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Swimmers ready for final session

22 August 2014

SWIMMING: Australia is in the running for four more medals on the last day of the swimming competition at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

In the morning session on Friday, Nic Groenewald qualified sixth for the men’s 200m backstroke final and the mixed 4x100m medley relay team finished third in a tough heat to make the final.

Ami Matsuo (50m freestyle) and Brianna Throssell (100m butterfly) had already qualified for the finals and will also race in the final session of swimming tonight.

Groenewald says narrowly missing the finals in two other events throughout week really helped motivate him in the pool today.

Clocking a time of 2:01.82, just under his personal best, the 17-year-old Victorian qualified sixth in the 200m backstroke and says he still has plenty left in the tank.

“I didn’t work my underwaters as well as I probably should have, and I think in the third 50m I sort of relaxed a little bit too much, so I have a bit left to put in that middle hundred,” the Victorian said.

“It would be nice to get in the medal chances. I think I just really want to do the best that I can. I was a little disappointed with my results earlier in the week, just coming ninth sucks even though I did a PB, so hopefully I can just squeeze into a medal- that would be really nice.”

It is the same mentality for the mixed 4x100m relay team who swam a consistent race to touch the wall in third with a time of 3:55.34, not far behind powerhouses Russia and China who have dominated the pool this meet.

Featuring Amy Forrester, Grayson Bell, Throssell and Kyle Chalmers in the morning session, the final team is not yet decided, with coach Tracey Menzies saying there is an immense amount of tactics involved in swimming- especially in a relay.

“When looking at tonight, we’ve also got to look at how we can protect the rest of the team- the ones that are racing tonight, and not putting the onus on them that they have to stand up and perform after standing up and doing their individual event. So when you have to select the team, it’s not just about what somebody can do, it’s about what they can give for the team as well,” Menzies said.

“All of them have shown that they can give, so that’s what makes it hard with selections. But picking two males and two females has definitely been a challenge in its own right.”

In other events, South Australian Ella Bond just missed out on qualifying for the women’s 200m breaststroke with a time of 2:35.39.

Similarly, Western Australian, Nic Brown failed to match the rest of the pack in the men’s 200m butterfly, finishing just outside the top eight in 2:02.28.

Having now finished the individual portion of their swimming meet, both Bond and Brown say there is plenty to look forward to in the future.

“It makes me want to try even harder and try and get to that top level,” Bond said.

“I’m just like any other swimmer, everyone wants to make the Olympic Games. I’m no different- it is definitely a goal for me,” Brown added.

With the end looming, the eight member Australian Youth Olympic Swimming section is hoping to obtain that elusive gold or silver medal they are yet to take away from the meet- to add to their seven bronze medals. But Menzies says it is not all about the medals.

“First and foremost, our goal was to come here and do your best and all of them have improved on their rankings and improved on their times,” the Olympic coach said.

“We are chasing a PB, not necessarily the gold or silver, just a PB.”

Nevertheless, the Aussie swim team are showing enormous amounts of team spirit, not only encouraging each other in their individual events but also making sacrifices for the mixed relay team with hopes to do one better than bronze for Australia to cap off an otherwise successful meet, which Menzies says is the ultimate win for Australian swimming looking to Rio 2016.

“That’s testament of the character that we have developed here and I think that’s what is important going forward to Rio... these guys are prepared to make the sacrifices that are needed to be made to get that gold medal. I think that’s the sort of thing that I take away from this meet and I think we are in good hands when you’ve got athletes that go ‘I think we need to swim this swimmer to get the result we need’ -  that is taking ownership and they have definitely come together as team to get the best result.”

Tune in at 1800 (2000 AEST) to watch the Aussies go for gold in the last session of the swimming competition at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China.

You can catch all the action via the IOC’s YouTube Channel or at Olympics.org.

Laura Judd

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