Australia’s next wave of young talent secured three medals and Cotton Tree’s Lani Pallister was named ‘Female Swimmer of the Meet’ on the final night of the 2019 World Junior Swimming Championships in Budapest.
Pallister claimed her fourth individual podium finish on night six, taking home silver in the Women’s 200m Freestyle final. Even with her stacked racing schedule, the young star showed no signs of slowing down as New Zealand swimmer Erika Fairweather put pressure on the field from the start. Going head-to-head in lanes three and four, the pair battled it out until the end which ultimately saw Fairweather touch narrowly ahead, 1:57.96 to 1:58.09.
Pallister’s time marked another personal best, adding to her three new championship records and gold medals in the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle events. At 17-years-old, this competition also signals her final world junior championships – a time she’ll always treasure.
“I think it’s a really important stepping-stone for me moving forward in the future and continuing on in my swimming career, I’m really happy with my results this week,” she said post-race.
“The times I swam this week I’m happy with and I know I can still improve on quite a few technical aspects within the race, so it definitely does give me a bit of confidence.
“The Australia junior team will always have a very special place in my heart, it’s one of the first Australian teams I competed in from swimming and surf lifesaving, so it’s something I’ll never forget and something I’ll use as a foundation for next year.”
Capping off a fruitful championships campaign, Rackley’s Thomas Neill also notched up another medal, this time in the men’s 1500m Freestyle Relay. Neill sat comfortably in third position for the first 500m before making his move into second at the 1000m mark. Showing heart and class, Neill nabbed silver in a new personal best time of 14:59.19 and breaking the 15-minute barrier – which is no easy feat. Franko Grgic of Croatia took control of the race and broke Australian Dolphin Mack Horton’s Junior World Record in a time of 14:46.09.
“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet, but when I get home and I think about what I’ve done, I think it will start dawning on me,” Neill said post-race.
“I’m just really proud of what the team has been able to achieve and I’m proud to be an Australian.
“Heading into next year I just want to improve in each preparation and keep adding up the little one percenters. I’ll sit down with my coach and see how I can get better.”
In a blanket finish to the Women’s 50m Freestyle ‘splash n dash’ final, sprinter Meg Harris claimed bronze in a personal best time of 24.89. Swimming sub 25 seconds, it marks her second individual podium finish after also securing bronze in the 100m free on night three. The USA went one-two in the finish with Gretchen Walsh (24.71) and Maxine Parker (24.75) taking home the gold and silver.
“After getting a medal the first time, I wanted to get back on the podium and I’ve been wanting to go 24 for so long and finally doing it felt amazing,” Harris said after claiming bronze.
“Creating new memories is always the best thing, but with this team it’s been even better.”
In the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay, the team of Joshua Edwards-Smith (55.26), Joshua Yong (1.02.46), Alex Quach (54.42) and Thomas Neill (49.14) finished fifth overall in 3:41.28. The Russians up staged the USA (3:33.66) to take the gold in new Junior World Record time of 3:33.19.
It was a similar tale in the Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay, with the team of Mollie O’Callaghan (1:01.22), Georgia Powell (1:10.20) Michaela Ryan (1:00.10) and Meg Harris (55.44), also touching for fifth in 4:06.96. The USA took gold in 3:59.13.
At the conclusion of the six-day World Junior Swimming Championships, Australia finished third on the medal tally, having secured four gold, five silver and four bronze.
Other Aussie Results:
Men’s 200m Backstroke – Joshua Edwards-Smith finished 9th overall in 2:00.13, while Ty Hartwell finished 15th overall in 2:01.72
Women’s 200m Breaststroke – Georgia Powell finished 18th overall in 2:30.79 and Tara Kinder finished 12th overall in 2:29.44
Men’s 200m Butterfly – Alex Quach finished 16th overall in 2:00.74 and Oliver Nash finished 25th overall in 2:03.24
Women’s 200m Freestyle – Michaela Ryan finished 12th overall in 2:01.30
Men’s 1500m Freestyle – Mitchell Tinsley finished 15th overall in 15:34.29