Cooee - We're with you

10 October 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: Cooooeeeee.

A traditional Australian call that carries over kilometres of bush and outback trails. And a call that can cut through the pumping music, blaring crowd announcer and thousands screaming Argentinian fans at the Buenos Aires Youth Olympic pool.

It’s a call that lets the Australian swimmers know they’re not alone.

Imagine standing on the blocks in a packed stadium, cameras trained on you, a blur of colours and sounds from the stands. It can be a solitary place. But not for Team Australia.

Backstroker Lewis Blackburn said hearing the Cooee ring out from the marshalling area, the warm up pool or the stands lets him know he’s not alone on the blocks.

“The Cooee call lets us know we’re with each other, we’re all watching and ready to go,” Blackburn said.

“We all want to be connected. When you hear that you know the whole team is behind you and with you.

“When our coach Jim brought it up he talked about how when you hear the call, no matter how far away you know you’ve got someone on your side.”

Men's 4x100m freestyle relay

Two-time YOG silver medallist Chelsea Hodges heard the Cooee ringing out just before she launched off the blocks in her silver medal-winning 50m breaststroke final.

“It’s been really cool to hear to Cooee before every race. I could hear it even starting from the far end for my 50m breaststroke,” she said. “This team has a really special bond.”

This bond has been forged over multiple competitions, YOG training and sharing Village life and is clear to see in the swimmers’ reactions to their teammates.

Fresh after winning Australia’s first medal of the Games, a bronze in the 200m butterfly, 16-year-old Michaela Ryan was ushered behind the scenes and missed teammate Hodges’ silver medal swim. Her reaction at hearing Chelsea had claimed silver was even more excited than at her own fantastic result.

“Oh my god that is amazing,” Ryan gushed, smiling broadly. “I missed her race, oh that is so incredible.”

A team that finds as much joy in the success of their teammates than their individual glory exemplifies the Australian Olympic spirit on display in Buenos Aires.

And it can be summed up with a Cooee.

Dom Sullivan

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