Sam’s Coming Of Age In The 1500 Metres As Tokyo Trials Loom Large For Aussie Young Gun

Sam Short 1
GOLDEN AGE: Rackley's Sam Short adds the 1500m to his pocket full of gold. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).


Emerging young Queensland distance swimmer Sam Short has tonight slashed almost 20 seconds off his 1500m freestyle personal best time to surface from this week’s 2021 Australian Age Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast with a change of plans that could change his life.

The 17-year-old gave the 15 minute barrier a real nudge, stopping the clock at 15 minutes 02.48 seconds – dropping 18.57 seconds off his previous best time of 15:21.05 set in December 2020 at the Queensland State Championships.

And under normal circumstances he would have been named on the Australian Junior Swim Team to contest the Fina World Junior Championships in China later this year but normalcy has long left the building.

Swimming Australia’s decision to withdraw from the World Junior meet means a chance to wear the green cap will have to wait.

But one door closes and another one opens for the boy from the Rackley Swim Team in Brisbane.

Instead of preparing for his first World Championships he will now turn his attentions to July’s Olympic Swimming Trials in Adelaide with his coach at Rackley’s Centenary, Damien Jones saying to his young charge “we’ve got nothing to lose kid….let’s have a crack.”

And judging by the way Sam Short attacks his races he’ll give the Trials a crack alright.

Short was on track to become only the 10th Australian to break 15 minutes for 1500m until he dropped off his even splitting ever so slightly, three quarters of the way through the race, adding up to a two second difference, despite his final 100m split of 59.14.

You get the impression that young Sam, joining his Rackley club mate Thomas Neil on the 1500m trail after he clocked 14:59.19 to finish second in the Fina World Junior Championships, in Budapest in 2019.

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MAKING A SPLASH: Sam Short finished the National Age with four gold medals in the 200, 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle. Photo Courtesy:Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

And young Sam will have a extra spring in his steps when he gets off the plane in Townsville next week.

Coach Jones now has a serious two-pronged attack with 18-year-old Neill and 17-year-old Short when he settles into his squad’s Olympic Trials preparation.

Jones will take his Trials team to Townsville next week at the conclusion of the Australian Open Championships which begin on the Gold Coast on Wednesday evening with the first of four evening heats sessions.

Short added the 1500m title to his wins in the 200m freestyle (1:47.69); 400m freestyle (3:47.52) and the 800m freestyle (7:52.18) when he broke Kieren Perkins 30 tear old Australian 17 Years All-Comers record.

And there has been a steady road to improvement for Short.

At the last Australian Age Championships in April   of 2019 Short arrived with a time of 15:44.00 and left with a 15.33.70.

Then at the Queensland State Open Championships in December 2020, Short took his 15:33.70 into the Sleeman Aquatic Centre and again made a drop of 12 seconds to touch he wall in 15:21.05 – the time he took into these 2021 Age titles.

In July in Adelaide Sam Short will take his 15:02.48 into his first Olympic Trials knowing full well the Olympic Qualifying time for Tokyo is 14:55.06 and a realistic goal to aim for.

The intensive 10-day training camp that is treading the same road trodden over 60 years ago as Murray Rose, John Konrads and Bob Windle all headed north to Townsville with the Olympic swim teams of 1956, 1960 and 1964 – all returning home with Olympic gold medals.

And tonight’s 1500m victory was a fitting finale to a Age Group career for Sam Short which Olympian Meagen Nay described in commentary on Amazon Prime as Sam Short’s “coming of age…..”

Here are Sam Short’s splits:


1:55.82 (59.58);

2:55.40 (59.98);

3:55.41 (1:00.30);

4:55.43 (1:00.30);

5:55.87 (1:00.16);

6:56.26 (1:00.39);

7:56.83 (1:00.57);

8:57.52 (1:00.69);

9:58.52 (1:01.00);

10.59.48 (1:00.96);

12:00.51 (1:01.03);

13:01.78 (1:01.27);

14:03.34 (1:01.56);

15:02.48 (59.14).



Seven Up For Rocky’s Roberts

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STROKED: Rockhampton’s Taryn Roberts puts on a master class on the Gold Coast Photo Courtesy:Swimming Australia.

Meanwhile Rocky City’s Taryn Roberts amassed an exceptional seven individual gold medals across multiple disciplines during the Championships, adding one more on the final night of competition.

Achieving titles in the girls 14-year-old category for the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle, 200m and 400m individual medley and the 100m breaststroke, Roberts tonight added gold in the 200m breaststroke.

The young star also collected a silver medal in the 200m fly to end the meet with eight medals to her name.

Speaking at the end of the competition, Roberts – who was a little lost for words after her successful meet – said she thoroughly enjoyed her first Age Championships.

“It was really cool, a little bit different to what I’ve experienced but it was fun….I didn’t know I’d do so well but it was cool to do personal bests in all my events and my coach was pretty happy,” said the Rockhampton schoolgirl.

“I had my mum here and friends in the crowd cheering me on which was great.”

Nudgee’s Tiana Kritzinger Goes The Distance

(Nudgee College) once again showed her class on the final night of the competition, going the distance in the Girls 16-years 800m freestyle.

Recording a time of 8:40.26 to claim the gold, the athlete now boasts titles in both the 1500m and 800m events. Cotton Tree’s Jamie Perkins and Griffith University’s Lucinda Macleod went head-to-head for silver and bronze, with the duo posting 8:43.12 and 8:43.23 respectively to round out the podium.

Kritzinger said she was delighted with the result.

“I knew it was going to be a tough race, so I knew I just had to work on my processes and descending each 200m – I was really happy with the outcome,” Kritzinger said.

“I’ve never medalled in all my races at Nationals so I’m really happy. I’ve got a 50m breaststroke later in the relays to finish off the night so that’s a bit of fun I’m looking forward to that.”

In a thrilling finish to the Boys 16-years 200m Backstroke, Norwood’s Fergus McLachlan flew from lane zero to nab victory in 2:05.21 – and after claiming the 100m title on night five, McLachlan now boasts the double. With 25 metres to go it was anybody’s race, but the young South Australian continued to push, taking the gold ahead of Nunawading’s Yanning Zhang (2:06.17) and Callum Thomas (2:06.31) from Loreto Normanhurst.

Marcus and Martinez Lock Horns over 200 free

In stark contrast to his name, Marcus Da Silva (City of Sydney) won the gold in the Boys 14-years 200m Freestyle. Clocking 1:56.23, narrowly out-touching TAS Swimming’s Ike Martinez (1:56.33) from Cairns and MCA QLD’s Leigh James (1:57.79).

Julia Kater said see you later to her opponents in the Girls 15-years 200m Individual Medley to capture her second gold medal of the meet. Powering home in 2:19.10, the St Hilda’s Aquatic’s (QLD) young gun fought it out against Brisbane Grammar’s Sophie Martin (2:20.02) and Knox Pymble’s Bella Zhang (2:20.37) who placed second and third, respectively.

Knox Pymble’s Karl Albertyn blitzed the field in the Boys 15-years 200m Individual Medley in a time of 2:05.40 to snare the Age title and his second crown of the meet. Leaving his opponents a tough task, Manly’s Joshua Kerr zoomed home for silver in 2:10.60 while Stewart Mitchell from Surrey Park bagged bronze in 2:11.58.

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

St Peters Western topped the point score with 2,836.50, with Knox Pymble coming second with 1,245 and Rackley placing third with a total of 1,215.50 points.

With the Age Championships now complete, the 2021 Australian Swimming Championships begin at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre on Wednesday night, with Australian Dolphins in action.

More results from the final night:

Girls 15-years 800m Freestyle
Gold – Amelia Weber, St Peters Western, 8:56.85
Silver – Molly Walker, SOPAC, 9:06.99
Bronze – Elena Staal, Rackley, 9:20.93

Boys 17-years 200m Butterfly
Gold – Alex Fahey, Rackley, 2:00.62
Silver – Ruan Van Der Riet, UWA West Coast, 2:02.22
Bronze – Lachlan Walker, Alstonville, 2:04.47

Girls 14-years 200m Freestyle
Gold – Hannah Casey, MCA QLD, 2:02.03
Silver – Milla Jansen, Bond, 2:02.80
Bronze – Sally Vagg, Rocky City, 2:03.02

Girls 13-years 100m Backstroke
Gold – Zoe Ammundsen, Rackley, 1:04.84
Silver – Ainsley Trotter, St Peters Western, 1:06.10
Bronze – Matilda Byrnes, Geelong, 1:06.49

Boys 17-years 100m Freestyle
Gold – Kai Taylor, St Peters Western, 49.91
Silver – Maximillian Giuliani, The Hobart Aquatic, 50.36
Bronze – Edward Speller, Melbourne Vicentre, 50.43

Girls 16-years 200m Backstroke
Gold – Madeleine Hardy, Trinity Grammar NSW, 2:14.92
Silver – Anneke Van Zoggel, Epping, 2:19.07
Bronze – Sophie Healy, Norwood, 2:19.32

Girls 15-years 100m Butterfly
Gold – Bella Grant, Trinity Grammar NSW, 1:02.10
Silver – Abbey Connor, Revesby Workers, 1:02.17
Bronze – Julia Kater, St Hilda’s Aquatics QLD, 1:02.81

Boys 15-years 100m Butterfly
Gold – Kai Lilienthal, Knox Pymble, 56.26
Silver – Anders McAlpine, Chandler, 56.36
Bronze – Billy Moody, Singleton, 57.13

Boys 14-years 200m Breaststroke
Gold – Bailey Screen, Willoughby, 2:25.42
Silver – Randal Ingram, Nelson Bay, 2:26.75
Bronze – Albert Damin An, TAS Swimming, 2:30.46

Girls 13-years 400m Individual Medley
Gold – Julia Remington, Palm Beach Currumbin, 5:03.70
Silver – Nicola Vitanza, Chandler, 5:11.99
Bronze – Rafaela Kopellou, Revesby Workers, 5:12.68

Boys 16-years 1500 Freestyle
Gold – Robert Thorpe, St Peters Western, 15:39.26
Silver – Noah Kamprad, The Hobart Aquatic, 15:52.14
Bronze – Benjamin Goedemans, Acacia Bayside, 15:58.23