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Griffith and McSweyn in hot form

Sunday, 17 June 2018 | Pat Birgan



On Saturday, Georgia Griffith shattered her personal best in the 800m with 2:00.13 at the Stumptown Twilight Meet in Portland USA.

The time was the fastest by an Australian for 10 years and moved the Victorian to seventh place on the all-time list as she threatened the 2-minute barrier that just six other Australians have bettered.

The state of Oregon is a mecca for many middle distance runners throughout the world and Griffith has made her own pilgrimage there for the second year in a row and it has paid dividends again. At last year’s Portland Track Festival she broke 2.01 for the first time with 2.00.91.

Back in 2014, in Eugene, 2 hours south of Portland, she was in outstanding form as she placed fourth in the IAAF World Junior Championships in a lifetime best of 2.04.00. In April at the Commonwealth Games, Griffith made an impressive showing in front of the home crowd with yet another personal best of 2.00.73 to place third in her heat.

On another continent 8500km away, Tasmanian Stewart McSweyn’s own hot form continued with yet another personal best and Tasmanian record, this time over 1500m with a sensational 3.34.82 to win in Tubingen, Germany. The King Islander slashed his personal best by more than 4 seconds as he became the tenth fastest Australian of all time.

The performance comes just over one week after the Nic Bideau trained athlete placed second in the 10,000m at the Oslo Diamond League. 

The King Islander now owns state records at distances from 1500m to 10,000m including the 3000m steeplechase and rivals Aussie distance kings Collis Birmingham, Shaun Creighton, Ben St Lawrence and Craig Mottram with his range and quality of performances.

In the 800m, training mates Peter Bol and Joseph Deng went one-two again just 7 days after their personal best setting runs in Stockholm. At the innovative Soundtrack Tubingen meet, where a Live-DJ and a professional dance group provides a unique racing experience, the Justin Rinaldi charges showed they are well into a new groove of their own with good form and consistency. Here the pair ran outstanding times of 1.45.41 and 1.45.70 which just a few months ago represented near or bang on their lifetime bests, yet such is their stupendous form this international campaign that the duo found themselves 0.85s and 1.09s adrift respectively of that new level.

In the women’s 800m Queenslander Brittany McGowan ran 2.01.78 to place fifth.

In Bern, Switzerland Ryan Gregson had a commanding win over 1500m in 3:37.68 with Jordy Williamsz second in 3:40.33. Meanwhile, Joshua Ralph was runner-up in the 800m in 1:48.27

Stumptown Twilight Meet in Portland USA
Zach Facioni 3:42.94 (junior) PB
Charlie Hunter 3:42.29
Jaryd Clifford (junior) 3:46.46
Phil Saunders 3:48.41
Isobel Batt-Doyle 4:17.80

Australian All-Time List – Women 800m
1.59.0h Charlene Rendina V 28 Feb 76
1.59.21 Tamsyn Lewis V 15 Jan 00
1.59.73 Margaret Crowley V 13 Jul 96
1.59.8h Susan Andrews W 15 Jul 00
1.59.92 Madeleine Pape V 16 Feb 08
1.59.93 Judy Pollock V 14 Jul 76
2:00.13 Georgia Griffith V 15 Jun 18
2.00.17 Sharon Stewart V 6 Jul 91
2.00.2h Kaylene Coster N 24 Mar 84
2.00.23 Heather Barralet Q 6 Mar 84
2.00.24 Brittany McGowan Q 18 Feb 18

Pat Birgan for Athletics Australia
Superlatives and statistics courtesy David Tarbotton


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