Isaac Jones' medal haul a stepping stone to Commonwealth Games trials

WARRNAMBOOL swimmer Isaac Jones will use a 12-medal country state championships haul as a building block for the Commonwealth Games trials.

Jones, 18, collected 10 gold and two silver medals at the Victorian country championships on the weekend.

The junior world 4x200m freestyle relay silver medallist used the Wodonga-based meeting to build his fitness, having spent the final months of 2013 focusing on his VCE. 

Jones will compete at the Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane in April.

The national championships will double as the 2014 Commonwealth Games selection meeting.

Jones, who made the 200m butterfly final at last year’s national titles, said it would take a lot of hard work to push for a spot on the Glasgow Games’ team.

“It depends on how I work in the next few months. That will be the best indication (of my chances),” he said. 

“At the moment probably not (likely to make the team), but the next few months will be the difference.

“They had a big review of Swimming Australia after the Olympics, so they have set really high standards now to qualify.”

Jones said his pet event, the 200m butterfly, was his “best chance of making it”.

“I’d have to drop 2.5 seconds if I want to get the qualifying time,” he said. “(My best is) 1.59 and I have to get 1.56. It’ll be a big few months of training.”

Jones said his best result at the country championships was in the 400m freestyle.

His other gold medals were for the 50m, 100m and 200m freestyle, 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke, 200m butterfly and 200m and 400m individual medleys.

Jones collected silver in the 100m butterfly and 4x50m freestyle relay with Warrnambool clubmates Josh Sobey, Fraser Harrison and Jack Paulka.

The Australian junior representative said the country championships provided the big hit-out he needed.

“To back it up after each race, because there wasn’t much turnaround after each race, and to be able to perform was good,” Jones said.

“It is always strong. I was in the 18 and overs and a lot of clubs bring older guys back to compete who might be living in Melbourne to give them a boost.”

Warrnambool Swimming Club coach Josh Sobey said Jones was capable of performing strongly in a number of finals at the national championships.

“You don’t want to put too much pressure on the kid,” Sobey said.

“The first step is to get his fitness base back to where it was when he was in Dubai.

“I have no doubt he can finish top five.”

Sobey said Warrnambool performed admirably at the country titles, finishing fourth overall.

Fellow teen talent Fraser Harrison, who will join Jones at the national championships, collected five medals, including one gold.

Brothers Michael and Jack Paulka snared two medals each and Mitchell Gristede, Rhys Kent, Blake Turner and Jason Pritchard combined to win the under 14 boys’ 200m freestyle relay bronze.

Multi-class swimmer Caitlyn Mackay won three medals.

“We had a lot of new guys swimming for the first time and they’re only going to grow and get better for the experience,” Sobey said.

“And we had a lot make finals for the first time — Emily Bartlett, Robbie Gleeson, Jane Fenton, Sebastian Good, Klara Torneus, Holly Windahl, Rhys Kent and Mitchell Gristede.”

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