Meg Bailey in Games contention

AMBITION: Meg Bailey has the Commonwealth Games in her sights. Pictures: Jonathan Carroll BOOST: Meg Bailey in training at Arnold’s Swim Centre, The Junction.

COACH Shane Arnold has set the Commonwealth Games trials as a target for Meg Bailey after the 16-year-old was named female swimmer of the meet at the NSW Country short course championship.

Bailey won gold in the open 200 metres individual medley and 200 metres butterfly, and took silver in the 100 metres butterfly and 800 metres freestyle at Sydney Olympic Aquatic Centre at the weekend.

The double gold was Bailey’s first major success at open level and a big confidence boost ahead of the state and national shortcourse championships to be held in the next two months.

The ultimate goal is the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow next year.

“The 200-metre medley and fly are her strengths,” Arnold said.

“‘With Stephanie Rice [medley] and Jessicah Lee Schipper [butterfly] retiring, there is an opening in both.

“Meg went two [minutes] twelve [seconds] in the fly and has to break two ten.

“In the medley, she went two thirteen and has to do two ten.”

Though delighted with her performance, Bailey said there was a lot of room for improvement.

“I was happy with times – it shows the hard work is paying off,” the Francis Xavier year-11 student said

“Shane has set the Commonwealth Games trials as a goal. It would be a good experience and chance to see how I compare against the big girls.”

Until now, Bailey’s focus had been on age championships and Arnold said the NSW State Open Short Course (July 19-20) and Australian Short Course (August 23- 25) titles were a chance to gain valuable experience.

“The Australian team are away at the World Championships and it will be a pretty low-key meet and a chance to have a taste at open level and win,” he said.

Bailey’s dominant performance helped steer the Hunter Swim Club to the teams title.

Hunter finished on 2248 points, 433 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Kincumber Pacific Dolphins and Mingara.

Apart from Bailey, Erin Killey won gold in the 800 metres freestyle.

Her brother Jarrod Killey, who is off to Barcelona next week for the World Championships, finished first in the 200 metres freestyle.

Dean Mackay took out the 200 metres fly and 50 metres fly and was runner-up in the 100 metres fly.

Rani West won gold in the girls’ 14 years 100 metres backstroke, was second in the 13-14 years 200 metres backstroke and third in the 14 years 100 metres freestyle.

In the junior events, Jesse Fayers and Michaela Hazell dominated, with Fayers winning the 12 and under 200 metres freestyle and the 12 years 100 metres freestyle, and placed third in the 11-12 years 50 metre freestyle and the 12 and under 200 metres individual medley.

Hazell was first in the 11 years and 50 metres backstroke, 11 years and under 50 metres breaststroke and the 12 years and under 100 metres breaststroke. She finished second in the 12 and under 200 metres breaststroke, 11-12 years 50 metres freestyle and 12 years and under 100 metres backstroke and third in the 11 years 100 metres butterfly.

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