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Fresh from Jnr Pan Pacs gold, Brinkworth sets his sights on YOG

5 September 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: Ashton Brinkworth is one of eight athletes that make up the Australian swimming section for the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG). Seven of these young athletes recently competed in the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Fiji, with three of them scoring medals.

Brinkworth dominated in Fiji, taking home gold in the 50m freestyle, silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay with fellow YOG’er Joseph Jackson, bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay and placed 4th in the 4x100 relay, 100m freestyle and mixed 4x100 medley relay with fellow Buenos Aires teammates, Chelsea Hodges and Michaela Ryan. 

Ryan and Abbey Webb also scored silver in the 4x200m freestyle relay with Webb picking up another silver in the 4x100m freestyle relay. 

The only YOG athlete to not compete at the Junior Pan Pans was Kaylee McKeown, as she represented Australia at the senior Pan Pacs in Tokyo last month, securing two fifth place finishes in the 100m and 200m backstroke. 

Now that his biggest meet before Buenos Aires has been completed, Brinkworth’s focus is on next month’s Youth Olympics. 

“The biggest thing I took away from the Junior Pan Pacs was the international experience which is great exposure before the YOG,” the 18-year-old said. 

“It was my first junior team and having a good hit out in Fiji against some really strong competition has given me a lot of insight into what is to come and the level of competition I should expect at Buenos Aires. 

“Additionally, swimming relays with Joe [Jackson] has created a strong team-vibe which I think will be really important.” 

Ashton 2

The Perth local began swimming as a 10-year old before making his first national competition in 2014 when he was 14. 

“I got into club-level swimming after doing Surf Lifesaving with friends but started competing at a state level when I was 12. 

“I went to my first Nationals in 2014 as a relay swimmer, then, seeing some close mates medal in their individual events really inspired me,” he said. 

“I was lucky enough to be invited to train with the high-performance squad at the WA Institute of Sport last year and it was then that I really started wanting to see how far I could take the sport and dedicated myself to it fully.” 

Despite his success at the Junior Pan Pacs, the humble teenager believes he still has plenty of room for improvement. 

“I’m definitely not the tallest guy going around on the pool deck but I have a decent kick which I try to use during my racing, but I still need to improve the back-end speed of my 100m freestyle,” he said. 

“I haven’t had a lot of experience as a younger swimmer competing in distances over 50m compared to some of my competitors, so I’m still trying to figure out the best way to race these events and improve my skills.” 

He also shared some interesting facts about his swimming skills and training regime. 

“An interesting fact about me is that I never actually passed breaststroke during Learn to Swim’, and I still can’t do it!” 

“The weirdest drill I do is tying a sponge around my ankles while swimming or doing pull for resistance training. It took a while to get used to and is definitely not my favourite drill, but it helps a lot with my stroke!” 

In addition to his sponge resistance training, the Western Australian spends at least 20-30 hours per week honing his craft. 

“At the moment, a usual week consists of nine swimming sessions a week as well as time at the gym. In total I spend roughly 18-20 hours in the pool and 2-3 hours at the gym per week along with an hour or two of core and bike work,” he said. 

“Outside of the pool I study a Bachelor of Biomedical Science part-time at university where I spend 7-8 hours going to lectures and lab. 

With the YOG now one month away, the previous Hale School Swim Team captain will maintain his focus on training and swimming at a local level. 

“I’ll be doing some more hard training over the next few weeks, then tapering down two or three weeks before the competition starts. The Junior Pan Pacs was my last meet before the YOG, but I might swim a relay or two at WA Short Course States.” 

You can find out more about Ashton and more of your YOG athletes HERE. 

Junior Pan Pacific YOG Competitor Results: 

1st – Ashton Brinkworth, 6th Joseph Jackson – 50m freestyle 
2nd – Ashton Brinkworth, Angus McDonald*, Jack Edie*, Joseph Jackson – 4x100m freestyle relay 
2nd – Eliza King*, Abbey Webb, Natasha Ramsden*, Lani Pallister* - 4x100m freestyle relay 
2nd – Lani Pallister*, Eliza King*, Michaela Ryan, Abbey Webb – 4x200m freestyle relay 
3rd – Ashton Brinkworth, Silas Harris*, Thomas Neill*, Brendan Smith* - 4x200m freestyle relay 
4th – Ty Hartwell*, Thomas Pearson*, Shaun Champion*, Ashton Brinkworth – 4x100m medley relay 
4th – Ty Hartwell*, Chelsea Hodges, Michaela Ryan, Ashton Brinkworth – 4x100m mixed medley relay 
4th – Tahlia Thornton*, Chelsea Hodges, Michaela Ryan, Eliza King* - 4x100m medley relay 
4th – Ashton Brinkworth, 8th Joseph Jackson – 100m freestyle 
4th – Abbey Webb – 100m freestyle 
5th – Michaela Ryan – 100m butterfly 
5th – Stuart Swinburn, 11th Lewis Blackburn – 200m backstroke 
6th – Lewis Blackburn, 7th Stuart Swinburn – 100m backstroke 
6th – Michaela Ryan – 200m butterfly 
7th – Chelsea Hodges – 100m breaststroke 
8th – Joseph Jackson – 100m butterfly 
9th – Michaela Ryan, 10th Abbey Webb – 200m freestyle 
10th – Abbey Webb – 50m freestyle 

*Non YOG competitor 

Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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