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Hosts Dominate At AYOF In Sydney

Jan 19, 2013

It was another thrilling night at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre with Friday’s finals producing five new Australian Youth Olympic Festival records, and fourteen medals for Australia.

Australia Gold’s Jemma Schlicht began the night in fine fashion, taking home gold in the Women’s 100m Freestyle with an AYOF record-breaking swim of 55.94 seconds.

Melbourne born Schlict has now solidified herself as a contender for both the 2014 Youth Olympics in Nanjing, China, and the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. “That’s (Rio) the goal,” Schlict said after her impressive win. “I’ll just keep training hard and see what happens.” Schlicht was joined on the dais by Alexandra Purcell (56.02) and Celeste Astorino (56.52).

Australia Gold’s Men’s 4x200m Freestyle team was also superb, smashing the existing AYOF record with an incredible time of 7:27.69. Australia Gold anchor Luke Percy held onto the lead setup by teammates Damian Fyfe, Regan Leong and Jack McLoughlin to hold off Australia Green's fast finishing Mark Horton. 

Australia Gold coach Glenn Beringen was impressed with how his swimmers embraced the race and believed their performance was the highlight of the night

“What we are trying to engender in these young swimmers is a sense of team, importance of swimming for their team and their country.” 

“Our guys lifted from their individual events and it was pleasing to see them perform well in the relay; so it was a standout from my point of veiw,” said Beringen.       

In other events…

Men’s 100m Freestyle

Alexander Graham kept up his record-breaking streak, managing to beat his own AYOF record set in the morning’s heats. It was always going to be a close clash with fellow Australian Regan Leong who won the 200m Freestyle on Thursday night.

Graham prevailed in the two-lap sprint taking gold with a time of 50.07 to improve his record by 0.10. Rounding out the Australian filled podium was Melbourne Vicentre’s Mack Horton.

Women’s 100m Breaststroke

Coming off an AYOF record in her heat, Victorian Jenna Strauch won gold in the final of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke. Strauch and Australia Gold’s Jessica Hansen were locked in a fierce battle with the 15 year-old storming home to take victory in 1:09.01 over Hansen (1:09.07). Hungary’s Dalma Sebestyen took bronze in 1:10.21.

Men’s 400m Individual Medley

Japan’s Ryo Fujimoto was dominant in victory. During the backstroke leg he established a huge lead and only increased his margin through the breaststroke and freestyle legs to post a 4:21.61. Bradlee Ashby (4:27.31) of New Zealand was six seconds back in second with Canadian Evan White third.  (4:27.63). 

Women’s 400m Individual Medley

Japan’s Yui Ohashi was pleasantly surprised when she set a new AYOF record surpassing countrywomen Miyu Otsuka’s record from the 2009 AYOF. “I didn’t realise I had broken the AYOF record,” Ohashi said. “I just tried to break my own personal best which I did by three seconds which has given me confidence.”

Finishing with a time of 4:43.54 Ohashi held the lead from the backstroke leg bringing it home to win gold.

Canada’s Sydney Pickrem, in her second final of the night, took silver with a time of 4:44.05 and Japan’s Wakaba Tsuyuuchi picked up bronze in 4:44.09. 

Women’s 4x 200metre Freestyle Relay

Japan came out on top of both Australia Green and Australia Gold in the women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay to finish in 3:42.81. 

Courtesy of Swimming Australia