Life’s A Beach Now for Rising Swim Star Sam Short – But First A 1500m Freestyle To Finish The Australian Age Campaign

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GOING THE DISTANCE: Sam Short racks up another gold in the 400m freestyle. Photo courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Rackley’s rising swim star Sam Short is revelling in going the distance – winning the 400m freestyle on the second to last night of action at the 2021 Australian Age Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast.

The 17-year-old, who two nights ago broke a 30 year-old Kieren Perkins Australian All-Comers Age record in the 800m freestyle (7:52.18), also won the 200m (1:47.69) freestyle title at the start of the meet. In the 400 free, Short took a whopping five seconds off his personal best time to clock 3:47.52 (54.33; 1:51.72; 2:49.80 – his 100m splits 54.33; 57.39; 58.08 and 57.72)– putting him temporarily into the top eight in the world.

Short swam away with the win, with St Peters Western’s Joshua Staples steaming home for silver in 3:55.33 while  Short’s Rackley teammate George Williamson won the bronze in 4:03.98.

Short will contest his fourth and final race, the 1500m freestyle, on Monday night, capping off the rewarding week long campaign that will now see him step up for June’s Olympic Trials in Adelaide.

While the big boys, like Olympic champion Mack Horton, Elijah Winnington, Jack McLoughlin and his Rackley team mate and training partner, four-time Fina World Junior medallist, Tommy Neill, line up in the Australian Open Championships, starting Wednesday – Short is off to the beach.

Not that he’s going to sit under an umbrella, put his feet up and take a well deserved rest – the multi-talented 17-year-old surf lifesaver will turn to his other love – the surf.


SURF BREAK: Sam Short in his beloved Maroochydore surf cap worn proudly by his father Danny and uncle Stephen and he’ll be out to follow in their footsteps. Photo Courtesy: Harvpix.

Short will swap his Speedo swimming cap for the blue and white Maroochydore Surf Life Saving cap at the prestigious Australian Surf Life Saving Championship “The Aussies” at his home beach on the Sunshine Coast.

There he will join his mates Matthew Magnussen (who was second in a frantic finish in the 200m butterfly tonight), Australian open water star Hayden Cotter and ironman and former Under 15 Australian surf race champion Matt Palmer in a string of surf races and teams events, including the blue ribband Open Surf Race, Under 19 surf race, Open Surf Teams, Taplin Relay and the 2km ocean swim – all in all a total of 11 races.

He will get the chance to emulate the feats of his father Danny Short and uncle Stephen Short – who are very much surf lifesaving royalty at Maroocydore – winning countless “Aussies” gold medals in Taplin, surf teams, R and R, Board rescue, board relay events with Stephen the last man to beat 10 time Aussies surf race winner and dual open water Olympian “The King”Ky Hurst in an Australian open surf race in 2000.

It will then it will be off to Townsville with the Rackley and Bond University swim squads for a two week training camp to lay the foundations for a tilt at the Olympic Trials.

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TEAM RACKLEY: Damien Jones (Head Coach Centenary), Louis Townsend, Carla Buchanan, Bronte Job, Thomas Neill, Shaun Crow (Hibiscus coach) Photo Courtesy: Stephen Holland.

“With the decision by Australia not to attend the World Junior Championships and for a National Teams Event to replace that in Australia in August, it opens the door for Sam to join our squad for the Olympic Trials,” said Rackley Head Coach at Centenary Pool, Damien Jones.

“It will give him a real insight into what it’s going to be like to go through that process of preparing for a meet that only comes around every four years and no matter what happens it will be a perfect opportunity knowing that he will also have to prepare for a National Teams event later in the year regardless.

“Sam has done a great job at the Age Championships – he’s a hard trainer and loves to race – and he’s showing no fear at the moment.

“I’ll be interested to see what he can come up with in the 1500m freestyle on the final night.”


PERFECT DAY: Hayley Mackinder – Australian Record and a gold medal in one day. Photo Courtesy: Tristan Croll (Swimming Australia).

Meanwhile in other results on the Gold Coast tonight and after breaking a 26-year-old Australian Age Record in her heat this morning, Geelong (VIC) Hayley Mackinder capped off “a perfect day” by taking the gold in the Girls 13-years 100m breaststroke.

Posting a scorching time of 1:11.66 in the heats, Mackinder’s time broke former World Short Course champion Kirsty Ellem’s National record of 1:12.10, set in 1995.

Keeping the pace during the final, Mackinder went oh so close to bettering her time again – clocking 1:11.67 to secure her first Age title.

Meghan Guthrie-Quinn (Acqua Rosa Clayfield, QLD) won the silver in 1:14.91 and Holly Hembling (Bond, QLD) the bronze in 1:14.94.

Speaking after the race an elated Mackinder said: “It feels pretty amazing. I didn’t know I had broken it until I looked at the board this morning.

“I went out harder and did a personal best for my 50m breaststroke tonight. So I’m just going to take that – I got gold so I’m really happy.

“I’m so lucky to have my coaches with me, they’re the best coaches I could ask for and I’m really lucky to have people cheering me on.

“I couldn’t do anything without my parents, they work hard to get me there in the mornings, my sister as well.”

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BELLA’S BREASTSTROKE GOLD: Bella Zhang (Knox Pymble) has plenty to celebrate. Photo Courtesy: Tristan Croll (Swimming Australia).

Bella Zhang (Knox Pymble) went bang from lane six in the Girls 15-years 200m breaststroke to collect her first medal of the championships.

Going head-to-head with Epping’s Isabella Johnson, Zhang willed herself to the line to take the spoils in 2:37.09 – just three one hundredths of a second in front of Johnson (2:37.12). Mia Feltham (Griffith University) took bronze in 2:38.60.

Exploding from lane zero in the first event of the night, Rackley’s Isaac Cooper stunned the field in the Boys 17-years 200m backstroke to ambush the field and take his third gold medal in a time 2:03.17.

Smashing the time of 2:09.94 swum to sneak into the final.

Cooper captured the title ahead of Nudgee College’s Matthew Magnussen (2:03.61) and Knox Pymble’s Tyler Krenkels (2:04.13).

Young local swimmer, Palm Beach Currumbin’s Julia Remington, took out the Girls 13-years 400m freestyle from lane two in 4:27.58, adding another title to the 200m breaststroke she won on Wednesday night.

Remington had tough competition from Warringah Aquatic’s Zara Kasprowicz and Griffith University’s Piper Asquith who placed second and third respectively in 4:29.57 and 4:30.35.

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GOLD PLATED: No stopping Bond’s Flynn Southam.  Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Once again demonstrating his dominance in the pool, Flynn Southam (Bond University) collected his fifth gold medal at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre – dominating this time in the boys 15-years 200m freestyle.

Swimming from the middle lane, no one could catch the powerful Bond athlete who posted 1:49.66. Karl Albertyn (Knox Pymble) finished second in 1:53.82 while St Peters Western’s Jye Bennion on bronze in 1:54.79.

There was a blanket finish to the girls 15-years 200m freestyle, with Amelia Weber (St Peters Western), Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar, NSW), Abbey Connor (Revesby Workers) and Sophie Martin (Brisbane Grammar) ensuring they had the crowd in full voice as they made the turn for the final lap.

Swimming stroke-for-stroke in lanes three, four, five and six the quartet were pushed for the podium. In the end Weber (2:03.32), Grant (2:03.45) and Connor (2:03.93) did enough on the touch to collect their medals – with just over half-a-second between them.

Meanwhile Ainsley Trotter (St Peters Western) won the girls 13 years 50m freestyle, clocking 26.83 to achieve gold and her third title of the competition.

In a hotly contested sprint to the finish, only the barest margin separated Warringah Aquatic teammates Hannah Morton and Zara Kasprowicz – the girls clocking times of 27.14 and 27.15 respectively.

In a first for the meet, Nunawading landed the trifecta in the boys 16-years 200m individual medley, as William Petric (2:03.41), Evan Chee (2:07.23) and Yanning Zhang (2:07.91) sharing the podium for Victoria’s top club.

The night concluded with a host of speedy relay events, access the results here.

The final day of action continues tomorrow at 9am (local time). You can catch every race live from the Gold Coast Swimming & Aquatic Centre on Amazon Prime Video or via SwimTV.

 More results from night seven:

Girls 14-years 100m Backstroke
Gold – Jaclyn Barclay, St Peters Western, 1:01.69
Silver – Sally Vagg, Rocky City, 1:03.37
Bronze – Inez Miller, St Hildas, WA, 1:04.23

Boys 14-years 100m Backstroke
Gold – Hayden Hoang, MLC Marlins, 58.61
Silver – Nicholas Gladen, Macquarie Uni, 1:00.23
Bronze – Yaroslav, Zharkov, Chandler, 1:00.88

Girls 16-years 100m Butterfly
Gold – Elizabeth Dekkers, Newmarket Racers, 59.66
Silver – Ella Ramsay, St Peters Western, 1:00.21
Bronze – Isabella Martin, Brisbane Grammar, 1:01.35

Boys 16-years 100m Butterfly
Gold – Jesse Coleman, Bond, 53.83
Silver – Daniel McLoughlin, Kincumber Pacific, 55.17
Bronze – Fergus McLachlan, Norwood, 55.22

Girls 14-years 400m Individual Medley
Gold – Taryn Roberts, Rocky City, 4:49.07
Silver – Haylee Reid, Helensvale, 5:03.80
Bronze – Talika Irvine, Bay & Basin, 5:04.97

Boys 14-year 400m Individual Medley
Gold – Samuel Higgs, Warringah Aquatic, 4:39.33
Silver – Brayden Woodford, Wests Illawarra, 4:48.57
Bronze – Albert Damin An, TAS Swimming, 4:52.45

Boys 15-years 200m Breaststroke
Gold – Gideon Burnes, Palm Beach Currumbin, 2:21.86
Silver – Ryan Cothill, EC Waves, 2:25.17
Bronze – Stewart Mitchell, Surrey Park, 2:25.31

Girls 16-years 200m Individual Medley
Gold – Ella Ramsay, St Peters Western, 2:15.76
Silver – Tiana Kritzinger, Nudgee College, 2:18.18  
Bronze – Elizabeth Dekkers, Newmarket Racers, 2:18.58

Boys 14-years 800m Freestyle
Gold – Ike Martinez, TAS Swimming, 8:25.75
Silver – Xavier Metcalfe, Fraser Coast, 8:48.50
Bronze – Kieran Lees, Uni of Queensland, 8:51.87

Boys 15-years 800m Freestyle
Gold – Anders McAlpine, Chandler, 8:18.48
Silver – Clancy Luscombe, Marion, 8:26.48
Bronze – Jye Bennion, St Peters Western, 8:32.02