The 2019 PhysioHealth Victorian State Team has walked away from the State Team Championships with another top 3 finish. Competing at the AIS, Canberra from 3– 6October, our 40 athletes, 9 coaches and 3 support staff were only just outdone by New South Wales and overall winner Queensland.
If there was an award for the loudest team our Victorians would have won in a canter. Led by team captains Abbey Kearney, Olivia Lefoe, Thomas Dale and Emil Gardner, our team put the other states on notice with their war cry and chants as they entered the AIS pool.
The competition kicked off with state team first timer Stone Ma finishing second in the Boys 14/15 50m Freestyle, setting a new Victorian record of 23.09. Not long after Evan Chee secured second in the Boys 14/15 400m Freestyle while girl’s team co-captain, Olivia Lefoe claimed third in the Girls 16/17 400m Freestyle.
The Victorians got their first top of the podium finishes when Alanah Ilioski and Brayden Miles touched first in their respective 50m Butterfly events. Across the board the Victorians swam out of their skins, with Jackson Lazzar (50m Butterfly), Jayden Carr (50m Butterfly) and Lucy Webster (200m IM) all smashing their season best times. To round off the first session, Evan Chee set a new Victorian Record of 2:02.43 in the 200 IM, with Nunawading teammates Will Petric and Yanning Zhang also finishing in the top 4.
Day 2 saw Brayden Miles continue his dominant form, finishing first in the 50m and 100m Backstroke events, while Alanah Ilioski raced to another two podium finishes in the 50m Backstroke and 100m Butterfly. Victorian team veteran Tara Kinder kicked off her final state team appearance by breaking the Meet record in the 200IM, touching in at 2:11.50. Will Petric followed suit, breaking the Victorian record with a 2:14.73 in the 200m Breaststroke.
Victorian dominance in the breaststroke events was evident, with boy’s co-captain Tom Dale and Calvin Reed finishing on the podium in the Boys 16/17 200m Breaststroke. The younger boys then perfected their change overs and swam to first place in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay.
Historically session 3 has been the toughest for the Victorian team, however this was not the case this year. Evan Chee broke another Victorian Record in the 200m Butterfly (2:03.85) while Tara Kinder broke another State Teams record in the 200m Breaststroke (2:23.13) event with teammate, Reidel Smith, finishing close behind in second.
More podium finishes beckoned for the Victorians, with Tara, Olivia, Alanah, Stone and Noah Millard all continuing their impressive campaigns. The focus of the session from the coaches was for all athletes to race hard to improve their rankings. Isabella Boyd, Evan Chee, Victoria Bushell and Lucy Webster all did just that moving up the final rankings and scoring points for Team Vic.
The star of session 3 was Alex Basile, competing in a 1500m event for the very first time. Alex not only finished 6th in a field of 15 but broke the Victorian record in the process. His efforts spurred on his teammates, as the younger boys again finished first in their relay, breaking the State Teams record by half a second in the 4 x 100 Medley Relay.
There were a few tired athletes on the last morning of competition with a late finish the night before and an early start with the beginning of day light savings. This did not deter the Victorians though, as the strong Breaststroke contingent again flexed its muscle with Misha Wierzbowski, Tara Kinder and Calvin Reed all recording podium finishes. The team seemed to relish the tough conditions as personal best times continued to fall, with Isaac Ballenger, Isabella Walkenhorst, Chantelle Underwood and Emil Gardner all recording season best times.
More first place finishes followed with Bethany Dalgleish (200m Butterfly), Evan Chee (400m IM), Brayden Miles (200m Backstroke) and Calvin Reed (100m Breaststroke) all crowned State Team Title Holders. The Victorian Team finished the competition strongly. Breaststrokers Tara Kinder and Misha Wierzbowski both broke State Teams Records in their respective 100m Breaststroke events.
As the competition came to a close, the final standings were decided, except for the Boys 14/15 age group which was being closely contested by the Victorian and Queensland teams. The age group title came down to the very last race, the Boys 14/15 200m Backstroke. The equation for the Victorians was simple, have two athletes finish in the top 3 and we would be crowned champion for that age group. In possibly the loudest race of the weekend, the title came down to the touch, with Brayden Miles finishing 1st, two Queensland athletes 2nd and 3rd and Yanning Zhang fourth by only .08 of a second. This meant that the Age Group title was tied up after four sessions of racing and both states were crowned champions.
Overall the Victorian team finished third on the final standings with 1624 points behind New South Wales (1867.50) and champions Queensland (2414.50). The team performed incredibly well over the four sessions, with an impressive 50% improvement rate on entry times. More importantly, all the athletes supported each other throughout and showed tremendous respect for the other states, coaches and officials. The team would like to thank its sponsors, PhysioHealth, Evo Sportswear and Funky Trunks and Funkita for their ongoing support.
2019 Victorian State Team Records
State Teams Records:
Tara Kinder – Girls 15/16 200m IM 2:11.50
Tara Kinder – Girls 15/16 200m Breaststroke 2:23.13
Boys 14/15 4x100m Medlet Relay 3:43.82
Tara Kinder – Girls 15/16 100m Breaststroke 1:07.43
Misha Wierzbowski – Girls 13/14 100m Breaststroke 1:10.24
Victorian SC Records:
Stone Ma – Boys 14 50m Freestyle 23.09
Evan Chee – Boys 14 200m IM 2:02.43
William Petric – Boys 15 200m Breaststroke 2:14.73
Tara Kinder – Girls 16 200m Breaststroke 2:23.13
Evan Chee – Boys 14 200m Butterfly 2:03.85
Evan Chee – Boys 14 200m Freestyle 1:52.27
Tara Kinder – Girls 16 100m Breaststroke 1:07.43
Alex Basile – Boys 14 1500m Freestyle 16:07.84
Evan Chee – Boys 14 400m IM 4:23.82