Warrnambool swimmer puts PBs before selection

WARRNAMBOOL’S Isaac Jones is aiming for personal best times rather than Commonwealth Games selection at next week’s Australian Swimming Championships in Brisbane.

The 18-year-old would love to be part of Australia’s team that flies to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games in July but he wants to keep his focus.

“I’m not thinking about it (Commonwealth Games selection),” he said.

“It would be nice but I’m just aiming for a personal best and the result will take care of itself.”

He will contest the 50m, 100m and 200m butterfly, as well as the 200m freestyle.

“My focus is on the 200m free and 200m ’fly,” he said.

The first three finishers in the championships will earn Commonwealth Games selection, providing their time is better than a qualifying mark set by Swimming Australia based on the top eight in the world last year.

Jones said the qualifying time in his pet event, the 200m butterfly, was almost three seconds quicker than his personal best, playing down his chances.

But he knows a strong showing in Brisbane could earn him a spot at the Pan Pacs or another international competition later this year.

After taking a short break following the world junior championships in Dubai last September to complete his VCE, Jones has been working hard to improve his fitness and times.

“I got back in the pool and hit it pretty hard,” he said.

He swam a gruelling schedule at last month’s NSW championships while maintaining full training.

“We were testing a few race plans,” Jones said.

He then went to the Tasmanian championships where he claimed six gold medals: the 100m, 200m butterfly and freestyle, 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley.

“We were looking to improve from NSW and take that next step. It was good to have some good results. 

“It was more of a low-key thing to get some form,” Jones said.

“I was just behind where I wanted to be but I feel like I am where I need to be now.”

He had a cold last week, which set back his training, but he has rebounded quickly.

Warrnambool Swimming Club coach Jayson Lamb said the championships would give Jones an insight into what’s required to make a major senior team.

“He finished 8th last year in a time of 1.59. The faster they get, the longer it takes to drop over time,” he said.

“Realistically he is trying to go 1.58.

“In Beijing (at the Olympics), the youngest male competitor was 20 years of age, so in reality it says in another two years he will be up there.

“It’s always good to go to these events and put yourself under some pressure. The field will be a lot hotter than last year, which will be interesting.”

Warrnambool will also be represented by Fraser Harrison and Ashleigh Pettigrew at the championships.

Harrison, 17, is lining up in the 50m, 100m and 200m backstroke.

Pettigrew, 23, has a busy week, contesting the multiclass 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly and 200m individual medley.

Lamb said the pair had been working hard.

“Both are aiming to get personal best times and improve on what they are doing,” he said.

The championships begin on Tuesday.

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