Western Australians Round off a Successful Week in the Pool

Swimming | Published: Thu 12 April 2018

The swimming competition at this year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games was a true display of Australian dominance as we finished with a total of 73 medals.

Our Western Australian swimmers were no exception to this statement with each and every one giving their all at every opportunity.

Six of Australia’s 73 medals earned can be accounted for by Western Australian swimmers.

BLAIR EVANS

26-year-old Blair Evans made her Australian swimming debut at the World Aquatics Championships in 2009 competing in the Women’s 800m Freestyle.

Her first Commonwealth Games appearance was at the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games.

Originally recognized for her expertise in middle distance freestyle swimming Evans now focuses on all strokes competing mainly in the individual medley events.

Blair began her 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign on the 5th of April where she took to the pool to contest the Women’s 400m Individual Medley.

A powerhouse at the slightly longer distance the swimmer touched in second in her heat before advancing to the final where she would go on to win a bronze medal.

Recording a time of 4:41.54 in the preliminary round, Evans kicked it up a notch for the final finishing over three seconds faster in a time of 4:38.23.

Three days later Blair Evans returned to the pool to compete in the Women’s 200m Individual Medley.

After finishing fifth in her preliminary heat Blair scraped in to the final to swim out of lane eight.

Giving the race everything she had the individual medley swimmer touched in in fifth place in a time of 2:12.76 to conclude her Games schedule.

BRIANNA THROSSELL

Brianna Throssell will walk away from the 2018 Commonwealth Games very proud of her efforts.

The young swimmer, who is relatively new to the international level of competition, earned herself both a bronze and a gold medal at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre within the space of two days.

After debuting for her country at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games the butterfly specialist has gone from strength to strength in order to put her in the position that she is in today.

Kicking off her Games program on the 5th of April, Throssell competed in the Women’s 100m Butterfly.

After coming first in her preliminary heat Brianna returned to the pool later the same day coming third in the semi-final and earning herself a place in the next day's grand final.

A big moment for the 22-year-old she was not going to go down without a fight.

Leaving everything she had in the pool Brianna Throssell raced home in third place, completing an Australian trifecta in 57.30 seconds.

The butterfly swimmer now had her first ever Commonwealth Games medal and looked set to come away with another as she was scheduled to compete in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay the next day.

The Australian’s went in to the race as the favourites and they certainly did not disappoint.

Leading the entire race, Brianna played her part in the second leg to extend her teams lead.

In a moment that will never be forgotten the Australians stepped on to the top step of the podium and were presented with their gold medals on the evening of the 7thof April.

GEORGE HARLEY

19-year-old George Harley went through quite a journey in order to compete at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

After being involved in a motorized buggy incident back in 2012 the young breaststroke swimmer almost lost his leg.

At the time Harley said "I thought I was either going to die or be an amputee for the rest of my life.”

In order to regain his strength, putting him in the position he is in today he spent six weeks undergoing surgery and rehabilitation and then another 6 months in a wheelchair.

George’s Commonwealth Games debut is a testament to his hard work and determination to get back to competing in the sport he loves.

Taking to the pool for the Men’s 200m Breaststroke on Games competition day one, Harley put out a valiant effort.

Finishing in fifth place with a time of 2:11.62 unfortunately he just missed out on the opportunity to advance further in the competition.

KATHERINE DOWNIE

Western Australia’s only para-swimming athlete Katherine Downie came in to Gold Coast 2018 with the hopes of repeating her results from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, where she won a silver medal.

Born in Scotland, Downie first represented Australia back in 2011 before taking part in the 2012 London Summer Paralympics.

Here she won two gold medals as well as coming fourth in her pet events the 100m Backstroke and the 200m Individual Medley.

Today the 22-year-old is commonly recognized as a fierce competitor in the Women’s SM10 200m Individual Medley event.

Beginning her 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign on the 7th of April Katherine claimed second place in the preliminary rounds with a time of 2:35.49.

She went on that same evening to claim the bronze medal in the final of the Women’s SM10 200m Individual Medley, missing out on second place by 0.02 of a second.

Finishing behind New Zealand’s Sophie Pascoe and Canada’s Aurelie Rivard it was almost an exact repeat of the 2014 final in Glasgow, the only difference being that this time Rivard just touched out Downie to claim silver.

ZAC INCERTI

Western Australia’s second male competitor in the swimming, Zac Incerti made his Australian Swimming Team debut last year at the 2017 FINA World Championships.

Born in Broome Incerti moved to Perth when he was 13-years-old and boarded at Aquinas College.

Breaking in to the swimming scene at a slightly older age than average, the move south proved invaluable for Zac’s swimming career.

Cementing himself as a regular inclusion in the Australian Dolphins squad Zac Incerti looks set to continue to progress and improve under the guidance of some of Australia’s very best.

Making his Commonwealth Games debut on competition day three Incerti could not have made a better start.

After finishing first in his heat in 25.05 seconds, he backed up to come second in the semi-final in 25.19 seconds, the third fastest qualifying time for the final.

The 20-year-old was in good form however he was going to have to wait until the next evening to compete for the gold medal.

Undoubtedly nervous as he clung on to the block it certainly did not show through as Zac Incerti mowed through the water to complete the race in 25.06 seconds.

A third place finish gave Incerti his first Commonwealth Games medal whilst also completing yet another Australian podium trifecta.

HOLLY BARRATT

30-year-old Holly Barratt last year became the Australian swimming team’s oldest rookie, debuting for Australia alongside Zac at the 2017 FINA World Championships.

Whilst most swimmers have retired by the time they have reached Barratt’s age, the West Australian swimmer is just hitting her straps.

Holly admitted that at the age of 18 she quit swimming figuring that she would never be at the level required to compete at the Olympics.

It wasn’t until she was 24 that she began to fall in love with the sport again.

Starting out as a coach alongside boyfriend Will Scott at Swan Hills it wasn’t long before Barratt found herself in the pool swimming again.

Five years of hard work paid off as the backstroke specialist won her first National title in the Women’s 50m Backstroke last year.

Making her Commonwealth Games debut on the 7th of April the swimmer took to the pool to contest the Women’s 50m Butterfly.

After coming first in her heat Holly was off to a good start.

Coming out of the semi-final Barratt had both improved her speed and qualified for the final, thanks to a second place finish.

As the final rolled around Holly Barratt found herself in a prime position, racing out of lane three.

Improving her time once again the 30-year-old glided in to the wall to claim the silver medal in a time of 25.67 seconds with fellow Australians Cate Campbell and Madeleine Groves finishing first and third respectively.

Barratt’s final event of the Games was the Women’s 50m Backstroke.

Again starting out strong the Western Australian raced home to finish her heat in first place before flying home in second in the semi-final.

Returning to the pool the next day to compete in the final, Barratt had one more chance to add to her medal tally.

Leaving everything in the pool Holly finished in fourth place, missing out on a podium finish by 0.06 of a second.

Whilst the swimming is over for the 2018 Commonwealth Games our Western Australian athletes have shown great success as well as great promise for the future.

 
 
  • Annika Lee-Jones