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Bull Sharks triumph at Aussie championships

Chris Mooney threw a challenge to his star sprinters on the opening night of the Australian Age Swimming Championships and they responded by blowing the competition out of the water.  

Flynn Southam
Flynn Southam 

Flynn Southam, a member of Australia’s world championship gold medal 4x100m freestyle relay team and a Paris Olympic medal chance, raised some eyebrows when he lined-up for the 400m freestyle.  

As did Mikayla Bird who is considered the nation’s hottest young butterfly prospect after dominating the 100m and 200m events at last year’s Aussie championships and the Commonwealth Youth Games in Trinidad and Tobago.

“We don’t train for the 400m because it can affect the 100m, but we’ve found some benefits to occasionally racing it,” Bond University’s head coach Mooney said.

“So we put Flynn and Mikayla in there on the opening night and they produced personal bests.

“I just wanted them to experience that. After 150m they’re already in the hurt locker and there’s still 250m to go and it was pleasing to see how they rose to the challenge.

“Then we tested for lactic acid levels the next morning and they showed some amazing numbers, no sign of fatigue at all.”

Southam proved that by doubling up to win the 200m freestyle on day three in a time that shows he is hitting form at the right time as the nation’s swimmers all gear up for June’s Olympic trials.

The 18-year-old clocked 1:46.43  - just shy of his personal best of 1:46.24 last year which ranks No.2 all-time among 17-year-old Aussie boys.

Bond’s Director of Swimming Kyle Samuelson said the ability to find their best form at key moments was the mark of a great swimmer.  

“He hasn’t been near that time since the World Junior Championships in August last year, so that is a really encouraging sign,” he said.

Teammate Gideon Burns also collected an individual gold medal in the 200m breaststroke and the pair added to their haul when they joined Kalani Creech and Kody Byrne to claim gold in the 4x100m medley relay.

Bull Sharks Ainsley Trotter, Kyla Brown, Hannah Casey and Milla Jansen also won the girls’ 4x100m medley relay. 

Bird also secured another gold alongside Trotter, Casey and Jansen in the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Samuelson was particularly impressed with the efforts of Hancock Prospecting Swimming Excellence Scholarship holder Casey who has endured a disrupted training regime this season.     

“Hannah got a fourth in an individual event and swam very well in the relay final also,” he said.

“She has been in and out of the water with health issues, so it was really good to see her put together some good races.”

The Bull Sharks will feature heavily on the final days when the 50m and 100m racing takes place and the squad will back up next week for the Australian Open Championships.  


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