Warrnambool swimmer graduates to open ranks with national age championship gold

ISAAC Jones has farewelled junior ranks with a breakthrough national age group gold medal swim.

The Warrnambool teenager saluted in the 17-18 boys’ 400-metre freestyle at the Australian Age Swimming Championships in Sydney.

Isaac, 18, finished with four medals, complementing his win with silver in the 200m freestyle and 200m butterfly and bronze in the 100m freestyle. The medal haul surpassed his previous best of three, which came last year.

He arrived home after the week-long titles on Sunday.

Isaac said he swam a four-second personal best in the 400m freestyle win.

He also recorded PBs in the 200m and 100m freestyle finals and equalled his 1.58.38 personal best in the 200m butterfly, notching the same time celebrated at the Commonwealth Games’ trials in Brisbane last month.

The Emmanuel College graduate said he was rapt to finish his junior career with a bang.

“My open-level freestyle isn’t as good as my butterfly but at that age group level it is probably better,” Jones said.

“Last year I didn’t medal in the 100m free.

“That is the first time I have medalled in that at nationals.

“I am getting better at freestyle and it was my last race too, so I had a bit of confidence by then.”

Isaac said he would miss the atmosphere and support at junior level.

“The future stars of Australia are coming through so there is always good times and people to watch,” he said.

The Jayson Lamb-coached swimmer said he was ready for the challenge of competing full-time at open level.

“You don’t get as many opportunities and I guess I have to start working harder now,” Isaac said. 

“I am a bit bigger. I am equal on height but the older guys have more muscle and strength on me.”

Isaac will now enjoy a break as he awaits news from Swimming Australia.

“They have already selected the Commonwealth Games team but sometimes they pick a team of people who just missed out and call it Australia A, just to develop them and they usually go overseas,” he said. 

Fellow Warrnambool swimmers Caitlyn Mackay, Ehlana Wilkinson, Fraser Harrison and Blake Turner joined Isaac at the age nationals.

Caitlyn won six medals in the 17-18 girls’ multi-class section. 

She collected silver in the 100m breaststroke, 100m butterfly, 50m butterfly and 50m breaststroke, bronze in the 100m freestyle and 200m individual medley.

Ehlana swam in the 15-16 girls’ multi-class group, with her best result a sixth-place finish in the 100m backstroke.

Fraser competed in the 17-18 boys’ 200m backstroke for a 12th place and the 100m backstroke, placing 24th.

Blake Turner notched 47th place in the 14 boys’ 100m freestyle.

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