Published: Aug 28, 2012 02:12:54 AM Updated: Sep 3, 2012 11:01:47 AM
Akihiro Yamaguchi may not be a household name just yet, but the 18-year-old Japanese high school student was less than a second off setting a new world record in the men’s 200m breaststroke final, hitting the wall in an impressive time of 2:08.03 at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Honolulu, Hawaii.
After recording a 2:07.84 at this year’s Japanese national high school championships, the crowd was expecting something spectacular from the young superstar and he certainly delivered.
Hitting the wall over five seconds ahead of his closest competitor Yamaguchi had the crowd on their feet, all eying the clock as he powered to the wall in the last lap.
Yamaguchi is currently ranked third in the world for 2012 in this event and his time from the school championships would have seen him take bronze at the London Olympics.
Australia also had two competitors in the A final with Josh Tierney (2:16.13) and Buster Sykes (2:16.37) swimming well to keep up with the fast pace for the first 100 metres. Both boys finished within 0.3 of a second of each other with Tierney just edging out Sykes for 5th place.
In the consolation final it was Lennard Bremer in a fight for first place with four other men. Bremer stopped the clock at 2:16.99 to narrowly take third place.
Following on from his win in the men’s 400m freestyle final, Matt Levings will add the 800m title and meet record to his accomplishments from the meet.
Levings eclipsed the previous record, set by Australian Olympic swimmer Ryan Napoleon in 2009, by almost two seconds, with his time of 7:56.94. Levings ability to lead from start to finish is impressive as he forces his opponents try to keep up with the early speed.
Junior Pan Pacific Champion from the 1500m freestyle Mack Horton swam his usual controlled race but was unable to gain enough momentum to medal. Horton finished in fourth place with a time of 8:00.62.
After setting a scorching time in the morning heat of the women’s 1500m freestyle Laura Crockart watched on nervously as the USA’s Becca Mann and the rest of the 1500m night swimmers did their best to better Crockart’s time.
Only the American’s Mann and Danielle Valley were able to swim faster, putting Crockart in the bronze medal position.
This was only Crockart’s second ever competitive race in this event, proving she has great potential for distance freestyle with a bronze medal in the women’s 800m freestyle also to her name.
Sprint sensation Alexandra Purcell stepped up in the women’s 50m freestyle final to win gold and take the 2012 Junior Pan Pacific title.
Purcell showed great composure as she came back from an average start to take out the splash and dash race in a time of 25.15. Fellow Australian speedster Ellen O’Rourke had a fantastic finish to pick up the bronze medal in 25.40.
The B final was taken out by silver medallist from the women’s 100m freestyle Ami Matsuo in 25.71 with Brianna Throssell touching second in 25.86.
In other events…
Women’s 200m breaststroke:
Third place getter from this event at the 2012 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships Taylor McKeown had a rough ride in the final of the women’s 200m breaststroke. The Queenslander finished in fifth position with a time of 2:30.56, but was later disqualified for hand position during the stroke.
Competing at her first international competition for Australia Georgia Bohl took on the B final and managed to improve on her heat time, finishing in 2:37.36.
Men’s 50m freestyle:
Regan Leong continued his rise in the sprinting world, winning the silver medal in the A final if the men’s 50m freestyle in a time of 23.02, just behind race favourite Jack Conger from the US who took the title in 22.69.
Eighteen-year-old Andrew Digby was left to settle for fourth place, hitting the wall in 23.29.
Alexander Graham went from strength to strength in the men’s 50m freestyle, improving his time with each swim. After dead-heating with Digby for a place in the A final, Graham was left to fight it out in the B final and eventually touching behind Digby in the swim-off. But the B final was Graham’s for the taking and he did so in a speedy 23.13. Teammate Tommy Sucipto was 4th in 23.60.
Women’s 200m IM:
The women’s 200m individual medley saw some gutsy performances as Kotuku Ngawati (2:14.34) and Keryn McMaster (2:16.67) dug deep for the four lap race to finish 5th and 8th in that order. Ngawati: was sitting in third until the final turn when she fell off the pace slightly in the last lap. With a bronze medal in the 400m IM from earlier in the meet, McMaster was unable to add to her medal tally.
The B final had Mikkayla Sheridan finish second behind Japan’s Yui Ohashi (2:16.38) in a time of 2:17.04.
Men’s 200m IM:
The top three place getters in the final of the men’s 200m individual medley all managed to set new meet records for the event. The USA’s Chase Kalisz (1:59.51) was the only swimmer to go under two minutes, taking the gold in a time of 1:59.51.
Japan’s Daiya Seto (2:00.33) and Keita Sunama (2:00.61) picked up the silver and bronze medal with Queensland’s Jared Gilliland (2:03.76) was the best placed Australian in 5thposition, while Eugene Tee was 7th in 2:06.04.
4x100m medley relays:
The US powerhouse relay teams could not be beaten in both the men and women’s 4x100m medley relays.
The Australia A team just managed to clinch the bronze medal following a brilliant breaststroke legfrom Buster Sykes. Junior Pan Pacific Champion in the 200m freestyle Digby was able to hang on to third, touching the wall in 3:44.03.
The women’s teams didn’t fare as well, both finishing fourth in their respective finals. Australia A clocked a time of 4:08.93 with the B team stopping the clock at 4:13.20.
With the pool competition over, tomorrow’s focus will be on the men and women’s 10km open water swim, with many of the swimmers competing in this event for the first time.
The final combined team results from the pool competition saw Australia placed second behind the USA, just one and a half points in front the Japanese team.
Final Point Score:
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