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Australia's Prince Chalmers, 14, On 50.8

Apr 10, 2013  - Craig Lord

South Australia has a new swimming prince: 14-year-old Kyle Chalmers took his third Age Group record in as many days at the 2013 Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation national age champs in Adelaide - a 50.86sec 100m free. Yes, the meet is long-course.

Out in 24.61, back in 26.25. So there.

After equalling Te Haumi Maxwell's 100m free record of 52.14 in heats, Chalmers, of Marion, left no doubt about the the magnitude of his potential: he took the final in his first sub-51 sec effort. That may, just possibly, be the fastest ever by a 14-year-old in history, based on a quick scan:

  • Ian Thorpe first cracked 51sec in his 16th year, though by then he was beating then world over 400m. 
  • At 17, Alexander Popov had a best time of 51.88, his first effort inside 52 and ultimately the 112th best time of a soaring career as sprint king of the 1990s. 
  • James Magnussen was in his 18th year when he first broke 51sec with a 50.76 effort
  • The man who pipped Maggie for 100m gold at London 2012, Nathan Adrian (USA), had a best time of 51.81 at 16. 
  • At 17, Michael Phelps clocked a season, lifetime best of 51.98 ( a year later he'd cracked 50).
  • At 17, Anthony Ervin, 2001 world champ, had a season, lifetime best of 51.78.
  • At 16, Pieter Van den Hoogeband, 2000 and 2004 Olympic champion, clocked a best of 50.85

They all had a big journey ahead of them. A big journey awaits Chalmers too.

Having set an age record in the 100m butterfly on the first day at the youth nationals - and racing in his home pool - Chalmers' freestyle blast left him a league ahead of his peers, Springwood NSW swimmer Matthew Wilson second in 52.99, Victorian Caiden Gill taking bronze in 53.57.

Chalmers, the son of former AFL footballer Brett Chalmers, and already in size 15 shoes (2 to catch up with Thorpe but still growing) has not escaped notice Down under, you won't be surprised to learn. Asked on the eve of racing about comparisons to Thorpe, he said that having his name mentioned in that context was "a pretty big thing... a bit daunting ... but all of that is really at the back of my mind, it's all about just going out there and doing my best and having some fun."

Originally from Port Lincoln, he moved to Adelaide in 2011 to train with Norwood Swim Club, but switched to the Marion Swim Club when his coach Peter Bishop moved last month. 

Chalmers will still be 17 come Rio 2016, that the age at which Thorpey took three gold medals at Sydney 2000. Chalmers describes making the Aussie team in 2016 as a realistic goal but nothing comes with a guarantee.

"I've still got a fair bit of training to do and hours to put in at the gym and the pool to be ready, but it's definitely a dream and something I'm working towards," he told reporters this week.

Another setting records at the meet is 17-year-old Alexander Graham: in the boy’s 17/18 years 200m freestyle the clocked 1:47.70, good enough to have put him on the Aussie 4x200 free relay at London 2012. A stiff test then for the seniors he will meet at the EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships later this month.  Kokoda Spirit swimmer Regan Leong clocked 1:50.10 for silver, Isaac Jones 1:50.61 for bronze.

Among girls, Taylor McKeown showed fine form in the 200m breaststroke with a 2:25.90, seventh on the Australian all-time list just ahead of six-times world s/c champion and Olympic medallist Brooke Hanson, those above her including former world record holders Leisel Jones, Rebecca Brown and Samantha Riley.

At that pace, McKeown was in a class of her own in junior waters, Jessica Hansen second in 2:32.03, Carlee Millikin third in 2:35.50.

Courtesy of Swimming Australia, in other events on night three:

Girl’s 14 years 100m Freestyle

Chandler swimmer Shayna Jack has sprinted to victory in the girl’s 14 years 100m freestyle, grabbing gold for the second year in a row and posting a speedy 55.36. Novocastrian Abbey Harkin moved up the rankings to steal the silver in 57.67 ahead of Vivan Zhu a touch behind in 57.92. 

Girl’s 17/18 years 200m Freestyle 

Silver medallist from 2012 Leah Neale will upgrade to gold in the girl’s 17/18 years 200m freestyle touching well ahead of the field to record the only sub-two minute time, Neale stopped the clock at 1:58.97. Sydney Olympic Park swimmer Amelia Gould (2:00.12) secured the silver ahead of Acacia Bayside’s Carla Buchannan (2:01.39). 

Boy’s 15 years 100m Breaststroke

Trinity Grammar swimmer Joshua Simat won his first Australian Age gold medal in the boy’s 15 years 100m breaststroke, out touching Samuel Williamson from Firbank Aquastars.  Simat hit the wall in 1:05.40 with Williamson a shade behind in 1:05.73 with Alex Milligan picking up bronze in 1:06.32.

Girl’s 15 years 100m Breaststroke

Defending champion Georgia Bohl displayed her dominance in the girl’s 15 years 100m breaststroke, maintaining an imposing lead over the field and posting a time three seconds faster than her heat swim. Stopping the clock in an impressive 1:09.34, Bohl may have picked up some tips from fellow club member from last year and breaststroke legend Leisel Jones. The silver medal went to Hannah Witten in 1:13.79 and Nina Baker picked up the bronze with a time of 1:14.43.

Boy’s 14 years 200m Butterfly

TSS Aquatics 14-year-old Cameron Usher continued to swim personal best times to win the boy’s 200m butterfly having now dropped five seconds in the event since the Queensland State Championships in December.  Usher finished in 2:10.00 to just out touch South Australian local Luke Zille (2:10.62) from Lefevre Portside with Jacob Taylor winning bronze in 2:11.50.

Girl’s 14 years 200m Butterfly

History has nearly repeated itself in the girl’s 14 years 200m butterfly with all three medallists from 2012 returning to the podium for the second year in a row. Perth City swimmer Tamsin Cook managed to hang on to her title for another year, hitting the wall in 2:16.45 to take the gold.  While Chelsea Gubecka (2:17.46), who has a gold and silver medal from the meet so far,  moved up the podium and added another silver medal to her haul, switching places with Darian Murray (2:17.97) who will this year take home the bronze. 

Boy’s 16 years 100m Backstroke

Trinity Grammar continued to show the depth in their program with the Matt Brown coached James Traiforos taking out the boy’s 16 years backstroke in 57.12.  The 16-year-old was too good for Cameron Jones (57.77) from St Peters Western with Matthew Pender (57.99) from West Wallsend, NSW taking bronze.

Girl’s 16 years 100m Backstroke

Australian Age Champion in this event from 2012 Lauren Rettie has won back-to-back gold with a win in the girl’s 16 years 100m backstroke final. Rettie was too strong for the rest of the field touching in a time of 1:02.37 a second in front of the joint silver medallists Sabrina Kwok (visitor) in 1:03.88 and Rebecca Booth (1:03.93). Caitlyn Richardson then picked up the bronze with a time of 1:04.18.

Girl’s 12/13 years 800m Freestyle

Kawana Waters swimmer Ellen Masters has picked up her second Australian Age title from the meet so far with a win in the girl’s 12/13 years 800m freestyle final. Laura Taylor (9:14.29) will add a silver medal to her bronze from earlier while Elodie Reid (9:17.16) who finished third, will take home her first medal of the meet.

Boy’s 12/13 years 800m Freestyle

Kawana Waters swimmer Jack Brazier was almost ten seconds quicker than the rest of the field in the boy’s 12/13 years 800m free winning in a time of 8:44.82.  Rhys Jones from Bayside, NSW was second in 8:53.32 while Nathan Robinson won bronze in 8:55.34.

Boy’s 15 years 400m Freestyle

West Australian Damian Fyfe picked up his first gold medal of the meet, after winning silver in the 200m backstroke, with strong finish in the boy’s 15 years 400m freestyle.  A race between four at the 350m mark, the City of Perth swimmer turned fourth only to power home over the last 25m and finish in 3:58.65.  With the top four going under the four minute mark,  Joshua Parrish from TSS Aquatics took silver in 3:58.81, with Mitchell Davenport-Wright picking up bronze in 3:59.65 and Tristan Ludlow fourth overall in 3:59.74.

Girl’s 15 years 400m Freestyle

Rocky City swimmer Alanna Bowles is on her way to a perfect score, taking a third Australian Age title for this year, this time in the girl’s 15 years 400m freestyle final. Bowles’ touched over five seconds ahead of Canberra’s Bonnie Zhang in 4:19.57 and TSS Aquatic swimmer Celine Garbaldi third in 4:19.90.

Boy’s 12/13 years 200m Backstroke

Gold Coast swimmer Andrew Ryan won his second gold medal of the meet taking out the boy’s 12/13 years 200m backstroke by more than a second. The Miami swimmer finished the four laps in a solid 2:14.27, with South Australian Jacob Desmond from Playford Aquatic winning silver in 2:15.67, and Myles Bailey taking home the bronze with a time of 2:16.23.

Girl’s 12/13 years 200m Backstroke

A silver medallist from the meet so far Minna Atherton held a commanding lead for the duration of the girl’s 12/13 years 200m backstroke, eventually hitting the wall nearly five seconds ahead in 2:17.01, to bag her first national age title. The silver medal went to Chandler swimmer Kayla Hoey in 2:21.90, with Sienna McDonald (2:23.25) rounding out the top three.

Boy’s 17/18 years 200 Breaststroke

Trinity Grammar picked up their second gold medal of the night when 17-year-old Jake Baggaley took home the 200m breaststroke title in a time of 2:16.01.  Baggaley held off New Zealand visitor Julian Layton 2:16.85 with Tyrone Dobrunz (2:17.82) winning joint silver and James McKechnie from South Australia rounding out the medals in 2:18.10.

Boy’s 16 years 400m IM

SOPAC swimmer Hayden Hinds-Sydenham was three seconds quicker than the rest of the field in the boy’s 16 years 400m IM winning in a time of 4:27.50. Fellow NSW swimmer Joachim Bardrum won silver in 4:30.22 with James Traiforos backing up from his gold earlier in the night to take bronze in 4:31.37.

Girl’s 16 years 400m Individual Medley

Thai swimmer Sari Suwannachet was too strong for Kiah Melverton (4:49.50) in the final of the girl’s 16 years 400m IM who, despite a fast finish, couldn’t quite catch the visitor who posed an impressive 4:48.34.  Melverton will claim the Australian age title and the duo will each take gold. Hunter swimmer Meg Bailey will take home the silver in 4:52.44 with Eliza Ham moving in to third spot with 4:55.54.

Boy’s 15 years 50m Freestyle

Cherrybrook Carlile swimmer Vincent Dai made it a freestyle double winning the boy’s 15 years 50m free in a time of 23.47. Dai out swam South African Kyle Van Niekerk (23.81), and the West Coast, WA pair of Alex Chin (24.04) and Braga Verhage (24.10).

Girl’s 15 years 50m Freestyle

There was nothing separating the finalists in the girl’s 15 years 50m freestyle as they fought for the first touch on the wall. It was Victorian Jemma Schlicht (25.91) who broke through the white water to take the win and claim the sprint freestyle double. Silver medallist from the 100m freestyle Emily Waddington picked up her second silver with a time of 26.12 ahead of bronze medallist Hazel Son in 26.30.