Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Mackay’s own Cyclones swim team have been making waves, at the Australian Age Championships on the Gold Coast earlier this month.
The Australian Age Championships is one of the biggest events on the Swimming Australia calendar, with thousands of swimmers travelling to the Gold Coast to compete.
This 14-day event is a highlight on the Australian Swimming calendar, attracting some of Australia’s most elite Olympic and Paralympic swimmers, with young athletes who will become the next generation of swimming stars.
Being the highest level of competition domestically for athletes ages 18 years or under, the competition was engaging, each swimmer eager to perform to the best of their ability.
The Mackay swim team has a successful history of attending the Australian Age Championships, and 2023 is no different.
The Mackay swim team had six swimmers qualify for the competition, four of which had never attended a championship before, and were accompanied with their coach, Leigh-Anne Pokarier.
Izabella Wills and Mackenzie Neilsen attended the championships in 2022, with the National Team, and were joined for the 2023 competition with Vaughn Wyatt, Max Vernon, Audrey Bryan and Anneka O’Donnell, being newcomers to the mix.
Izabella competed first in a series of multi-class (MC) events.
Day one of the competition ended poorly, with Izabella’s 100 freestyle being delayed 30-minutes due to bad weather and lightening, however, she broke her previous personal best, with a 6.94 time, and taking 5th place.
Izabella also competed in the MC 400 freestyle, taking 32.05 seconds off her previous personal best and placing 4th overall.
In her final race, Izabella competed in the 50 freestyle, breaking her previous personal best and raking 7th place in Australia.
Second time National attendee, Mackenzie competed in the 14-year girls age group, for 50 butterfly, 100 butterfly and 200 butterfly.
She swam well and placed 7th overall in 200 butterfly and scrapped 3.50 seconds off her personal best time.
Mackenzie also qualified for the finals in 100 butterfly and placed 19th in Australia overall.
Newcomer Audrey qualified for three events, the 50 breaststroke, 50 butterfly and 50 freestyle in the 13-year old girl’s class, and gaining two personal bests.
2023 was also Anneka’s first experience of the championships. She competed in 50 breaststroke and 50 backstroke and is excited to compete in 2024.
The boys, Max and Vaughan, swam well. Max competed in the 50 backstroke, and Vaughan in the 100 breaststroke and 200 breaststroke.
Vaughan was successful in moving into the finals for 200 breaststroke and ranking 26th overall in Australia.
In a fierce competition, these swimmers performed excellently, with most new to the age championship competition and atmosphere.
The Mackay Cyclones take yet another team of accomplished youth swimmers to the Australian Age Championships. Photo supplied