Aussie Crowd Draws Rave Reviews On Day 1 of SC World Championships (Flash Quotes)


The Australian crowd was received with critical acclaim on the opening day of the Short Course World Championships in Melbourne, which are being held outdoors at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

It is the first time a World Championship event has taken place on Australian soil since Melbourne hosted the World Aquatics Championships in 2007.

Australian Lani Pallister brought the fans to their feet in the first final of the competition, winning gold in the women’s 400 freestyle in a personal best time of 3:55.04.

Pallister spoke on the excitement of racing at home and how she embraced the atmosphere during the finals session.

“My parents are in the stands and winning this first medal in front of a home crowd in Australia is special,” Pallister told World Aquatics after her victory. “I am pleased to get this win out of the way. I am far more comfortable in the 800m and 1500m distances, and this event was the one I was most concerned about.

“It was an amazing day and I was very very nervous this morning. I just wanted to be sure that Australia had a fun night tonight. It was the coolest environment. At the 300m mark I realized that I had legs and I made sure to use them and take a stab at the gold medal.”

Pallister, 20, also mentioned Katie Ledecky and how the greatest female swimmer of this generation has inspired her thus far in her career.

“It wasn’t that many years ago that I was watching Katie Ledecky like so many other little girls here tonight,” said Pallister. “She is an incredible athlete and has been an inspiration to me since I was 12 years old. Like others, I stepped out of the junior ranks and I have been fortunate to keep checking off boxes on this journey in my career.”

American Alex Walsh and Aussie Kaylee McKeown, who finished second and third in the women’s 200 IM, also spoke highly of the crowd.

“Honestly, this morning I saw there was a lot of people in the stands, when Kaylee (McKeown) walked out and I heard everyone cheering that was pretty awesome,” said Walsh. “It’s just so nice to have a crowd that loves swimming as much as Australia does, really, you guys are famous for that.”

McKeown, who broke her National Record en route to the bronze medal, added: “I love racing short (course). We don’t get to do it very often and to have it in your own country with a home crowd behind you is pretty spectacular.”

In the penultimate event of the night, the Australian women broke the world record in the 400 freestyle relay, finishing in a time of 3:25.43 to lower the previous mark of 3:26.53 by more than a second.

“To be able to do this in front of a home crowd was absolutely amazing,” said Madi Wilson, who split 51.28 swimming the second leg. “Thank you, Australia.”


Sates Opens Up On Doubts About Turning Pro

Matt Sates won an upset gold medal in the men’s 200 IM, breaking the African Record and becoming the #3 performer of all-time in 1:50.15.

“I genuinely don’t know what to say,” Sates said post-race. “I’m so pleased with this swim and want to thank everyone for coming out to watch us race.”

He continued to express his surprise in a press conference after the session.

“I wasn’t expecting a lot coming into the race,” he said. “In the ready room I was thinking about how fast and how far I can push my body.

“In 2021 and 2022 I earned a number of FINA Swimming World Cup medals, and while nice as they are, they are nothing in comparison to my first World Championship medal won in Melbourne tonight.”

Sates, 19, turned pro this year after just one semester in the NCAA with the University of Georgia, and spoke about the uncertainty he had when making the decision after his victory.

“It was a tough decision and of course, there were definitely some doubts about the decision but I stuck with it and luckily it turned out well,” he said.

“For me college was an obligation for both school and swimming. Going pro allowed me to focus on swimming for almost every minute of the day.

“We really haven’t really done anything different in our training but I have been able to focus more time on recovery, especially significant following the many World Cup events that I have swum again this year.”

Sates twice brought up how he keyed in on the breaststroke leg, and it paid off as his 31.70 split was the fastest in the field.

“This morning I really focused on the breaststroke leg and my kick and the glide and tonight I think that helped me improve my streaming speed.”

Foster Still Adjusting to SCM

Carson Foster, who won silver behind Sates in the event, was satisfied as a whole with his swim but said he’s still adjusting to short course meters.

“I am happy with it,” he said. “It was definitely a little bit sloppy and I think it kind of shows just a little bit of inexperience swimming short course and meters, because that’s something kind of new for the Americans.

“We swim short course yards so we’re still getting used to short course meters. It’s a couple more strokes per length and that kind of threw me off a little bit, but I’ll learn and I’ll be better next time.”

Finlay Knox Is Hungry

21-year-old Finlay Knox took bronze in the 200 IM in a new Canadian Record of 1:51.04, and was pumped up about how he was able to execute.

“I feel like this has been a long time coming,” said Knox.

“I struggled a bit, moving to a new team on the senior level. I was just trying to make finals and then make it up to the podium. It feels nice, and I was just so close to second.

“I’m hungry. And I’m just at the beginning.”

Damien Joly Reaps Rewards of Coaching Change

Damien Joly set a new French Record in the men’s 1500 freestyle, clocking 14:19.62 to take more than five seconds off his previous record and win the silver medal.

Joly recently made a coaching change and spoke about how it’s already paying off.

“It’s amazing I can’t believe it,” he said.

“I’m so happy swimming in Australia for the first time, and as a 30-year-old, and to get the silver medal. It is a personal best and a French National Record. It’s really a dream and now I’m excited to keep going until Paris 2024.

“I changed coaches, and after three months, I’m getting some very good results. I’m so happy about that and am hoping for great things in the future.”

Quotes courtesy of World Aquatics.

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1 year ago

It was pretty damn cold being part of that crowd BTW. Hoping for warmer temps soon but not today probably.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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