IRON MAN: Charlie Steele broke 50m freestyle record at the Grafton Pool set in 1956 by John Henricks.
IRON MAN: Charlie Steele broke 50m freestyle record at the Grafton Pool set in 1956 by John Henricks. Adam Hourigan

Grafton's man of Steele breaks 60-year pool record

SWIMMING: Grafton swimmer Charlie Steele would love history to repeat after he slashed a 60-year-old Grafton Swim Club record set by Olympic golden boy Jon Henricks.

The sizzling swim was the perfect boost for Steele, 16, who will line up in the heats of the 50m freestyle at the Australian Aged Swimming Championship in Adelaide this week.

Sixty years ago Hendricks was part of a touring squad of Olympic swimmers preparing for the Melbourne Games by swimming in regional pools around the country.

Henricks contested the 50m freestyle at a Grafton club meet and won in 25.60 seconds. He went on to win Olympic gold in the 100m freestyle in Melbourne and was a member of the all-conquering 4x200m men's relay team.

On Wednesday Steele bettered Henricks' mark by almost half a second, clocking 25.11s.

"I had actually swum a PB that was faster than the record before but not at Grafton," Steele said.

"I swam even faster on Wednesday. That 25.11 is my new PB."

Steele said he did not know who Henricks was until after he broke the record.

"I walked up to the table with my time and they said it was a new record, so they put a circle around the name," he said.

"Then my coaches (Alan Paterson and Jo Clare) came over, all excited.

"They asked me if they realised whose record I'd broken but I'd never heard the name Jon Henricks."

Steele said setting the new record was the perfect confidence booster leading into national titles but pointed out that freestyle is not his main focus.

"I would say the 100m butterfly is my best event," he said.

With a PB of 58.89s in the fly Steele conceded he is a second or two off the pace to make the finals.

"I'm looking to swim my best at the nationals and be proud of what I achieve," he said.

"If I can get my time under 58 seconds that would be ideal."

Steele said after achieving his goal of making the national age titles this year, he has his sights on the National Open Championships next year.

"If you swim well there you have a chance of making the national team," he said.

"That gives you the chance to get into the Australian team for the World Championships."

Steele will compete in the 50m freestyle heats tomorrow morning with the butterfly on Thursday.



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