Four New Stars Emerge - 2018 GHF Aus Age Champs

27 April 2018
Lani Pallister

A new wave of talent has emerged from the 2018 Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Championships! Get to know four of the next generation of Australian swimmers.


Lani Pallister
Age: 15
Club: Alexandra Headland
Swimming Idol/s: Mum – Janelle Pallister (nee Elford), Michael Phelps and Ariarne Titmus.

Few people have stood atop the podium at the 2018 Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Championships as much as fifteen-year-old Lani Pallister. With standout performances across her age in the freestyle, Pallister looks on track for selection for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships later this year.
Pallister claimed Gold in the 15yrs 100m Freestyle and didn’t stop there.

“I just achieved my major goal for the meet which was to win the 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m Freestyle”, she said.

“And to go under two minutes in the 200m freestyle was really good”.

Not only did Pallister go under two minutes but dropped the 15yrs 200m Freestyle Australian Record, previously set by Shayna Jack back in 2014.

Last year Pallister made her international debut at the 6th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships alongside her mother and coach, Janelle Palliser (nee Elford). Janelle is no stranger to the international stage, competing in the 400m and 800m Freestyle at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. When it comes to swimming Idols, Pallister is quick to site her mother.

“One would definitely have to be my mum, considering what she did in the era that she swum”, she said.
“Her times still beat me!”.

If the freestyle events weren’t enough, Pallister still has the 100m Butterfly and 200m IM to go.

“They’re just a little bit of fun at the end of the carnival’.

The Junior Pan Pacific Championships team will be announced tonight during Day 6 of the Australian Age Championships.


Name: Nathan Robinson              
Age: 18
Club: Chandler
Swimming Idol/s: Grant Hackett, Kieren Perkins
Pre-race rituals or superstitions: Listen to music and take time to get up on the blocks.
After finishing 5th in the 1500m at the Australian Swimming Trials earlier this year, Nathan Robinson came into the Age Championships with a focus on improving his time of 15:30.68.

On Wednesday night, Robinson did exactly that - taking Gold in a time almost eight seconds quicker than his swim at trials.

“Coming in to this I was just trying to focus about the process and work my 500s throughout the 1500m and then try and see if I could improve my time from what I did at Trials and I did that”, he said.

In claiming Gold, the Chandler swimmer successfully defended his title in the 17-18yrs 1500m Freestyle.

“I think I executed a really good race tonight”, he said.

“I probably need to work on my last 500m a bit, but I thought it was a pretty good race”.

 With announcement of the Junior Pan Pacific team due in the next 24hrs, the eighteen-year-old is also aiming towards a senior team at this year’s World Short Course Championships.

“Definitely short-term goals for this year is to try and get into a senior team” he said.

“Probably looking towards the World Short Course with the trials for that in October”.


Name: Brittany Castelluzzo
Age: 17
Club: Tea Tree Gully
Swimming Idol/s: Emma McKeon, Stephanie Rice
Pre-race rituals/superstitions: Cap a certain way, goggles a certain way - one certain strap has to be on the bottom. The exact same stretches every single time before I race. I also always have watermelon before I race, every single time.

Walking away from the 2018 Georgina Hope Foundation Australian Age Championships with 1 Gold, 2 Silver and PBs in all her events, Brittany Castelluzzo showed no signs of the stress she was worried about.
“Being a big event, I get a bit under pressure and I stress out, so I try to keep as relaxed as possible”, said Castelluzzo.

Relegating the 2017 Age Champion and a Commonwealth Games Silver Medallist is by no means an easy feat but in the 17-18yrs 200m Freestyle, Castelluzzo nabbed the win from Laura Taylor in what was a thrilling race. After claiming Gold in the 200m Freestyle, Castelluzzo went on to claim silver in both the 100m and 200m butterfly.

“I’ve just been aiming for PBs which I’ve done so far in all of my events, so I’ve been pretty happy with that”.
Given the Age Championships is a selection event for the Junior Pan Pacific Championships, Castelluzzo is looking to make gain selection on her second Australian team.

 “The Junior Pan Pac team is something I’m hoping to get on. I went to Youth Commonwealth Games last year and so I’m trying to make another junior team this year – it would be amazing”.


Name: TJ Chong Sue
Age: 17
Club: UWA West Coast
Swimming Idol/s: teammates and Adam Peaty
Pre-race rituals / superstitions: Splash myself three times right before I get on the blocks.

UWA West Coast’s TJ Chong Sue came into age with a focus of improving times and to snag a few medals. Finishing his program on Day six, it’s safe say TJ Chong Sue, snagged more than a ‘few’ medals.

After four individual events and at least three relays, TJ walks away from the 2018 Australian Age Championships with a whopping six individual Gold, two relay Gold and two Australian Age Records.

“I’m extremely happy with my performance this week”, Chong Sue said.

“I think I did a PB in all events but three”.

Chong Sue’s program was so busy in fact that on more than one occasion across the meet, someone to accept his medal’s so he could marshal for the next event. From 50m to 400m and Backstroke to Butterfly and a few Medleys too, there wasn’t too many events that TJ didn’t contest and reign supreme. 

At only 14, Chong Sue has a bright future in front of him and while he stays relatively quiet on what he’d like to do, he like many - have their eyes on an Australian team.

“I’d definitely love to make a team, soon – pretty soon”.

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