Torrie Lewis has already cemented her status as the fastest woman in the country but fellow Australian sprinter Rohan Browning suggests she's only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible. It's a scary prospect for Lewis's rivals that the 19-year-old 100m national record holder is only in the early stages of her development and likely to smash more records as she gets even better.
Lewis just won the 200m sprint event at the Adelaide Invitational on Saturday by nearly half a second ahead of her rivals, in a run that left veteran caller Bruce McAvaney almost lost for words. That stunning display came just two weeks after Lewis broke Melissa Breen's national 100m record with a scorching run of 11.10 seconds in Canberra.
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It also meant Lewis surpassed Olympic great Raelene Boyle's Australian under-20 record of 11.20 which had stood since 1968. Understandably, the extraordinary rise of the teen sprint sensation has seen Lewis become the talk of the Australian athletics world - something Browning knows plenty about as the fastest man in the country.
What a weekend for women in sport! 💪
Teen phenom Torrie Lewis set a new national record in the women's 100m dash at the ACT Championships yesterday, clocking 11.10 seconds (+1.6), breaking the Australian women's record by 0.01 seconds. #9News
MORE: https://t.co/Pww1UwPbRg pic.twitter.com/Yrlj4Nd4Oy
— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) January 28, 2024
Rohan Browning excited by rise of Torrie Lewis
"I think Torrie is a great upcoming talent; she's young, and to break the national record is really strong," Browning told reporters on Tuesday in the lead-up to Thursday's Maurie Plant Meet in Melbourne, where Lewis will have another crack at the 100m record. "She's in a really good position to develop over the long term."
Last year, Browning recorded the fastest ever 100m time by an Australian on home soil when he crossed the line in 10.02, just one-hundredth of a second outside his personal best. The 26-year-old rocketed to stardom before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, where he made the semi-finals of the 100m after beating former world champion Yohan Blake to win his heat.
In a tantalising prospect about just how much better and faster Lewis can go, Browning says it takes years of dedication to the craft to "reap the benefits". Browning believes he's hitting his peak as a sprinter at the age of 26, in what is surely exciting news for 19-year-old Lewis.
"We're in this sport and it takes a long time," Browning added. "I'm in my 10th year of being a full-time athlete, training six days a week, totally devoted to the sport, and I feel that I'm just getting to reap the benefits. I feel like every year has been about learning and developing. Now I feel like I'm entering the peak years and I'm 26, so I should be."
Rohan Browning confident ahead of Melbourne meet
Browning will compete in the 100m and 200m events at Melbourne's Maurie Plant Meet on Thursday night, in what will be his first serious hit-outs of the year. Browning's dream is to qualify for the 100m final at this year's Paris Olympic Games, with everything he does between now and then aimed at maximising his chances.
"I'm definitely the strongest I've ever been - all my training data suggests I'm in the best shape I've ever been," Browning added. "The key thing is, can you do it when it counts, in competition? I've been trying to work on that mental side. Last year I was very technically oriented all the time.
"(But) you can't focus on those fine motor skills when you're trying to massively exert power in this really graceful way." Browning and his coach Andrew Murphy have settled on a lighter racing program heading into the Paris Games, including just three home meets, a few events in Asia, the World Relays in the Bahamas and perhaps a couple of events in Europe.
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