Aussies swimming into deep end of the medals

Daniel Dufty Roar Rookie

By Daniel Dufty, Daniel Dufty is a Roar Rookie

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Popular article! 4,483 reads

    Australia’s comeback kid, Geoff Huegill, is leading the way in the pool, and he is just one of many who have defied the odds for our proud nation.

    Skippy is one of the great stories, along with Kylie Palmer, who have come from the brink to be part of the 2010 Commonwealth Games swim team.

    After weighing 138 kilograms, Huegill was in no shape to return to the pool for Australia and there would have been many doubters. Pizza and beer was in the weekly diet in his five years away from competition.

    For an Olympic Medalist at 21 and world champion, Geoff has surprised not only himself but his country. He still has the power to get past the best, including South African Roland Schoeman and Kenyan Jason Dunford, and this was shown in his silver medal in the 50 metre butterfly final. Dunford hammered home with the win, but our boy was only .02 behind, which is nothing in swimming terms.

    Now he’s ranked No.3 in the world and has sights set on the 2012 London Olympic Games. From flab to looking the part, the transition is astounding.

    Kylie Palmer too has fought back to shake off and recover from major shoulder surgery to compete in the Delhi games. She won Australia’s first gold medal in Delhi from rock bottom. Having to learn to swim again, as she said, she hit the wall again and again until she was back to her best.

    After winning gold in Beijing with Stephanie Rice, Bronte Barratt and Linda MacKenzie in the 4×200 metre freestyle relay, it is sweet icing on the cake for Palmer. In her 200 metre freestyle final victory, a tough field was beaten including 400m and 800m champion Rebecca Adlington. No doubt the memory will be long lasting.

    As another comeback kid, Palmer did Australia proud.

    In the gold rush, it is the Australian never say die attitude which has again rose to the occasion. Huegill and Palmer fought back from adversity and went one better than they would have imagined. Boxing on, both worked hard and got back to their best and achieved the results.

    While the stories of Skippy and Kyle make the news, another comeback kid could have the front page story in time, with Libby Trickett planning to compete for Australia in London 2012.

    And the queen of the pool could have around her neck her fourth Olympic Gold.

    Another Comeback Kid could join in the party.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • October 7th 2010 @ 9:50am
      Derby County FC said | October 7th 2010 @ 9:50am | ! Report

      No wonder Australia get so many medals they are good at swimming. Four ways to have the same race over the same distance.

      I heard that the games commitee are bringing the same idea in on the athletics track, can’t wait for the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800, 1500m, 5000m and 10,00m sprint, hop, backwards and jumping.

      • Roar Rookie

        October 8th 2010 @ 6:01pm
        Daniel Dufty said | October 8th 2010 @ 6:01pm | ! Report

        Haha, like your work their Derby County FC!

    • October 7th 2010 @ 3:15pm
      Republican said | October 7th 2010 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

      Derby County FC

      Yes indeed and this is why Englands sporting power brokers are presently obsessed with the sport in ‘getting with the programme’ so to speak.

      They are spending a motsa on developing a swimming programme based on ours as well as poaching our coaches as does the rest of the world (NZ currently has at least three on their national campaign books) and sending their swimmers to train and compete here.

      The big difference however is that England don’t have swimming ingrained in their sporting psyche in developing a swimming culture as we do, so despite the dosh they pour into the sport presently, they are destined to play catch up for some time me thinks.

      In finishing, I note that Oz are also cleaning up on the track (cycling) and gymnastics, so I wouldn’t be too harsh on the great sport of swimming i.e. to say, constructive crit is one thing but sour grapes is another.


    • October 7th 2010 @ 3:22pm
      Republican said | October 7th 2010 @ 3:22pm | ! Report

      The actual state of swimming in this country is difficult to guage based on the CW games, which is by no means an accurate barometer or the global benchmark of the status of the sport internationally.

      I must say that with a number of very good swimmers not represented in the team, we seem to be travelling quite well, however at a Worlds or Olympics the story would be quite different I imagine, despite Oz swimming historically our biggest resource to gleaning Gold, Silver & Bronze.

      • October 7th 2010 @ 4:49pm
        DERBY COUNTY FC said | October 7th 2010 @ 4:49pm | ! Report


        With regards to cycling and gymnastics, GB has sent a very weakened team. I think the Euros are on in cycling so basically the c team is at the comm games.

        I’m not sure about gymnastics, i think GB did well at the olympics so i wonder what is happenng, i think the top gymnasts are not there either.

        As for swimming that is interesting, the development of the swim team has been the same as the cycling team and we quite clearly have the best cycling team in the world over recent years. Swimming has not worked out, give it a few years and i think we’ll really see some results.

        Actually just looked this up (from early September), explains a lot and i’m sure GB athletes would have cleaned up in gymnastics too, guess there are more important competitions.

        “World champion Beth Tweddle and Olympic bronze medallist Louis Smith will spearhead Great Britain’s charge at the World Championships in Rotterdam next month.

        Tweddle, who scooped world gold in the floor exercise in London last year, is also the European champion in both the floor and the asymmetric bars, leads an impressive women’s team, looking to improve on their European team silver in April.
        She will be joined by British champion Hannah Whelan and Becky Downie, as well as Nicole Hibbert, Danusia Francis and Jennifer Pinches.
        Smith meanwhile, leads the men’s squad in the absence of world all-around silver medallist Daniel Keatings, who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury at the start of the year.
        Joining Smith will be European bronze medallist Daniel Purvis, Kristian Thomas, Theo Seager, Sam Hunter and Ruslan Pantelymonov.

    • October 8th 2010 @ 2:24pm
      Republican said | October 8th 2010 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

      Derby County FC

      How are Everton travelling as a FC these days?

      Ta for that and all the best for your countries remaining CW Games campaign.

      Albion have always been a force in cycling and track and field and certainly come the Olympic games, will dominate us over all believe – with the exception of swimming i.e. despite getting much closer to us in that sport.

      Swimming is indeed our national sport when the criteria of participation at club level, patronage at meets, interest and knowledge are taken into account and this has been the case for yonks. Our pedigree and status in the sport defies our population so while other countries i.e Britain will continue to pour money into their programmes which we also do, Oz will remain competitive I believe based on this influential cultural factor. It is a way of life here.

      The U.S.A. and the very strong European and Eastern European Swimming teams along with China will make it tough for both Oz and GB to glean much in the way of medals in London I believe but you mob, with more funding and a larger population resource at your disposal should move ahead of Australia in swimming over the next decade if the intereest grows at the grass roots. This will begin to be evidenced as early as the London games if it isn’t already.

    • October 11th 2010 @ 11:03am
      Betty b said | October 11th 2010 @ 11:03am | ! Report

      hay Derby County FC – missed all this earlier so a tad belated, but nonetheless: UK has also borrowed a cycling coach from Aust and started doing fine with him in charge, but I think the competition is going to be close next time. Apart from the swimming and cycling coaches (we also have swimming coaches in US and China, but borrow their diving coaches) you guys have borrowed a heap of our sports administratrors and organisers to help out with London 2012. Good luck to you.

      • October 11th 2010 @ 3:40pm
        DERBY COUNTY FC said | October 11th 2010 @ 3:40pm | ! Report

        Betty b

        Oh for sure, GB is not ashamed to have taken coaches from wherever they can.

        Hopefully we’ll see medals in Swimming in London.

    • October 11th 2010 @ 12:12pm
      Republican said | October 11th 2010 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

      Betty b

      NZ are the biggest beneficiaries of Ozzie sporting nous, resources and personnel which is why they punch above their weight in so many sports, albeit they don’t like to admitt this.

      Of course they have a geographical advantage in tapping into our sporting culture and we continue to oblige them, affording them unconditional benevolence in this respect.

      • October 11th 2010 @ 12:18pm
        allblackfan said | October 11th 2010 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

        I dunno, Republican.
        Aust is getting some of our best RL playing talent (not to mention how the NRL uses the NZ Warriors as a stick with which to beat the AFL with). In rugby union, the Kiwi influence within Oz circles is growing (men’s and women’s) and the Aussie netball players have benefited from the transTasman competition that has given them more airtime (and bigger pay packets) due to the presence of NZ teams.

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