Australia’s Olympic Tribulations Before The Trials Will Be Taylor-Made For Tokyo’s Golden Opportunities

CATE SIMON CUSACK AND ROHAN TAYLOR
ON THE FENCE: Australia's head swimming coach Rohan Taylor with Olympic coach Simon Cusack and triple Olympian, Olympic champion and former world record holder Cate Campbell. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Australia’s Olympic Tribulations Before The Trials Will Be Taylor-Made For Tokyo’s Golden Opportunities

Australian head coach Rohan Taylor has provided a detailed look at where he thinks the Dolphins are sitting one month out from the Olympic Trials in Adelaide – after which he will send the Olympic team to Queensland to be COVID-safe before the Games.

Taylor’s appraisal comes after four solid days of racing at the Sydney Open/Uni Nationals and the final hit out for Australia’s swimmers in the countdown to the crucial five-day selection meet at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre from June 12-17.

Cate Simon Rohan poolside

DUCKS IN A ROW: Australian Head Coach Rohan Taylor (blue glssses) pictured poolside with Olympic coach Simon Cusack and Cate Campbell on the Gold Coast Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Kaylee McKeown, Emma McKeon, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Maddy Gough, Kiah Melverton and Chelsea Hodges were the stand-outs but it was the lack of spark across the board in the men’s events that will mean a nervous wait for swimmers and coaches as many groups disseminate to final training camps this week.

“The Sydney Open is always a bit of a nervous competition this close to trials and for me, these are the meets where it gives you a really good indication of where you’re at,” said Taylor, who has headed to Darwin with several squads, Australia’s warmest destination – as the rest of the east coast of Australia shivers.

“A lot of these guys have come in, still putting the last touches on their work.

“I’m pretty comfortable where everybody is at. Obviously at Trials they have to perform so we’ll pick a team there.

“There were some great swims in Sydney and some encouraging things happening within the team.

“Kaylee has been outstanding. Just her consistency. I think she is finding ways to get faster. I live near where they train on the Sunshine Coast, so I get to see them a bit more.

“Knowing the work they’re doing. It’s definitely a work environment.

“(I liked Emma McKeon) and the way she swam (her races) and I know (she is) working on improving her strategy so she can put it all together.

“Some of the consistency of the butterfly boys – the 200 butterfly, (Rio Olympian) Dave Morgan is stepping up a bit more there. There is some depth in the fly now.

“The breaststroke was consistent. Seeing Zac get under 59.7 (and his 2:07.00) is encouraging.

“Matt Wilson didn’t swim the final but his 200 (heat) last night was 2.08.

“There are some swims where you’re thinking OK, the men’s 100m free, looking at it, men’s 200m free, we didn’t have some of the big hitters here to create a little bit more pressure.

“We’ve got the talent and we’ll see them step up at Trials.

“There are some things that are consistently building towards performances.

“So from my perspective, we have a lot of opportunities.

“We’ve always had opportunities. It’s (about) converting those opportunities into performance at the Olympics.

“Looking around the world there is fast swimming going on. There is always going to be those barriers for us, achieving that top performance.

“What’s in our control is getting on the team, perform well, be the best prepared, go to the meet and give yourself every chance to perform.”

 

Rohan Talor back

LEAN ON ME: Rohan Taylor hamming it up,on pooldeck. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Taylor, who coached Leisel Jones to Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, knows that being at the top end of the rankings going in is the key to Olympic success.

“We know that 86 per cent of all medals are won from the top five in the world going into the meet,” said Taylor.

“So we need to get in there. Then we’re in there with a chance.

“Fifty percent of the golds are won by the first ranked swimmer going into the event.

“We want to be in that 50 per cent in as many top fives so we have more chances to win medals.”

And it’s about making the most of the your opportunities.

“For me when I look across the board and ask, where are our opportunities?

“We’ve got quite a lot of opportunities to be on the podium and then when you’re on the podium you’re a better chance of converting to gold.

“We haven’t been able to maybe do that in the last couple of Olympics. I think maybe there were some missed opportunities.

“We’re just hoping what we (have) put in place over the last few years with the Trials moving closer, that we’re giving our guys the best chance to convert when they get there.”

Jess Corones Rohan and Jacco

SCREENTIME: Rohan Taylor (centre) with Performance Solutions Manager Jerss Corones. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Taylor will be in Darwin to see the final touches to two major squad’s Dean Boxall’s St Peters Western Group with world champions Ariarne Titmus and Mitch Larkin and the likes of Elijah Winnington, Mollie O’Callaghan, Abbey Harkin, Jenna Forrester and Meg Harris and Peter Bishop’s group headed by Kyle Chalmers and Madi Wilson.

“We’re all going to look at it as a potential (base) in the lead-up to Paris (2024) for the warm weather,” said Taylor.

“We’ve been doing camps in Darwin and we’d like to explore what other options and just looking at Darwin, to Singapore and into Europe.

“And whether that’s an option for us. What are the facilities and accommodation like?

“Then we will have Simon Cusack’s group with Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell and Vince Raleigh’s team (including Zac Stubblety-Cook, Jack McLoughlin and ) going to Thredbo and they have done that in their (previous) preparations.”

Rohan Taylor and Dean Boxall doing their block 3

BEHIND THE BLOCKS: Rohan Taylor and Dean Boxall deep in concentration. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

The WA connection with coaches Mick Palfrey and Will (with Holly Barratt, Brianna Throssell, Zac Incerti, Blair Evans, Ashton Brinkworth and Nic Brown) will continue their tour after leaving Perth over a month ago and will now head to Cairns.

Taylor says he is trying to get everyone settled.

“For the most part this is where you start. This is the business end of the season. Over the next two weeks people will start resting up,” said Taylor.

When the Olympic team is selected on June 17 Taylor said all team members will travel to Queensland as a precaution.

“They’ll all be in Queensland, either in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville and some in Cairns early before we all go to Cairns on July 3,” said Taylor.

“It’s safer to be in Queensland for that purpose – we made the call a couple of months ago. We want to remove as much of that anxiety.

“Then we’ll take a charter flight from Cairns to Tokyo five days before the meet starts.”