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Aussie Youth On The March

Jan 17, 2013

Four Australian Youth Olympic Festival  (AYOF) records were broken during the heats on day one of the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre.  

SOPAC’s Amelia Gould provided the Games first highlight in the pool, moving through to tonight’s final as the fastest qualifier after setting a new AYOF record in the Women’s 200m Freestyle.  The 17 year-olds time of 2:00.34 eclipsed the old mark of 2:00.53 set by Yi Tang of China in 2007.  Gould will face stiff competition from Japan’s Tsuzumi Hasegawa (2:01.91) and Australian Green teammate Sophie Taylor (2:02.51) who qualified second and third respectively. 

The Men's 200m Freestyle saw Kokoda’s Regan Leong touch the wall in a new AYOF record time of 1:50.76.   Victorian duo Mack Horton (1:52.19) and Alexander Graham (1:52.52) also moved through and will challenge for a podium finish along with Hungary’s Benjamin Gratz (1:51.69) and Brazil’s Luiz Lopes Melo (1:51.79).

Melbourne Vicentre’s Hayley Baker continued the morning’s trend when she shattered the AYOF record in the Women’s 100m Backstroke.   Baker was clinical in posting a 1:01.86 and will look to go quicker in tonight’s final.  Australia Gold’s Lauren Rettie (1:03.32) and Caitlyn Richardson (1:04.40) will also line up in tonight’s final. 

Takeshi Kawamoto of Japan gave an incredible performance in the Men's 100m backstroke, maintaining a strong lead before breaking the AYOF record of 56.41 set in 2003 by Matt Grevers of the USA with his time of 55.04. Grevers has since gone on to win gold in the 100m Backstroke in a world record-breaking time at the London 2012 Olympics.

In other events Japan’s Masato Sakai (2:00.56) and Ryo Fujimoto (2:01.83) will occupy lanes four and five in tonight’s final with Australia Green’s Mitchell Pratt (2:03.17) the third fastest qualifier. 

Four Australians moved through to the Women's 200m Butterfly final: Madeleine Groves, Alanna Bowles, Meg Bailey and Megan Gianotti.

Thirty-six of Australia’s best young swimmers will compete at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney; a meet that has proven to be a strong pathway to Olympic selection.

Last held in January 2009, six swimmers from that team in Mitchell Larkin, James Roberts, Daniel Tranter, Jessica Ashwood, Bronte Campbell and Leiston Pickett went on to represent Australia at the London Olympics last year.

The competition sees swimmers aged between 13 and 17 compete against the likes of China, New Zealand, Brazil, Hungary, Canada, Japan and a combined Oceania team.  The Australian team is broken into two groups; Australian Green and Australia Gold. 

Courtesy of Swimming Australia