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Kukla takes sprint gold on opening night in Adelaide

Swimming Australia - 08/04/2013

London Olympian and relay gold medallist Yolane Kukla has taken gold in the girl’s 17/18 years 50m freestyle on the opening night of the 2013 Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age Championships in Adelaide.

The Commonwealth Games gold medallist, and a heat swimmer in last year’s Olympic 4x100m freestyle relay gold, hit the wall in an impressive time of 25.14, just a touch ahead of Southport’s Alexandra Purcell (25.21) and West Illawarra sprinter Emma McKeon (25.25).

The boy’s 17/18 years 50m freestyle was an equally close race with Southport’s Luke Percy swimming a personal best to finish in 22.24.  Shaving 0.02 of a second off the winning time of Cameron McEvoy in the same event last year, Percy took gold over training partner Blake Jones (22.75) and Victorian Alexander Graham (22.81).

The first record of the meet went to Victorian Nicholas Groenewald who followed up from his six individual gold medals at last year’s Australian Age Championships, to take nearly a second off the previous best boy’s 15 years 200m backstroke time.

In a race where the gold, silver and bronze medallist were all under the previous best of 2:03.27 set by Olympian Mitch Larkin in 2009, Groenewald finished in 2:02.54 with City of Perth’s Damian Fyfe taking silver in 2:02.68 and Tristan Ludlow from Queensland picking up bronze in 2:02.77.

Surrey Park’s Sian Whittaker swam a new personal best in the girl’s 15 years 200m backstroke final, taking the title in convincing fashion, over five seconds clear of the rest of the field in 2:12.11.

The real race was between silver and bronze medallists Jessica Unicomb (2:17.33) and Germany’s Rabea Tenetos (2:17.34) who finished just 0.01 of a second apart with Unicomb securing silver in the touch. Zoe Lysaght will also take home a bronze in a time of 2:17.68.

South Australian local Kyle Chalmers continued the record breaking only minutes later picking up his first gold of the meet and dipping under the 55 second mark in the boy’s 14 years 100m butterfly.  The Marion swimmer won by almost three seconds in a strong time of 54.79 with Jacob Sedgman (57.52) and Luke Zille (58.13) rounding out the medals.

In the corresponding girl’s event, Victorian Stephanie Whan was too strong for defending champion Lucia Lassman (1:01.18) in the girl’s 14 years 100m butterfly. Whan hit the wall in 1:00.61 to take the 2013 title from Lassman and fellow Victorian Mikaela Cornelissen in 1:01.99.

With more than 1400 athletes in town to compete over the ten days of completion, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation Leon Bignell said he was pleased to welcome swimmers to South Australia at tonight’s opening ceremony. 

“We are delighted to host the nation’s young stars of the pool as they compete to be named Australian age champion,” Mr Bignell said. 

“I’m particularly pleased that our state is represented by 80 swimmers, the highest number from South Australia since the 2009 event.”

The Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age Championships will be held at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre concluding on Monday 15 April. 

For full results go to 

In other events tonight… 

Girl’s 16 years 200m Butterfly

Hunter swimmer Meg Bailey has moved her way up the podium and into top sot to claim the 2013 Girl’s 16 years 200m butterfly Australian Age title. Bailey remained calm despite a speedy start from eventual silver medallist Emily Washer (2:15.81) to take out the race almost a full body length ahead of the field in 2:13.96. The bronze medal went to Rocky City swimmer Karleigh Banks in 2:16.12.

Boy’s 16 years 200m Butterfly

Sydney swimmer Joachim Bardrum made it back-to-back titles in the men’s 200m butterfly winning the boy’s 16 years by more than half a second.  The Auburn swimmer hit the wall in 2:02.77 with Surrey Park’s Hamish McDougal taking silver in 2:03.53 and Luke Scott from Fraser Coast, Queensland won bronze in 2:04.38.

Girl’s 15 years 800m Freestyle

Five-time Australian Age Champion from 2012 Alanna Bowles has started her 2013 campaign by defending her title in the girl’s 15 years 800m freestyle final in spectacular form. The Rocky City swimmer finished over 18 seconds ahead of the rest of the field when she touched the wall in 8:37.52. Fellow Queenslander Moesha Johnson (8:55.19) picked up the silver medal and Canberra swimmer Bonnie Zhang (8:55.37) was just behind for bronze.

Girl’s 14 years 200m Individual Medley

The girl’s 14 years 200m individual medley has seen history repeat itself, with the same three swimmers taking out gold, silver and bronze as in 2012. Novocastrian Abbey Harkin defended her title successfully, touching in 2:18.36 and relegating 2013 10km Open Water Champion Chelsea Gubecka (2:19.70) to second, and Ella Bond (2:19.78) to third place for the second consecutive year.

Boy’s 14 years 200m Individual Medley

Springwood’s Matthew Wilson was a class above in the final of the boy’s 14 years 200m IM outswimming the rest of the field by more than five seconds to win in an impressive time of 2:07.19. Queenslander Hudson Anu took silver in a time of 2:13.73, with Benno Negri taking the bronze medal in 2:14.06.

Girl’s 12/13 year 200m Freestyle

The girl’s 12/13 years 200m freestyle saw a four-way fight for first place with Kawana Waters swimmer Ellen Masters taking the title in the touch. Masters sopped the clock at 2:05.59 to just edge out silver medallist Chloe Yoo in 2:05.74 and Elly Wikaire in 2:06.16.

Boy’s 12/13 years 200m Freestyle

Gold Coast teen Andrew Ryan started his Australian Age swimming campaign in fine style taking out the boy’s 12/13 years 200m freestyle and more than a second off his heat time. The only boy to finish under the two minute mark across the heats and finals, Ryan covered the four laps in 1:58.20, with fellow Queenslander Jordan Lello second in 2:00.32 and Rory Scott taking bronze in 2:02.07.

Girl’s 16 years 100m Freestyle

Triple Australian Age Champion from 2012 Ami Matsuo set the standard in the girl’s 16 years sprint freestyle, taking out the 100m free final over half a body length clear of her rivals and stopping the clock in an impressive 54.76 – a time that would have placed the Carlile swimmer eighth at last year’s EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships. Queenslander Chelsea Gillett (56.29) snuck in for second with Ryde-Carlile’s Sophie Taylor (56.64) taking the bronze. 

Boy’s 16 years 100m Freestyle

Distance specialist Mack Horton was too strong for his age group in the boy’s 16 years 100m freestyle covering the two laps in an impressive 50.35. Cameron Jones from St Peters Western won silver in 50.92 while Angus Hannan took bronze in 51.51.

Girl’s 17/18 years 100m Breaststroke

The girl’s 17/18 years 100m breaststroke saw Jessica Hansen (1:09.18) and Taylor McKeown (1:09.33) go head-to-head all the way to the wall as they fought for the 2013 Australian Age title. Hansen managed to hold off a fast-finishing McKeown to take gold while Traralgon swimmer Lily Collins took home the bronze in 1:11.25.

Boy’s 17/18 years 100m Breaststroke

Forster Aquatic swimmer Jesse King (1:03.35) has defended his title, taking the win in the boy’s 17/18 years 100m breaststroke final. With less than a second separating the top seven swimmers, King secured the gold in the touch. Eighteen-year-old Robert Evans (1:03.44) took the silver medal and Jared Gilliland (1:03.80) held on for third.

Girl’s 12/13 years 200m Breaststroke

The girl’s 12/13 years 200m breaststroke was a tight tussle for a place on the podium with Caitlyn McKavanagh turning on the speed for the final 50m to collect the gold medal in a time of 2:36.42, leaving Rebecca Cross to settle for silver in 2:36.71. Maisie McFadyen completed the podium, taking the bronze medal in 2:37.38.

Boy’s 12/13 years 200m Breaststroke

Heath MacLeod of Wodonga in Victoria picked up his first gold medal of the meet in the boy’s 12/13 years 200m breaststroke in a time of 2:29.51, from Bailey Senden (2:29.64) and Steven Coombes in 2:36.24.

Girl’s 17/18 years 400m Freestyle

Dual Australian Age Champion from 2012 Leah Neale cruised to victory in the girl’s 17/18 years 400m freestyle to successfully defend her title and take home her fist gold medal of the meet. Neale’s time of 4:09.72 was too quick for Laura Crockart (4:11.75) and Amelia Gould in 4:14.01.

Boy’s 17/18 years 400m Freestyle

Jacob Hansford from Atlantis Swim Club took gold in the boy’s 17/18 years 400m freestyle with Isaac Jones (3:59.37) and Kiwi Bradlee Ashby rounding out the top three places. Melbourne Vicentre swimmer Jack Gerrard was awarded the bronze medal as the third Australian home in a time of 3:59.57.

Boy’s 15 years 1500m Freestyle

The boy’s 15 years 1500m freestyle was the final individual event of the opening night with Queenslander Joshua Parrish taking out the title in 15:52.57 from Mitchell Davenport-Wright (16:01.84) and Callum Sherington in 16:05.43.

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