Australian Olympian Isaac Cooper Out of 2022 Commonwealth Games

2022 World Championship finalist Isaac Cooper will not represent Australia at the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

Cooper, 18, was sent home from the Australian team training camp in Spain following some “wellbeing challenges” that included the use of medication, according to a statement from Swimming Australia.

“He has acknowledged his mistakes and accepted the consequences, and Swimming Australia will continue to support him as he addresses these challenges,” the statement said.

“The welfare of our athletes remains our absolute priority. Swimming Australia is vigilant in educating athletes of their obligations under the National Integrity Framework and will continue to provide all necessary support to ensure they uphold the highest standards and behaviours when representing Australia.”

Swimming Australia had a run of problems with abuse of the prescription medication Stilnox among its athletes, ultimately leading to the ban of the drug in 2014 by the organization. A spokesperson for the organization told SwimSwam on Tuesday that the medication being used by Cooper was not Stilnox, but did not provide further detials.

Swimming Australia also announced that Para swimmer Tim Disken would miss the Games after experiencing a setback in his recovery from a recent surgery.

Cooper was a favorite to win multiple medals in Birmingham, coming in as the #1 ranked swimmer from a Commonwealth country in both the men’s 50 back (24.44) and 100 back (53.55) in 2022.

The Bundaberg, Queensland native had a breakout year in 2021, qualifying for the Australian Olympic team in the men’s 100 backstroke. He went on to place 12th in the 100 back in Tokyo, setting a personal best time of 53.43, and also won a bronze medal as a member of the prelim team in the mixed 400 medley relay.

At the 2022 Australian Championships in May, Cooper set a new Aussie National Record in the men’s 50 backstroke, recording a time of 24.44, and also won the 100 back to qualify for the World Championships in two individual events.

At last month’s Worlds in Budapest, Cooper placed eighth in the 50 back and 12th in the 100 back while adding a silver medal after swimming the heats for the Australian mixed medley relay.

Disken, 25, is a four-time Paralympic medalist, including winning gold at the 2016 Games in the men’s 100 freestyle S9.

At the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Disken won a pair of titles in the 100 free S9 and the 100 breaststroke SB7.

The pool swimming competition at the 2022 Commonwealth Games will run from July 29 – August 3 in Birmingham, England.

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Troyy
4 months ago

So Cooper denies it was a banned substance in an IG post but otherwise the medication is still unknown. Also says that he’s leaving Rackley.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CgSj0J2hXCO/

makeswimmingclean
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

interesting to note how many swimmers have TUE’s nowadays too. taking banned medications has basically become fine, most doctors are willing to hand out prescription for anything. sad to see to be honest.

Troyy
4 months ago

Entry lists are up for Comm Games.

https://results.birmingham2022.com/#/athletic-sports-entries/SWM/*

McIntosh chose the 400 IM over 200 FR. Full lineup 200/400 IM, 400 FR, 200 FL plus relays.

McKeown is entered in both IMs and all 3 backs.

McKeon in 50/100 FR, 50/100 FL plus all relays
O’Callaghan in 100/200 FR, 50/100 BK plus relays

Scott in 100/200 FR, 200 FL, 200 IM, 400 IM plus relays

Verram
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

thanks for the heads up. Its weird seeing SC times being used as entry times like Kyle Chalmers swimming 44.84 in 100m freestyle and Emma McKeon 23.5 in 50 free

Jamesabc
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

That’s really odd. Especially because Emma’s 23.8 LCM is way better than a 23.5 SCM.

EDIT: I think it must be a mistake. They used Emma’s 100 free LCM time despite her SCM time being significantly faster. I wonder what happened?

Last edited 4 months ago by Jamesabc
Jamesabc
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Other points of interest:

Chalmers: 100 Free, 50/100F Fly, 100, M100 and Medley relay. No surprise that he’s out of the 200 really. Looks like he is dropping it completely going forward, even as a relay prospect.

Hodges: 50 and 100 breast, but cut from the relay for Strauch. I guess that’s not totally unexpected but I wonder how each of their form is looking given that Hodges didn’t need to taper for Worlds and Strauch did.

Jack: 50 and 100 free, and women’s free relay.

Madi Wilson: Only entered in the 200 and 200 relay, which is a bit of a step down from Budapest.

RELAYS

W100 Free: Wilson out for McKeon.
M100 Free: Southam replaces Cartwright. Temple… Read more »

Verram
Reply to  Jamesabc
4 months ago

a lot of the relays would probably not require a heats substitute as its straight finals maybe? therefore i am not surprised Strauch got picked over Hodges as her Worlds performance and winning Trials this year is probably enough to convince selectors

Jamesabc
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

The three women’s relays have under 8 entrants so won’t require heats, but every male and mixed relay will have heats.

Most countries have nominated more than four entrants per relay, while Australia has strictly stayed with four for every relay. I’m not sure why. Perhaps heat swimmers don’t need to be nominated in advance? But if you can nominate more than four, wouldn’t it make sense to keep your options open?

Specifically in terms of Hodges and Strauch, surely they would take into account current form?

Troyy
Reply to  Jamesabc
4 months ago

They could’ve included Cartwright given the heats for the 4×100 free.

Ailin
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Can’t do that. Cartwright’s not on the team. They took 46 athletes which is the max

Last edited 4 months ago by Ailin
Troyy
Reply to  Ailin
4 months ago

That’s what I mean. They should’ve selected him.

Troyy
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

Some relays will have heats.

Men

4×100 free: 15 teams
4×200 free: 10 teams (maybe 10 lane final?)
4×100 medley: 12 teams

Women
4×100 free: 7 teams
4×200 free: 5 teams
4×100 medley: 7 teams

Mixed
4×100 free: 20 teams
4×100 medley: 19 teams

So all the women’s relays and maybe the men’s 4×200 free will be straight to final.

flicker
Reply to  Jamesabc
4 months ago

didn’t realise they had the relay teams up. I’m assuming Australia only entered who they think the finals team would be? because surely they’d still like to rest people like Emma and Mollie when we have countless other 100/200 freestylers on the team especially when a few of these relays have WR potential. Interesting though that they didn’t put Madi on the 4×1 finals team though, I know she was 4th at trials but her relay splits at worlds were more impressive than Meg’s

Troyy
Reply to  Jamesabc
4 months ago

Hodges could probably still get the medley relay spot if she delivers in the individual.

McKeon must definitely be in form if they’re intending to use her in the 4×200 with so many other options. Her program is HUGE with all those relays in a 6 day meet.

Sub13
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

I hope so! She’s basically the only swimmer who hasn’t had to taper yet this year at all so hopefully she saved it all for CGs. A Tokyo level McKeon basically puts 3 relay world records on the table.

Robbos
Reply to  Jamesabc
4 months ago

Maddi cam 4th at trials, which meant with McKeon in, she bumped to 5th.
So she misses out in 4X100 free with Mckeon coming in
Also misses out in 4×100 mixed free, as she was only subbing for an injured Jack & with McKeon back both misses out.

Troyy
Reply to  Robbos
4 months ago

I hope they’ll be more flexible with their relay selections than just using the top X from trials because Madi was in better form than Jack and Harris at WCs so the 100 free form chart is probably something like:

  1. McKeon
  2. O’Callaghan
  3. Wilson
  4. Jack
  5. Harris

It’s possible Harris will get bumped instead and there’s also two prelim spots for the mixed 4×100 free.

Robbos
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Not doubting that. I don’t know how they would be able to tell who is in form, unless they do a time trial with no heats.
I don’t know how they will do it, maybe just justifying the trials results as they will win both 4x 100 & 4x 200 pretty easily.

flicker
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

suppose that means Atherton is on the heats of the mixed medley then if Cooper is out and MOC is doing the 50 back?

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

What’re the odds McKeown swims all those events?

Idk how entries work for this meet – are they super locked in? – but I hope she does!

Troyy
Reply to  Steve Nolan
4 months ago

Well she already said after trials that she’d only be swimming the 4IM at Commies and 2IM at Worlds so it wouldn’t surprise for her to drop the 2IM.

Jamesabc
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

She quite possibly could drop it… but she might not. No semifinal and she’s more than 0.5 faster than anyone else in the field. Even with a poor swim she should medal, and a great swim would almost certainly win it.

Troyy
Reply to  Jamesabc
4 months ago

I think McIntosh could really surprise in the 2IM and her program is perfect with no doubles and even a day off after the 4IM so she should be very fresh for the 2IM.

Troyy
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Individual entries in an easier to read format: https://pastebin.com/w4Gq9gbP

Robbos
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Thanks Troyy.

timos
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

Regarding relays, are they required to stick to the swimmers that are entered or could they change line-ups on the scene? Because Isaac Cooper is the sole backstroker entered in men’s medley relay for Australia.

Emily Se-Bom Lee
Reply to  timos
4 months ago

they should be able to change the lineup, unless the rules changed since 2018. In 2018, C2 ended up swimming the medley relay by virtue of her 100 free win. Since C1 had the fastest 100 free time of 2018 until commonwealth games and was consistently beating C2 up to that point, I’d find it hard to believe that C2 was initially on the medley relay

XYZ
4 months ago

I can’t say much but this isn’t what it seems. It absolutely doesn’t involve PEDs (if it did that would have been reported), and it is much more complicated than just a team member randomly taking a medication.

Verram
4 months ago

I think they just have to become more transparent about these things. Enough of the smoke and mirrors, just tell everyone what transpired instead of it blowing up later on as a “toxic culture” scenario for the Aussie team

torchbearer
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

True, but kudos for them for acting fast and decisively. Shows a zero tolerance policy in action.

Jojorab
4 months ago

What that even means??

OOGA BOOGA
Reply to  Jojorab
4 months ago

He was probably caught taking PEDs? (it says use of medication) only thing that comes to mind if he was sent home.

Sub13
Reply to  OOGA BOOGA
4 months ago

He wasn’t. You don’t think that would have been made expressly clear?

Taa
Reply to  Sub13
4 months ago

Like it was with Shayna Jack?

Robbos
Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

No wrong!!!! Shayna Jack was just sent home, no reason (personal). Huge difference here.
He has been disciplined for abuse of prescription medication!!!!

Jamesabc
Reply to  Taa
4 months ago

Shayna announced she was leaving for personal reasons and the real reason was leaked within hours. If Swimming Australia caught Cooper using or attempting to use PEDs then they would need to report that to FINA/WADA immediately. Why would swimming Australia say “use of medication” and not mention that it was PEDs that would get him banned for years. They would just say nothing. It doesn’t make sense.

PhillyMark
Reply to  Jojorab
4 months ago

1st thing that popped in my mind was he took a xanax

Troyy
Reply to  Jojorab
4 months ago

News Corp had been contacted by an anonymous source claiming there had been a repeat of the infamous stilnox episode that crippled the Australian swim team on the eve of the London Olympics a decade ago.

While team officials strongly deny that stilnox is at the source of this incident, the decision to immediately send home the backstroke champion indicates a zero tolerance approach from officials at the team staging camp in France.

From an Australian news website (paywalled).

Verram
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

How does an 18yr old obtain stillnox ? Did someone prescribe it to him or give it to him within the team? That means someone else is responsible as well

Sub13
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

There’s a lot more to this story and it doesn’t involve PEDs

Last edited 4 months ago by Sub13
Verram
Reply to  Sub13
4 months ago

I think the powers that be are trying to keep it on a down-low so as not to derail the Comm Games preparations but I am aware there’s more to the “wellbeing challenges” story

SHRKB8
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

Almost guaranteed more than just 1 involved. Such a shame to be misguided and make wrong decisions that shape the course of your future at such a young age (but Isaac is at the age where these impulsive misdirected decisions are made by young Men all around the world).

Isaac, if you read this – stay strong and true to your family values. The people who love you the most will be the ones to get you through this mate, you are principally a good young man and in the right environment with all your support, you will overcome this event.

Verram
Reply to  SHRKB8
4 months ago

I think what didn’t help was the 1 month downtime between worlds and Comm games .. for a young man that’s too tempting not to let loose and be tempted by things

SHRKB8
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

Agreed.

MIKE IN DALAS
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

If he can’t control, or chooses not to control, his ‘temptations’ as you state, then by all means Swim Australia was right to send him home. May I suggest that if he doesn’t have that level of discipline, then, indeed, he has no place at such a prestigious event. He’s an adult and deserves the rights and responsibilities of his age.

Swimmer
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

He’s not just a young man, he’s a professional athlete. It sounds like the rest of the team managed.

Verram
Reply to  Swimmer
4 months ago

But practically speaking how did he obtain the so-called medication ? Are you 100% certain everyone in the team is innocent ?

makeswimmingclean
Reply to  Verram
4 months ago

i agree, hes an 18 year old overseas- probably wouldnt have the connections to find prescription medicine illegally for himself,.

Admin
Reply to  Troyy
4 months ago

We were also given the tip that it was Stilnox, probably from the same anonymous source, and also received the denial.

It’s rare for PR people to flat out lie. They’ll avoid and weasel word, but not usually just straight out deny like that.

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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