Commonwealth Games: In Search of Rekindling Aussie Tradition, Sam Short Mines Gold in 1500 Freestyle

Sam Short

Commonwealth Games: In Search of Rekindling Aussie Tradition, Sam Short Mines Gold in 1500 Freestyle

The tradition of Australian distance swimming is well-documented. The country pays great respect to all of its champions, but the 1500-meter freestyle has always held special recognition. Plenty of legends have achieved success in the event, from Andrew “Boy” Charlton to Murray Rose to Kieren Perkins and Grant Hackett.

But over the last three Olympiads, Australia has endured a drought in the event. Of the last nine medalists in the 1500 freestyle, none have hailed from Australia. The only other time the nation has gone three Games without a podium finisher in the metric mile was from 1980-1988.

Sam Short wants to recharge the tradition.

Making a move a little past the midway point of the race, Short pulled away from Northern Ireland’s Daniel Wiffen and touched the wall in 14:48.54 for the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday night. Short and Wiffen basically engaged in a match race, as the rest of the field was unable to keep pace. Wiffen earned his silver medal in a time of 14:51.79 while England’s Luke Turley got on the podium with a bronze-medal effort of 15:12.78.

Short and Wiffen were almost inseparable through the first 17 laps, but Short increased his output around the 900-meter mark and started to open up a gap over Wiffen. Each length only provided slightly quicker splits, but the consistency of those laps enabled Short to pull away. Short’s medal was his second of the meet, complementing a silver in the 400 freestyle from the opening day of competition.

An 18-year-old, Short has youth on his side as he seeks to become a contender for Olympic and World Championships medals in the longest event on the pool schedule. When he competed at the World Champs in Budapest in June, Short was only 14th in the prelims of the 1500 freestyle. The reason was his decision to focus on the Commonwealth Games, which yielded a victory that can only supply a confidence boost moving into the two-year countdown to the Paris Olympics.

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Meet Results

 

 

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