'Mighty Blues' leave their mark on the world stage

12 September 2023

In a stunning display of swimming prowess, NSW’s mighty junior swimmers have left their mark on the world stage.

The World Aquatics Junior Swimming Championships, held in Netanya, Israel (4-9 September 2023) culminated in a thrilling final night of competition, where young talents like Olivia Wunsch and Bella Grant delivered exceptional performances to secure multiple gold medals for their nation and emerge as a dominant force in the global swimming arena.

Let's dive into Coaching Director Jon Shaw's daily highlights!

Day 1: NSW Mighty Blues swimmers feature in the medals on night 1 at the Junior World Championships

In the Men’s 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay, Marcus Da Silva (Cranbrook) swam the second leg in 49.53 to help his team win the silver medal. Tane Bidois (Knox Pymble) also picked up the silver medal for his heat swim.

In the Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Relay, Jaimie de Lutiis (West Illawarra) swam the 3rd leg in 1:58.93 to help her team to the silver medal. Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar) swam in the heat to put the team in the final and was also awarded a silver medal.

Day 2: Medals for NSW Mighty Blues swimmers

Women’s 200m Butterfly: Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar) in a great swim and new PB won the silver medal in 2:08.97. Congratulations to Bella and Coach Ben Tuxford. Also, swimming in the final was the Patrick Stellino-coached Jessica Cole (West Illawarra) coming in 5th in a new PB of 2:11.11...well done!

4 x 100m Mixed Medley Relay: Joshua Kerr (Manly) received a silver medal courtesy of a great heat swim...Joshua swam the Breaststroke leg. Also, Jaimie de Lutiis (West Illawarra) picked up her second silver medal...both helping the team into the final.

In the Women’s 100m Freestyle Semi Final Olivia Wunsch (Carlile) went through as the fastest qualifier in a time of 0:54.08...

In other finals on Day 2, Australia had a great night:

M 200m Freestyle: Gold - Flynn Southam; Bronze - Anders McAlpine

W 100m Backstroke: Gold - Jaclyn Barclay; Silver - Iona Anderson - Silver

Day 3: Olivia Wunsch...Junior World Champion

Olivia Wunsch (Carlile) swam the race of her life to secure the gold medal in the final of the Women’s 100m Freestyle in a new PB time of 0:53.71. Olivia, coached by Michaela Pattinson, split 26.09 / 27.62 to record her first swim under 54 secs! Then, to make things even sweeter, Olivia found herself on top of the podium as part of the gold medal-winning 4 x 100m Mixed Freestyle relay! The team’s combined time of 3:24.29 established a new Junior World Record by a staggering 1.63 secs! All this after she competed in the semis of the Women’s 50m Fly...going through to the final in 3rd position...Huge congratulations to Olivia and Coach Michaela!

Also picking up another individual medal was Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar). After picking up the silver medal in the Women’s 200m Fly, she helped herself to a bronze medal in the Women’s 200m Backstroke in a new PB of 2:11.24...now there's a combination...200 Fly & 200m Back... Congratulations to Bella and her coach Ben Tuxford!

The news kept on getting better for our Mighty Blues swimmers as Marcus da Silva (Cranbrook) and Jaimie de Lutiis (West Illawarra) swam the heat of the mixed 4 x 100m Mixed Freestyle relay and received gold medals for swimming the team into the final! Well done team!

In other results:

Tane Bidois (Knox Pymble) placed 10th in the semi of the Men’s 50m Freestyle in a time of 22.87. Flynn Southam went through to the final as the fastest qualifier. Isabella Johnson (Cruiz) came 13th in the semi of the Women’s 100m Breaststroke...her time of 1:09.05 was a new PB.

A great night for the Australian team and our Mighty Blues swimmers!!

Day 4: A quieter day for the Mighty Blues

After a massive first three days of the Championship, it was a quieter day for the Mighty Blues swimmers in the Australian team.

  • After a huge first three days, Olivia Wunsch (Carlile) still produced a fantastic swim to finish equal 3rd in the Women’s 50m Butterfly in 26.53. After a hectic 3rd day, this was an awesome result for her and Coach Michaela Pattinson...well done!
  • Marcus da Silva (Cranbrook) swam a fantastic 4th leg in the morning heats to ensure the Aussie team made it into the final of the Men’s 4 x 200m Freestyle relay. Swimming the 3rd leg in the final, the boys managed to pick up the bronze medal with their time of 7:16.02. Marcus swam 1:49.68...congratulations to Marcus and Coach Bec Wheatley.
  • Jaimie de Lutiis (West Illawarra) finished in 8th place in the Women’s 200 IM...

In other results:

Jamie Perkins won Gold in the Women’s 400m Freestyle in a time of 4:05.72. Flynn Southam picked up the silver medal in the Men’s 50m Freestyle in a time of 22.43.

Day 5: Wunsch goes 52.61 to bring home gold for the Green & Gold

  • What a brilliant swim by Olivia Wunsch (Carlile) to seal another gold medal for Australia in the Women's 4x100m Freestyle. Olivia split 25.21 / 27.40…fantastic! Joining Olivia in the team and swimming the 3rd leg was Jaimie de Lutiis (West Illawarra) with a great swim of 54.84…the team total of 3:36.52 was just outside the Junior World record!
  • In the Women’s 50m Freestyle semi-finals, Olivia Wunsch went through to the final as the fastest qualifier...Olivia's time of 24.60 was another PB!

In other finals:

Thomas Pattison claimed the bronze medal in the Men’s 50m Butterfly; In the Women’s 50m Backstroke, Australia took the gold and the bronze, with Iona Anderson winning in 28.01 and Jaclyn Barclay coming third in 28.14.

After 5 days of competition, Australia sat 2nd on the medal table with 7 gold, 7 silver, and 6 bronze for a total of 20 medals.

Day 6: Wunsch and Grant add to their medal tallies and Australia's success on the final night of competition

The final night of the championships saw Olivia Wunsch (Carlile) win another two gold medals to boost the swag she had already secured.

  • Women’s 50m Freestyle: Olivia won the gold in 24.59, equalling the Championship record. Taking the bronze medal for Australia was Hannah Casey (25.07)
  • Women’s 4 x 100m Medley Relay: Another superb swim by Olivia Wunch saw the Australian team rise from 3rd to 1st with Olivia's freestyle split being 52.73 to secure the gold.
  • With two golds on the final night, the Michaela Pattinson-coached Wunsch took her tally for the meet to 5 golds and 1 bronze medal. Congratulations to Olivia and Coach Michaela.
  • Also collecting a gold medal was Bella Grant (Trinity Grammar) who swam a great fly leg in the heats of the 4 x 100m Medley Relay. This capped off a breakout meet for Bella who also picked up individual silver and bronze medals in the 200m Fly & 200m Backstroke respectively. Sweet success for Bella and Coach Ben Tuxford...this brings her medal tally to 1 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze.
  • Men’s 200m Backstroke: After swimming a great PB in the morning heats, Alexander Foreman (Kincumber Pacific Dolphins) placed 8th in the final. His time of 2:02.16 was just over his morning swim.
  • In other events: Edward Sommerville came 3rd in the Men’s 100m Freestyle.

There were many superb performances by our Mighty Blues swimmers over the six days of competition...they really stood up on the World stage! Their performances both in individual and relay events were superb!

A huge shout out to all the Mighty Blues athletes and their coaches who put in stellar performances for their country.

NSW Swimmers - Australian Junior Worlds Team





Tane Bidois


Nicolas Dobson

Jessica Cole

Wests Illawarra

Patrick Stellino

Marcus Da Silva


Rebecca Wheatley

Jaimie DeLutiis

Wests Illawarra

Patrick Stellino

Alexander Foreman


Debby Tattoli

Bella Grant

Trinity Grammar

Benjamin Tuxford

Isabella Johnson


Shannon Rollason

Josh Kerr


Justin Rothwell

Olivia Wunsch


Michaela Pattinson

Team Coaches:



Michaela Pattinson



Benjamin Tuxford

Trinity Grammar


Australia finished the meet with 9 gold, 7 silver, and 8 bronze for a total of 24 medals and 2nd place in the medal tally. Our incredible NSW swimmers and coaches can be proud they played a big part in the country’s overall success.

Congratulations and GO THE MIGHTY BLUES!

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