Australia has claimed the first of what will hopefully be many gold medals in the pool at Trinbago 2023, with Inez Miller (WA) stopping the clock at 2:00.36 to win the women’s 200m freestyle.
Miller split the 100m in 58.07 and hopes that her home club of St Hildas took time out from Monday morning training to watch her race in Port of Spain.
“I hope the team stopped to watch. It’s great to come away with a result like that and it would be great to know that I shared it with them,” Miller said.
“The swim tonight probably didn’t feel as put together as this morning, my nerves played a part, but with more races to come I will learn from that and hopefully start in the coming days a bit more confident.”
A swimmer from the age of seven, Miller also believes the Commonwealth Youth Games will support shifting her mindset from one of great enthusiasm to that of high performance.
“The experience so far tells me that I want this. I want to use this experience to aid in shifting my ambitions with swimming,” Miller added.
Miller was joined on the podium by Mikayla Bird (Qld), who backed up her women’s 50m freestyle bronze to open proceedings tonight with a second third place and finish on the podium.
A five-time medallist at the Queensland State Junior Championships, Bird boasts a big pool program that includes the 100m and 200m butterfly and the women’s and mixed relays.
“This morning I had two good heat swims, so I decided just to come in to tonight and enjoy it. It’s my first international meet, so it’s about making the most of it,” Bird said.
Bird also lauded Australian Team General Manager, Ellie Cole OAM, with the 17-time Paralympic medallist providing an environment that inspires the best.
“Ellie is so incredible. To have her here with us at the pool has been incredible. We’re very lucky.”
The medal tally also includes a silver after Zoe Ammundsen (Qld) hit the wall second in the women’s 100m backstroke in a time of 1:01.98, with her teammate Poppy Stephen (Qld) placing sixth in 1:04.34. The gold medal was won by Holly McGill (1:01.96) of Scotland.
“There were a lot of nerves going in, and I knew I had to go sub-1:02 to win and it’s something I’ve been chasing since December,” Ammundsen said.
The self-declared unexpected medallist was Harvey Larke (Vic) in the men’s 200m final, capitalising on his late addition to the field for the final to storm home from lane eight to win an impressive bronze in a time of 1:51.64 behind local hero Nikoli Blackman (gold, 1:49.94).
The Victorian will now reset before the men’s 400m later in the program, an event that is becoming his favourite.
“I’m stoked. I was emergency this morning, it’s unreal,” Larke said.
“This is a confidence boost. I’ve got the 400m later on, and I’m looking forward to it. I reckon it’s my pet event, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
“I’m just loving the experience. I could hear the Australians cheering me on and they brought me home in the last 50 (metres).”
Jye Bennion (Qld) joined Larke in the 200m final, missing a medal by just 0.05 to place fourth in 1:51.71.
Rounding out the Australian medallists was Tommy Lane (Vic), surging home to claim bronze in a time of 15:31.38 after a hard-fought men’s 1500m final alongside winner Tyler Melbourne-Smith (Wales, 15:30.80) and runner-up Reece Grady (England, 15:31.22).
He was joined on the blocks by Braden Fyneman (Qld), who placed 8th in a time of 16:39.97.