NSW swimmers Bradley Woodward, Se-bom Lee, Matt Wilson and Taylor Corry were amongst those who flew the Mighty Blues flag on the final night of a successful Sydney Open/UniSport Nationals Meet at the Olympic Aquatic Centre at Homebush last night.
Lee (University of Technology, Sydney) led an all-NSW podium with an emphatic victory in the 400m individual medley in 4:21.20 ahead of team mate Tomas Elliott (4:32.33) with 19-year-old Thomas Peregrina (Macquarie University) in third in 4:40.91.
Mingara’s Pan Pacific Championship representative Bradley Woodward added his second gold medal winning performance in the 100 metres backstroke in 55.25 ahead of Japan’s Keita Sunama (55.91) and Peter Mills (Brisbane Aquatic) 55.98.
Woodward, who skipped the Australian Championships with a niggling shoulder injury, has bounced back to give his SOPAC coach Adam Kable some positive results leading into next month’s Hancock Prospecting World Championship Trials at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre.
In other events
SOPAC’s Commonwealth record holder, Matt Wilson (2:10.72) staged a great race with Japanese powerhouse Yasuhiro Koseki (2:09.72) in a tough battle with another Japanese swimmer Kazuki Kohinata 2:11.77 third.
Nelson Bay's Paralympian Taylor Corry continued her fine form taking home Gold in the 100m Free Multi-Class and;
In an exciting final, 50m butterfly winner William Yang (Sydney University) 53.38 and Edward Marks (Carlile) 5364 pushed Olympian David Morgan (TSS Aquatic) in a hotly contested 100m butterfy with Morgan touching first in 52.84.
While Queensland pair Kaylee McKeown (USC Spartans) and Kiah Melverton (Griffith University) left their mark on Sydney this weekend, McKeown adding another gold to her arsenal, this time in the 200m IM in 2:11.04, after impressive wins in the 100 and 200m backstroke and Melverton the 200m freestyle (1:59.95) to her win in the 400m freestyle.
The success of the meet has certainly provided enormous encouragement for NSW Head Coach, Olympian Ron McKeon.
“The fact that this meet is on our doorstep here in NSW – is one of two significant things that have happened, “ said McKeon.
“The other being the (University) pathway in Age groups into 20-21 years – and that has just happened in April and they are keeping in the water for this meet so we’ve got older athletes swimming, still staying around, still in the programs and still training, which is something we can grow on as well.
“We’ve been talking about combining an Open meet with the University Nationals for years and how to activate the university space with sport and I think we are onto something here.
“Right now our school system has a real focus on HSC and we basically lose so many through that period.
“Now there’s a transition piece (in their pathway) that really gives those athletes that come off the HSC where they can get some time back in and know that they have another two years within a transition period, they can go to University and still come to a real class meet.
“Next year it will grow again and this has certainly been a bit of a taste and test as well and next year being an Olympic year it’s going to create another leg of great competition in this country.
“Having Japan here has been a huge plus. They are coming back; they’re planning and they will come back with part of their Olympic team next year as they target meets in this part of the world.
“They have come here with a focus they have had a couple of weeks camp in Cairns; they are here with a purpose - train race and that’s what they are doing.”
McKeon said in 2020 Swimming NSW and Swimming Australia would look to make sure that it is a sanctioned meet by FINA.
“That will very much be one of the feathers in our cap for this meet…. you need to have FINA officials here, you need to have it logged down with FINA so we have all the right infrastructure and personnel here, WADA and all the bells and whistles in that respect that go into an (international) meet and swimmers can actually do qualifying times for the Olympics, if it’s a targeted meet,” McKeon said.
“There have been some terrific swims here Kaylee McKeown is world class and seeing some new blood coming through and seeing some of the old heads going head to head, seeing the likes of Elijah Winnington going up against Jack McLoughlin and Mack Horton so these youngsters are really pushing the older guys or established guys, four weeks to our Trials this is a perfect time to have really good hit outs.
“It’s time for another really good two or thee week training block and then it’s a sail into the Trials, so we re expecting some fast swimming, there has been some fast swimming here as we always get and we want some faster swimming in early June in Brisbane.”