Swimming Western Australia
Published: Jan 21, 2013 06:38:08 PM
Off the back of her appearance at the inaugural BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series, dual Olympian Melanie Schlanger has remained in the West to go head to head to head with the state’s best at the 2013 Swimming WA State Open and Age LC Championships.
Schlanger, who is joined by her Southport Olympic teammates and 2012 London Olympians Leiston Pickett, Brenton Rickard, Christopher Wright and Blair Evans will contest the Championships from January 21 – 26.
Among a mountain of expectation from onlookers, the freestyle specialist had a tough first race draw with two other Olympians and a world short course medalist to contend with in the women’s 200m freestyle.
Experience reined as Schlanger cruised to the lead in the opening 100m with effortless style, becoming one of only two heat swimmers to break the one-minute mark. The 26-year-old touched the wall in 2:00.69 and will progress through to tonight’s final as the one to beat.
Schlanger’s training partner Blair Evans (2:02.69) wasn’t far off the pace, winning her heat convincingly in front of her home crowd. An injury stricken Evans was forced to withdraw from the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series but has elected to swim at these Championships.
Perth City’s Jessica Pengelly who joined Schlanger at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series over the weekend but competing for South Africa, has qualified in third position for tonight’s preliminary final.
Dual World Short Course medallist Brianna Throssell (2:06.32) and Olympian Yolane Kukla (2:07.29) will both head their respective age group finals tonight, hoping to secure their spot in the open final to be swum tomorrow night.
Men’s 400m freestyle
The heats of the men’s 400m freestyle showcased three visiting Southeast Asian Games champions.
Malaysian trio of Daniel Bego, Vernon Lee (4:05.47) and Kevin Yeap (4:06.26) will take the top three spots leading into the open final tonight.
The visitors took control of the race immediately with 2011 SEA Games champion in this event leading Yeap leading out the first 200m. With less that one second separating all three competitors at the 300m mark, the final breakaway attempt came from 2008 Beijing Olympian Daniel Bego, who’s challenge went unanswered finishing first in 4:05.38.
Western Sprint’s Andrew Walker the first WA competitor to touch the wall in 4:08.51. Walker held the Malaysian’s fast pace for the first 200m before dropping slightly and settling comfortably into fourth position.
Men’s 200m individual medley
Peel Aquatic’s Robert Evans has established himself as the pacesetter ahead of tonight’s age final of the 200m individual medley. Making his debut for the Championships, Evans swam a faultless race to finish in 2:10.47, over two seconds faster than his seeded time. Evans will undoubtedly be focusing on achieving a national TAG time in tonight’s age final or tomorrow’s open final.
Qualifying behind Evans are youngsters Austin McAleese (2:14.89) and Jake Smith (2:17.11) who will do battle for the title of boys 15 years champion.
Fastest qualifier in the 13 years and under category Raife Sillence progresses through to tonight’s age final in prime position, achieving an Australian Age qualifying time along the way.
Women’s 50m Butterfly
With current WA record-holder Brianna Throssell absent from the women’s 50m butterfly, Holly Barratt has stamped her mark on the event early.
The 25-year-old Barratt (28.01) heads into the preliminary final as the fastest qualifier ahead of nearest competitor and some ten years her junior, Jordana Tonner (28.29).
Arena duo Danae Okulicz (28.49) and Yolane Kukla (28.72) will round out the top four for the preliminary final.
Men’s 50m Freestyle
In a display of versatility, Olympic breaststroker Brenton Rickard (24.15) has qualified in second position for tonight’s preliminary finals of the men’s 50m freestyle.
Reigning State Champion Hamish Rose (23.55) will have to keep a close eye on his competition after a rude awakening from Rickard.
Backing up from their earlier races, Andrew Walker (24.64) and Robert Evans (24.43) are quickly establishing themselves as the ones to watch this meet, qualifying in top position in their respective age finals.
Men’s 200m Butterfly
London Olympian Christopher Wright has stamped his authority in the heats of the men’s 200m butterfly. The Southport Olympic swimmer first earned his spot on the 2012 Australian Olympic Team in this event, and it showed. In a league all his own, Wright (2:01.66) established a commanding lead early before stretching it out to a 13-second gap to his nearest heat competitor.
16-year-od Justin Van Nieuwburg is the second fastest qualifier in tonight’s final behind the untouchable Wright. The 2012 Australian Age finalist in the event Van Nieuwberg (2:08.93) has finished ahead of Malaysia’s Vernon Lee (2:11.42) who backed up from the 400m freestyle earlier in the program to deliver a respectable performance in the 200m butterfly.
Women’s 100 Breaststroke
2012 Olympian Leiston Pickett has posted the fastest time for tonight’s preliminary final of the women’s 100m breaststroke, hitting the wall in 1:09.29, one second under Sally Foster’s current WA residential record.
The 2012 Australian titleholder in this event finished ahead of Sigrid De Vries (1:13.27) and Justine Spurr (1:14.47) who will also advance to their respective age group finals.
The finals session will begin at 6pm tonight at Challenge Stadium. For any media enquiries, please contact Holly Barclay on 0400 214 108.
Men’s 100m Backstroke
Arena’s Matt Meinema (59.17) has held off late attacks from visiting Malaysians Ian Barr (59.91) and Jian Tern (59.99) to qualify in top spot for tonight’s age finals.