Published: Aug 25, 2012 07:39:29 PM Updated: Sep 12, 2012 11:05:15 PM
The rain held off at the Veterans Memorial Aquatic Centre but the clouds that remained had a silver lining for the Australian team.
Australia bagged four silvers and one bronze at the end of the second night at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii.
After tackling the 200m freestyle/butterfly double last night, Australia’s Keryn McMaster (4:41.63) left nothing to chance as she dug deep to win silver in the women’s 400m individual medley final.
The 18-year-old proved she is the master of all strokes and was able to go one better than her bronze medal winning efforts from this event and meet in 2010 with her gutsy, come from behind performance.
As her Australian team members cheered from the side, McMaster became aware she was in a medal winning position.
“I saw everyone on the side screaming for me to go faster…that’s when I turned and saw the American’s about even with me and I just moved into another gear and went for it,” McMaster said.
McMaster chased down and powered past Celina Li from the US (4:42.17) to touch behind the 800m freestyle champion from last night, Becca Mann (4:39.76) also from the US.
Team coach Chris Mooney said McMaster was a passionate swimmer who had been prepared to perfection by her coach back home, Dean Pugh.
“Keryn’s swim tonight showed true guts and determination, and is a real reflection of her training back home with Dean (Pugh). Her time in the final qualified her for the QAS Target squad and that’s a big achievement and something she really deserves,” Mooney said.
The corresponding men’s event saw Jared Gilliland (4:21.25) also post a QAS target squad time to finish fourth in a tough field. Teammate Eugene Tee was 8th in 4:34.20.
After Japan’s Daiya Seto was disqualified from the second place, the eventual winner was the American Chase Calisz (4:12.50) who re-wrote Mitch Larkin’s 2010 meet record for the win.
The crowd favourite 100m freestyle final was the first event for the night with seven swimmers from Australia qualifying for the men and women’s finals.
It was a triple threat in the men’s 100m freestyle final with all three male finalists from Australia recording a sub 50 second swim.
The field was tight with the Australian and American swimmers almost dead-heating at the first turn. Australia’s Alexander Graham and Andrew Digby (49.90) were stroke for stroke with Matt Ellis and Jack Conger (49.84). The result came down to the touch and with the electronic timing system failing at such a crucial moment, the times were forced to be taken manually.
Matt Ellis (49.24) from the USA set a new meet record to take gold while Graham was awarded silver in 49.71 and Conger took the bronze medal.
Digby was relegated to fourth, just missing out on a 100/200 freestyle double by the smallest of margins.
Despite missing out on a place in the men’s 100m A final, Regan Leong made the crowd sit up and take notice when he cruised ahead of the field to take an easy win in 49.77 - a time that would have seen him win bronze in the A final.
The women’s A final had Australia’s Ami Matsuo and Simone Manuel (54.80) from the USA in a battle for bragging rights. After narrowly missing out on a medal in the 200m freestyle last night, Matsuo powered through her final 50m, determined to have her moment on the medal dais.
Manuel took a long stroke to the wall for the win leaving Matsuo to take Australia’s first silver medal of the night in an impressive time of 55.36.
Fellow Australian Brianna Throssell touched in fourth, just behind in 55.60.
The women’s B final was taken out by a fast finishing Chelsea Chenault who came from behind to steal the win in 55.23.
In other events…
Women’s 100m breaststroke:
In the women’s 100m breaststroke final Canada took first and second with Kierra Smith stopping the clock at 1:08.54 to be crowned Junior Pan Pacific Champion.
After rising through the ranks at the EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships in March, Taylor McKeown proved her potential when she hit the wall just behind the lead pack in 1:10.03. McKeown will race in her pet event, the 200m breaststroke later in the week.
Fellow Queenslander Georgia Bohl was speedy off the blocks and looked strong in her first ever final at an international level. Fifteen-year-old Bohl finished just off the pace in 1:10.15.
Men’s 100m breaststroke:
The men’s 100m breaststroke A final unleashed a superstar in Japanese swimmer Akihiro Yamaguchi. Yamaguchi showed off his exquisite technique and frightening speed as he stormed to victory in a meet record time of 59.85 – a time that would rank him equal 14th in the world this year.
Buster Sykes provided an upset from lane 8 as he chased down the Japanese superstar and touched in bronze medal position with a time of 1:03.32.
In the men’s 100m breaststroke B final Tommy Sucipto sped to the wall in 1:04.34, to touch just behind American Gage Crosby (1:03.58) to take second place.
Women’s 4x200m freestyle:
Australia’s fourth silver medal for the evening was won by the women’s 4x200m freestyle relay team. The powerhouse quartet of Brianna Throssell, Leah Neale, Mikkayla Sheridan and Ami Matsuo had the crowd on their feet as they combined to overtake the Japanese and secure second place.
Throssell led the team to a strong start, taking the team to first position at the changeover. Leading into the final change, Sheridan left nothing in the tank as she sprinted to the wall hot on the heels of the USA. Finally a gutsy effort from Matsuo saw Australia steal silver in 8:03.48.
Men’s 4x200m freestyle:
The men’s 4x200m freestyle final didn’t quite go to plan for the Australian teams with both the A and B team missing out on a medal. After some impressive individual results the team struggled to lift against some quality international competition. The A team finished in 4th in 7:27.90 with the B team following in 7:32.28.
Japan (7:18.59) upset team USA (7:19.89) for the win.
To watch the races live from home, make sure you click onto www.usaswimming.org.au for live streaming of the heats and finals. Heats will be played from 6:00am (AEST) with finals from 1:00pm (AEST).
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