After an action-packed week of racing at the 2017 Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Swimming Championships, 30 emerging young stars have been selected to represent their country at the 2017 FINA Junior World Swimming Championships.
Headlining the 12-strong group of boys will be 16-year-old Elijah Winnington, one of the stand-outs from the Age Championships winning eight gold medals from each of his eight individual events and setting three new personal best times along the way.
Winnington, who trains at Bond on the Gold Coast under coach Richard Scarce, said that times and not medals were his motivation at Age Championships, and he will take the same mind set to Indianapolis.
“After this meet, the plan is to just train hard and get ready for Junior Worlds,” Winnington said. “I’ll sit down with my coach and reassess my times and set new goals for Junior Worlds. First thing’s first, I am going there to try and hit those goals – and whatever comes with that will be great.”
Seventeen-year-old Nathan Robinson is finding great form, taking three gold medals at the Age Championships in the 400m and 1500m freestyle as well as the 400m Individual Medley. Also enjoying success is Zac Stubblety-Cook, who took out the 17/18 years’ 200m breaststroke and was second in the 100m behind national title holder Daniel Cave.
The youngest athlete on the team will be 13-year-old Jenna Forrester who has jumped into the spotlight at the Age Championships with a host of medals and competitive times. She will be one of 18 female athletes on the team, with plenty of talent and experience among them.
Junior Pan Pacs representative Molly Batchelor has showed her versatility from sprint to distance freestyle this week, and will gain more valuable big event experience in Indianapolis. Lani Pallister is another promising freestyler, and her selection sees a new chapter in her family’s proud swimming history, with her mother Janelle Pallister (nee Elford) having swum for Australia at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games.
After their incredible performances at the Australian Championships, swimmers such as Cave, Ariarne Titmus, Jack Cartwright and Kaylee McKeown will transition onto the senior team for World Championships, making way for an exciting young team of fresh faces looking to take their first major steps in their international swimming careers.
“We have had a lot of athletes from the Swimming Australia Pathways programs progress onto the senior national team,” team leader Jamie Salter said.
“This year, at the start of the Olympic cycle, we have a new generation of younger athletes that can hopefully do the same as those athletes who last week transitioned at opens.”
Australia has a rich history in the Junior World Championships since its inception in 2006, and has topped the medal tally at the last two events in 2015 in 2013. Past success aside, Head Coach Glenn Beringen said that experience is the focus for 2017.
“Our main goals are to educate our athletes so we do the best possible job in preparing them for the senior national team,” he said.
“It is not about how any medals we can win it is more about the experience, learning to travel and compete overseas and be part of the team – developing some of the routines that are mirrored in the senior team.”
The sixth FINA World Junior Swimming Championships will be held in Indianapolis, USA from 23 – 28 August 2017. For more information go to: http://www.fina.org/content/6th-fina-world-junior-swimming-championships
The Australian Team for the 2017 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships:
Molly Batchelor, 16, Nunawading VIC
Sarah Beale, 16, Acacia Bayside QLD
Kayla Costa, 15, Nunawading VIC
Jenna Forrester, 13, St Peters Western QLD
Chelsea Hodges, 15, Southport Olympic QLD
Jasmine Hopkins, 16, Busselton WA
Jemima Horwood, 15, UWA West Coast WA
Eliza King, 16, Rackley QLD
Shikira-Lee Matheson, 14, St Peters Western QLD
Sienna McDonald, 16, St Peters Western QLD
Bethan Mounfield, 16, Marion SA
Lydia Murray, 14, St Peters Western QLD
Lani Pallister, 14, USC Spartans Swim Club QLD
Natasha Ramsden, 16, Abbotsleigh NSW
Sharni Robinson, 14, St Peters Western QLD
Kirrily Siebenhausen, 17, Rackley QLD
Tanya Stovgaard, 17, Southport Olympic QLD
Matilda Wangoma, 16, Southport Olympic QLD
Zachary Attard, 17, Carlile NSW
Jordan Brunt, 17, Southport Olympic QLD
Taj Jones, 17, St Hildas WA
Leon Macalister, 16, Carlile NSW
Nathan Robinson, 17, St Peters Western QLD
David Schlicht, MLC Aquatic VIC
Zac Stubblety-Cook, 18, Chandler QLD
Stuart Swinburn, 15, University of NSW
Jacob Vincent, 18, Miami QLD
Samuel Wendt, 17, Bond QLD
Jacob Whale, 17, Flyers QLD
Elijah Winnington, 16, Bond QLD
Team Leader: Jamie Salter
Head Coach: Glenn Beringen
Coaches: Sean Eels (Southport Olympic, QLD), Amanda Isaac (Abbotsleigh, NSW), Damian Jones (Rackley, QLD), Michael Palfrey (WAIS), Misha Payne (Carlile, NSW), Nick Veliades (MLC Aquatic, VIC)