New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship athlete, Olivia Wunsch, set the 2023 Junior World Swimming Championships in Netanya, Israel alight with a blistering performance that ensured she seized the Women’s 100m Freestyle junior world crown.
The 17 year old Sydneysider smashed the 54 second barrier by touching the wall in a time of 53.71. By doing so Wunsch recorded the second fastest time ever posted in the blue ribbon event at junior worlds.
To put Wunsch’s powerhouse performance into perspective, her time would have been good enough to finish in seventh place at the recent open world championships in Fukuoka, Japan.
Following in Wunsch’s slipstream was fellow Aussie, Milla Jansen, who claimed second place with a personal best time of 54.08.
“I just came to this meet looking for some more international exposure,” Wunsch told World Aquatics. “So, I’m really happy with the race I put together and really happy with Australia’s depth in the 100m Freestyle and the performance Milla put in out there.”
Wunsch, who learnt to swim as a seven year old at Carlile Swimming in Ryde, then backed up 25 minutes later to take her place in an Australian team that finally defeated the United States of America in a relay after three successive silver medals.
Wunsch, Flynn Southam, Edward Sommerville and Milla Jansen won gold in the Mixed 4 x 100m Freestyle Relay in 3:24.29 – a time which smashed the world junior record set in 2019 by almost two seconds. America came second in a time of 3:25.59, while Canada claimed the bronze.
Earlier in the night NSWIS scholarship athlete Bella Grant finished third in the 200m backstroke final.
Australia is placed second on the medal tally (behind the USA) with four gold, six silver and two bronze.
Daniel Lane, NSWIS