Published: Aug 24, 2012 07:01:05 PM Updated: Sep 12, 2012 11:05:21 PM
The Hawaiian skies opened up on night one of the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific Championships, but as the rain fell, so too did the records.
Four meet records were broken in total with Australia’s Mack Horton and Jordan Harrison taking one each.
Horton and Harrison, along with Queensland’s Matthew Levings (15:21.93) re-affirmed Australia’s position as the distance kings as all three finished inside the top four in the men’s 1500m freestyle. After setting a new record in the morning session at 15:15.76, Harrison was later pool side cheering on Horton who stormed home to take the title and a new meet record in 15:10.07.
After placing second in this event at the EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships in March, Horton knocked over three seconds off his time to prove he has real potential in the event.
After watching Jordan break the record in his heat, I knew I had to switch it on if I wanted to get a good result. I had Matt (Levings) going out fast at the start and that was the push I needed to go hard and take control of the race from the early stages,” Horton said.
At just 16-years-old, Horton is gaining a reputation as the one to watch on the junior elite scene.
The women’s 200m freestyle kicked off proceedings on the first night of finals at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii and provided Australia with their first medal of the meet.
Brianna Throssell swam a gutsy race, picking up speed at the final turn to touch in second place behind Chelsea Chenault from the USA. Throssell set a new personal best and went sub two minutes for the first time to take silver in 1:59.44.
After overtaking one of her American rivals in the final 50m to move into second place, Throssell said she didn’t notice the other swimmer and was just hoping to go fast.
“I just put my head down, powered through my last 50 and hoped for the best. I’ve set some good times in training and I’m happy I could replicate that in a race situation,” Throssell said.
Six-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist Ami Matsuo was just behind in 4th place with a time of 2:01.11.
Not even the pouring rain could spoil Andrew Digby’s night, as the 18-year-old asserted his dominance in the men’s 200m freestyle final. The Queenslander took the Junior Pan Pacific title in 1:49.11 after roaring through the first 150m to lead by half a body length from his closest competitor.
Promising 16-year-old Alexander Graham finished 7th in a time of 1:51.00.
In other events…
Women’s 100m backstroke:
The women’s 100m backstroke saw 17-year-old Maddison Wilson fighting for first place. Wilson went out fast and stayed right on the heels of her American rivals Olivia Smoliga (1:01.03) and Kylie Stewart (1:01.26). Despite a valiant effort by the Queenslander, the American’s were too strong, relegating Wilson to third in 1:01.94.
Australia’s Kotuku Ngawati came home strong to touch just outside of the medals in 1:02.72. While, Victorian Samantha Wilkins (1:03.83) finished 6th in the B final.
Men’s 100m backstroke:
Competing on his first senior Australian team Regan Leong looked comfortable in the final of the men’s 100m backstroke. The 16-year-old from Townsville couldn’t keep up with American Jack Conger, who set a new meet record in 54.07, but managed to improve on his seed time stopping the clock at 56.88.
Women’s 200m butterfly:
Backing up after a solid effort in the 200m freestyle B-final, Keryn McMaster was back in the water for the women’s 200m butterfly A-final. McMaster swam well considering her busy schedule, hitting the wall in 2:16.63 finishing in 7th position.
Men’s 200m butterfly:
In the corresponding men’s event, the competitors got off to a flying start with Japan’s Kenta Hirai (1:57.40) leading from start to finish and erasing Jayden Hadler’s meet record, set in 2010, by 0.07 of a second.
Australia’s Hugo Morris (1:59.71) did well to stay in the lead pack and was unlucky not to medal after just being out-touched for third. Teammate David Morgan finished just behind in 2:00.62.
Women’s 800m freestyle:
It was a two person race in the women’s 800m freestyle with New South Wales swimmer Laura Crockart (8:36.34) putting in a gutsy effort against rising star, Becca Mann, from the US. The two girls took a commanding lead early on in the race and couldn’t be caught.
With Crockart threatening at every turn, Mann didn’t back down from the challenge and held off the Australian to take the race in 8:28.79. Crockart was then left to settle for bronze after Leah Smith (8:28.01) from the US posted a faster time, and a meet record, in the morning session.
The Australian team finished night one with six medals from eight events; including two gold, two silver and two bronze.
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