest Blue Mountains Breaststroke Prodigy On The Rise At NSW Senior States

Another boy from Sydney’s Blue Mountains is making record-breaking waves in Australia’s breaststroking ranks after the first four days of the 2022 NSW Senior State Age Championships at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre (SOPAC).

Haig Buckingham Swimmer of Meet Wrap Article

HAIG’S TOP SWIM AWARD: Haig Buckingham named Swimmer of the Night on Day one of NSW Senior States. Photo Courtesy:Chloe Osborn Click-Clo Photography

Katoomba’s National Age champion Haig Buckingham, is following in the footsteps of fellow Blue Mountains swim star, Tokyo Olympian and former world record holder Matt Wilson.

The 17-year-old yesterday twice lowered his own NSW 17 years Age and All-Comers records in the 50m breaststroke taking it from 28.25 to 28.13 in the heats and 27.96 in last night’s final.

Buckingham, who trains at SOPAC under coach Matt Brown, burst onto the scene at last year’s National Age, winning two gold medals in the 16 years 100 and 200m breaststroke – and lowering Wilson’s mark in the 100m to 1:02.08

And as the competition hots up towards this year’s Commonwealth Games, Buckingham joins Australia’s emerging talent stream, already starting to show its wares.

Buckingham wasted no time staking an early claim, winning the 100m breaststroke in a personal best time of 1:01.33 to take out the Speedo Swimmer of the Night on the opening day of the Championships – a time that moved him from 13th to 9th on the 2021 rankings list.

All eyes were on Buckingham as he took a confident lead just before the 50m mark, confidently executing his race and getting his hand on the wall to clock a personal best and the gold medal.

Former NSW swimmer Joshua Collett (now at Bond University on the Gold Coast under coach Chris Mooney) made Matt Wilson work for the win, challenging him for the title throughout the 18 years event.

Wilson, under Adam Kable at SOPAC, who has only been back in training for six weeks after an extended break following his Tokyo campaign, dug deep claiming the older age group in 1:02.20, ahead of Collett in 1:02.80.

His 27.96 in last night’s 50m final is the equal third fastest time swum in Australia over the past 12 months, bettered only by Olympians Wilson (27.55) and Jake Packard (27.96).

“We’ve seen some very impressive swimming from Haig at this meet and to see him break that record in the heats session and again in the final certainly showed he’s got some speed that’s for sure,” said Swimming NSW Coaching Director Jon Shaw.

“His 100m was also outstanding and he showed he means business this year and he may well be a dark horse come Commonwealth Games Trials – knowing full well he has to get that 100 under the minute mark.

“But he has shown what he is capable of after swimming so well at last year’s National Age – there must be something in that rarified air in the Blue Mountains.”

Another stand-out has been Night Two Swimmer of the Night, Olivia Wunsch (Carlile) who came to this meet to leave her mark – and she wasted no time in confirming her goal.

Not even a car accident, which left her uninjured, could stop her in last night’s 400IM final.

“The car was written off but thankfully no one was hurt,” said Shaw “and Olivia jumped up and won the 400IM –one tough kid.”

Wunsch is coached by former Head Age Group coach at Brisbane’s Nudgee College, Michaela Pattinson, recruited into Sydney by newly appointed Carlile High Performance Head Coach Chris Nesbit.

Pattinson has a proven track record of developing young novice swimmers into elite athletes and motivating them to consistently reach their goals. Michaela coached the Nudgee team to be GPS champions over the last three years, and has developed multiple National gold medallists during her career.

In recognition of her efforts and performance, Michaela was awarded the Swimming Queensland Paulus Wildeboer Scholarship in 2018 and invited to be the Queensland Head Coach of the male squad in 2020.

Earlier in the meet Wunsch, the National Age silver medallist over 200 IM and 100m freestyle claimed victory from lane three in the women’s 15 Years 100m breaststroke in 1:15.31 after securing the 15 years 400m freestyle earlier in the evening in 4:18.82 and then later the 50m freestyle in 25.59 – just 0.4 seconds outside the NSW Record held by decorated Olympian Emma McKeon – who won the coveted 50/100m freestyle double amongst her seven record haul.

In the 100m freestyle final, the following night, Wunsch powered down lane four and was first out of the turn in 26.58, propelling herself out in front of her competitors with Dijana Mazumdar (Barker Aquatic) right on her heels.

Wunsch’s confident and measured swim delivered her a convincing win in a personal best of 55.13 – just 0.25 outside the NSW Record time (54.88).

Mazumdar (secured second place in 57.44, with Mia Fildissis (PLC Sydney) claiming third place from lane six in 57.56.

The 400IM was her fifth gold medal of the meet in 5:00.98, winning from Talika Irvine (Bay & Basin) 5:06.25 and Gem Crittenden (Hunter) 5:13.32.

Additional reporting courtesy Swimming NSW




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3 months ago

“Buckingham, who trains at SOPAC under coach Matt Brown, burst onto the scene at last year’s National Age, winning two gold medals in the 16 years 100 and 200m breaststroke – and lowering Wilson’s mark in the 100m to 1:02.08”

I thought Petric won the 200 breast.

Lia T
3 months ago
Reply to  Troyy

Troyy – stay calm, but you are correct. The journo isn’t renowned for reporting correctly. He often just writes about his boys club ‘mates’, and frequently neglects the really decent performances.

3 months ago

The article is a bit confusing to follow… the narrative keeps jumping between different swimmers in the same paragraph .. don’t know who’s this subject matter anymore ??

Nevertheless it would be good for Australia to have more male breastrokers challenging each other domestically, that’s what works best