Swimming Australia had a positive start to the 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships on Sunday, putting 6 individuals and 2 relays into evening swims. The results are encouraging for a country that has struggled over the last several years to put together peak performances on the world stage.
Below are a selection of soundbites from Australia’s swimmers after prelims.
- Mack Horton, after qualifying 5th for 400 free final in 3:45.60: “Tonight I want to race the clock and see just how fast I can go. You always feel better once you get the first swim out of the way, blow out the cobwebs. I was going for top two (in the heats) and it was just that close of a finish that he just caught me out,” Horton said of finishing third in his heat.”
- David McKeon on training under his new coach Michael Bohl, after qualifying 3rd for finals in 3:45.46: “It’s been a good change swimming with Bohly, I’m really enjoying it, Bohly has really pushed me through a lot more than I ever thought, so I’m really happy. That last seeded heat was very bunched… It was going to be a strong heat and I knew that so I knew I had to get out comfortable and hold it together throughout that back end.”
- Long Course Worlds rookie Ariarne Titmus after qualifying 3rd in the 400 free in 4:04.26, a new Aussie junior record: “I knew I would have to treat this like a final to make the final, and I wasn’t really expecting to go that fast so hopefully tonight with a bit of adrenaline and a bit more nerves I’ll be able to go a bit quicker.”
- Titmus on racing the World Record holder Katie Ledecky: “It’s not that bad, it’s quite cool actually, it’s good to have her next to me in the race to see how I’m going, but she’s just another swimmer like me.”
- Emma McKeon, one of Australia’s most successful swimmers in Rio with 4 medals, after tying her personal best in prelims with a 56.81 for the 3rd seed: “For a 56.81 that felt pretty easy, so I’m happy with that! It was pretty good for a heat swim, it’s the quickest I’ve been in the morning by at least half a second. I think doing that swim in the heat gives me confidence for the rest of the week, first swim is always a bit nerve-wracking not knowing how you’re going to go but now that I’ve done a good one on my first one, it makes me more confident about my training over the last six months.”
- McKeon on racing in Europe before Worlds: “It was really nice doing all that racing (in Europe) and I think that has probably helped me to be relaxed now because I’ve done 3 or 4 meets racing all the same girls that I wouldn’t normally get to race until I’m here now, so it’s definitely helped. This is probably the most relaxed I’ve ever felt coming into a meet.”
- McKeon on her race plan for Sunday’s semi-finals: “Tonight in that back 25m I will need to keep pushing through because I kind of kept it at the same rate for that whole last 50, so I can probably pick it up tonight. My goal was to make it through to the semi in a high position, so I’m ranked third and pretty happy with that.”
- Brianna Throssell, a 200m specialist, on the surprise of advancing to the 100 fly final (she qualified 16th): “I’m really happy, I didn’t really expect to make the semi-final so going through in 16th I’m really happy with that.”