Griffith University and Bond University have emerged victorious at the 2019 UniSport Nationals Swimming championships over the weekend, which for the first time, was held as part of the Sydney Open Invitational meet facilitated by Swimming New South Wales.
Hosted at Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre from 10-12 May, over 200 university students representing 33 universities took to the pool to battle it out for the men’s and women’s swimming champion pennants.
The meet attracted not only some of Australia’s swimming powerhouses but also drew international talent including the Japanese national team. The new format of the Nationals championship has led to an unprecedented number of UniSport records falling across the three-day event.
Led by Australian Dolphins Swim Team dynamos, Cameron McEvoy McEvoy and Emma McKeon, Griffith dominated the pool breaking 14 records, with 36 from a possible 42 records being broken.
Griffith also claimed 304 points, taking out the men’s Nationals Div 1 pennant contributing towards their 2019 UniSport Nationals campaign.
The talent didn’t stop there, with fellow Australian representatives David Morgan, Kiah Melverton and Zac Stubblety-Cook also donning the Griffith cap.
The Nationals Swimming championship also served as excellent preparation for the newly selected Griffith students representing the Australian UniRoos at the upcoming 2019 FISU Summer Universiade in Naples, Italy from 3-14 July (Alice Stuart, Chelsea Hodges, Grayson Bell, Joshua Parrish, Mikayla Messer and Tristan Ludlow) who all posted impressive performances across the weekend.
The strength of the Griffith team was not unrivalled by their Queensland counterparts, Bond University, whose women’s team claimed the other pennant on offer at the competition (284
This year, the women’s trophy was renamed in appreciation of Liz Avery (Entries, Records and Results Specialist at Swimming Australia) who has been involved in delivering the UniSport Nationals swimming competition (formally Australian University Games) for many years.
Lizzie’s hard work and dedication to university swimming is extremely valued by UniSport and will now continue to be recognised and remembered through this award.
Bond students were also instrumental in re-writing the UniSport swimming record book.
Elijah Winnington clocked a seven second personal-best to outsprint Commonwealth Games 1500m gold medallist, Jack McLoughlin from Queensland University of Technology to clock a UniSport record of 7:55.75 in the men’s 800m freestyle.
Meanwhile, Jenna Strauch proved she’s a force to be reckoned with in breaststroke claiming gold in the 50m (31.77), 100m (1:07.83) and 200m (2:25.39) events, all in record-breaking times.
Whilst Griffith and Bond shone through in the point score, credit must be given to several other universities who entered extremely strong teams and competed right to the very end.
Queensland University of Technology students Jack McLoughlin (200 and 400m freestyle) and Tom Jeffries (50m backstroke) both etched their names into the UniSport record book, with the rest of the team taking home several medals throughout the meet.
University of Technology Sydney narrowly missed out on taking out the men’s competition (284 points) and also had couple of students post record-breaking swims (Tomas Elliot, 200m individual medley and Se-Bom Lee 400m individual medley).
Upcoming superstar Kaylee McKeown, from University of Sunshine Coast, proved that at only age 17, she is one to watch in the future.
Not only did she claim gold medals in record times across all three backstroke events, she also shaved five seconds off the previous 200m individual medley record.
Her 200m backstroke swim was the fourth fastest posted in the world this year at 2:07.10.
There were also some impressive para-athlete performances with Western Sydney University student and Paralympian Timothy Hodge (S9) taking home seven gold medals.
Fellow Paralympian and The University of Queensland student, Lakeisha Patterson (SB8) proved why she was a worthy recipient of 2018 UniSport Australia award, ‘Most Outstanding Performance by an Athlete with a Disability’, taking home several medals for her team throughout the championship.
The results from the championship can be viewed at unisport.com.au/swimming-div1
The UniSport Nationals continue in July, with Div 2 taking place on the Gold Coast from 8-11 July.