Aussie Sprint Prodigy Flynn Southam Talks Opting Out Of Trials


The 2021 Swimming Australia Olympic Trials are nearly upon us, with action kicking off in South Australia this Saturday, June 12th. Although some names were missing from the initial draft of the start list and have since been added, such as freestyle ace Clyde Lewis, one newcomer has remained off the finalized list in the form of Flynn Southam.

Last December 15-year-old Southam broke through in a big way, firing off a big lifetime best of 49.66 in the men’s 100m freestyle at the Queensland Championships. Splitting 24.51/25.14, the Bond University Swimming Club athlete’s time overtook the Australian Age Record, a time which stood at the 49.68 Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers put up at that age.

Prior to this December performance, Southam had never before been under the 50-second mark, let alone the 52-second mark.

At the time, Southam told SwimSwam,“I knew going into the meet that my 100 free was going to be a good race. I was and still am confident in my skills, race plan and my abilities come race day because I trained to outwork my potential every day and was just trying to be a better athlete/person than what I was yesterday.”

Then in April of this year, Southam sliced some more time off of that PB, checking with a swift 49.55 at the Australian Age Group Championships. As such, along the lines of Romania’s 16-year-old David Popovici and Great Britain’s 16-year-old Jacob Whittle, eyes were on Southam to see what the kid could produce at Trials with such a trajectory.

Flash forward to last week, however, and Southam’s social media account rendered a post indicating, “I’m Back”. That paired with the fact he is missing from the Trials’ start lists prompted us to find out more.

“The love from swimming has been absent recently,” he told SwimSwam a few days ago. “I’ve recently been feeling burnt out because I’m trying to win now. I am trying to develop into a swimmer that can swim at an elite international level for 10-15 years.”

But, he says, “my love has come back, therefore, ‘I’m back.’

Southam says he will indeed not be racing in South Australia next week but will instead be focusing on World Junior Championships-level competitions and not vying for an Olympic bid for the Tokyo Games.

We reported just earlier this month that FINA has decided to postpone the 2021 World Junior Swimming Championships until August 2022. The event was originally scheduled for August 24-29, 2021 in Kazan, Russia, but will instead be held during yet-announced dates in August of 2022.

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13 days ago

Good for him. Glad to see he see he found his love for the sport first, instead of forcing himself to do something that could have driven that passion away even more.

tea rex
13 days ago

Ok, but my question is about that picture. What is he doing? Pretty much his whole head and whole body is underwater. He’s not breaking out, unless he does 20 meter + underwaters.

And if his head is not ready for Trials, that’s fine. He’ll have other chances.

Reply to  tea rex
13 days ago

Speaking of the picture, at first glance it looks like he has “ET” fingers on his right hand! Extra hold on the water, eh? Lack of bubbles in catch is pretty impressive.

Reply to  tea rex
12 days ago

do not appreciate the tone of this comment g

Reply to  tea rex
12 days ago

Just about to turn?

Reply to  tea rex
12 days ago

Or maybe his coach said “jump in the pool and do a lap. Swimswam needs a photo for an article”

13 days ago

Wow. Australian swimming pressure! Mighty quick ‘love of the sport’ turnaround. Hope he can fully enjoy his skill and competitive opportunities over time. Interested to know how much was his self-analysis and how much was input from others. Unless he was ready for another significant drop he was unlikely to make their team but it is surprising he wouldn’t try to see what he could have done in a setting against the big boys. It is like he is planting a seed of self-doubt which may come back to bite him later in his career. If he gave it a go and missed it would be easy to look back and chalk it up to his age; if he chooses… Read more »

Corn Pop
Reply to  mds
12 days ago

Blahblahblah. He is not public property . More interestingly is will he go to the newly invigorated Miami club that now has hopefully gotten rid of those toxic parents , or stay with Bond ?

Last edited 12 days ago by Corn Pop

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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