Elijah Winnington Headlines Big Opening Night For This Pod Of Dolphins On Day One In Tokyo

ELIJAH WINNINGTON 1
ROOKIES ROUNDUP: From Top left Mollie O'Callaghan, Brendon Smith, Meg Harris, Matt Wilson, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Elijah Winnington, Se-Bom Lee. Photos Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Elijah Winnington Headlines Big Opening Night For This Pod Of Dolphins On Day One In Tokyo

There is no shortage of headline acts on Australia’s Olympic swim team in Tokyo with most of the attention featuring a women’s team that has more freestyle depth of any team to leave Australia’s shores.

 Four-time Olympic flagbearer Cate Campbell and her Beijing, London, Rio and now Tokyo team mate Emily Seebohm are joined by four-time medal winner from Rio Emma McKeon and budding world beaters Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown – both preparing for their own showdowns with US superstars Katie Ledecky and Regan Smith. 

But as athletes from over 200 countries unveil their suits in Tokyo this week there are a host of rookies – Tokyo first timers – who are soaking it all in and Australia’s 37-strong swim team has an abundant of talent waiting in the wings.

Meet some of the rookies who will be on show on the opening night’s action in the pool tomorrow night (starting at 8pm AEST, with bthe finals on Sunday morning at 11.30am AEST) and they will be led by Gold Coast freestyle star Elijah Winnington who will join Rio Olympian, Australia’s premier distance freestyler Jack McLoughlin whom will line up in the 400m freestyle, ready to race for 2016 Olympic champion Mack Horton – who they beat at the Trials.

“We’ll be doing it for Mack – trying our best to honour what he has done,” said Winnington, reflecting on the man that Horton is.

Elijah Winnington, Tokyo Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit Mandatory for free usage. Thank you.

ELIJAH WINNINGTON

Club: St Peters Western (QLD)

Coach: Dean Boxall

Events: 200, 400m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle relay

PBs: 200m freestyle (1:45.44), 400m freestyle (3:42.65)

Olympics: 2020

Profile: Young gun Elijah Winnington ended 2020 on a high, swimming a new personal best of 3:43.90 – giving him the 6th fastest time by an Australian (bettered only by Ian Thorpe, Horton, Grant Hackett, David McKeon, and Kieren Perkins) who backed up in March to win the NSW Championship in 3:44.83. Winnington – (Gold 4x200m freestyle 2018 Com Games) made a major change, leaving long time coach Richard Scarce to link with Dean Boxall at St Peters Western last year in a brave move that saw him step up at the Trials in both the 200 and 400m, praising Boxall for the role he has played in getting him prepared for his Olympic campaign. Going into Tokyo Winnington is rankled No 1 in the world with only Thorpe, Horton and Hackett remaining ahead of him. At The Trials: Started off with a bang when he clocked the fastest time in the world this year winning the 400m freestyle in 3:42.65 to not only confirm his place on his first Olympic team but also a real podium chance before securing his second individual swim behind Kyle Chalmers in the 200m freestyle in 1:45.55.

Relay girls and St Peters Western training partners Mollie O’Callaghan and Meg Harris will join experienced pair Bropnte Campbell and Madi Wilson in the heats of the 4x100m freestyle relay.

Mollie OCallaghan, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6-9 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit MANDATORY for complimentary usage. Thank you.

MOLLIE O’CALLAGHAN

Club: St Peters Western (QLD)

Coach: Dean Boxall

Events: 4x100m, 4x200m freestyle relay

PBs: 100m freestyle (53.25), 200m freestyle (1:56.29), 100m backstroke (58.86)

Olympics: 2020

Profile: Another of the new breed of teenagers who have emerged from the extended Olympic period into 2021, dropping her times every time she raced over the past two years. Has certainly come of age in her development from the 2019 World Juniors team, graduating to the Class of ’21 with flying colours under the direction of Dean Boxall in the lanes at St Peters Western and alongside fellow freestylers Ariarne Titmus and Meg Harris. Will go to Tokyo with stars in her eyes and don’t be surprised if she comes home with medals around her neck. At The Trials: “Mollie O” clocked under the 110m freestyle QT in 53.25 for sixth – with less than a second between the top six in the race of the Trials with the Top Ten Australian rankings losing the likes of Olympic relay gold medallists Brittany Elmslie and Alicia Coutts and 2004 Olympic golden girl Jodie Henry hovering at No 10 with her winning time from Athens of 53.52.

 

Meg Harris, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6-9 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit MANDATORY for complimentary usage. Thank you.

Photo Courtesy:

MEG HARRIS

Club: St Peters Western St Peters Western (QLD)

Coach: Dean Boxall

Events: 4x100m freestyle, 4x200m freestyle

PBs: 100m freestyle (52.92), 200m freestyle (1:56.29)

Olympics: 2020

Profile: A former Mackay (Far North Qld) surf lifesaving Nipper who grew up chasing her older sister Bella and tutored by Queensland coaching legend Pat Wright, Meg Harris, will make her Olympic debut as a member of Australia’s 4x100m and 4x200m freestyle relay squads.

At The Trials: Meg featured prominently in the 200m freestyle final, dead-heating for fifth with St Peters team mate Mollie O’Callaghan in a Games qualifying time of 1:56.29 before stepping up to finish a close-up fourth in the fastest ever 100m final in Australian swimming history and one of the fastest in the world – clocking a pb of 52.92 – a final which saw the top six under the Olympic qualifying standard of 53.31.

Joining the rookie barrage when the opening night curtain drops will be breaststroke boys Zac Stubblety-Cook (Chandler, QLD) and Matt Wilson (SOPAC, NSW).

Zac Stubblety Cook, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6-9 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit MANDATORY for complimentary usage. Thank you.

ZAC STUBBLETY-COOK

Club: Chandler (QLD)

Coach: Vince Raleigh

Events: 100m, 200m breaststroke 4x100m medley and mixed relays

PBs: 100m breaststroke (59.69), 200m breaststroke (2:06.28, Aust Rec)

Olympics: 2020

 

Profile: Has emerged under coach Vince Raleigh over the past three years as one of the world’s best 200m breaststrokers, finishing fourth in the 2019 World Championships and goes into Tokyo as a real medal chance after an eye-catching campaign. At The Trials: Produced one of the swims of the week when he clocked a world-class time of 2:06.28 to re-write the Commonwealth and Australian records in the 200m breaststroke after earlier in the week winning the 100m in 59.69.

Matt Wilson, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6-9 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit MANDATORY for complimentary usage. Thank you.

MATT WILSON

Club: SOPAC (NSW)

Coach: Adam Kable

Events: 100, 200m breaststroke, 4x100m medley and mixed relays

PBs: 100m breaststroke (59.17), 200m breaststroke (2:06.67)

Olympics: 2020

Profile: It has certainly been an emotional rollercoaster for Matt Wilson, experiencing the lows of missing the Rio team, the joys of a world record equalling swim in 2019, the shattering moment he thought he had missed the team at the Trials and then the relief when his name was read out on the final night, making the cut on compassionate grounds following the passing of his grandmother. The former world record holder in the 200m, who equaled the time in the semi-finals of the 2019 Worlds in Gwangju before winning silver 2019 after his bronze at the 2018 Pan Pacs and 2018 Com Games; Wilson has also played key breaststroke roles in the 2017 (silver) and 2019 (gold) in the Mixed Medley Relay – a new addition to the Tokyo 2021 program with Wilson splitting 58.37. At The Trials: Finished a disappointing fourth in 1:00.23 before finishing two seconds outside his best and 0.24 outside the OQT in the 200m – Tokyo will be different!

While Melbourne’s Brendan Smith and Sydney’s Se-Bom-Lee will be doing it for the 400IMers.

Brendon Smith, Tokyo Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit Mandatory for free usage. Thank you.

BRENDON SMITH

Club: Nunawading (VIC)

Coach: Wayne Lawes

Events: 200m, 400m individual medley

PBs: 200m individual medley (1:58.82), 400m individual medley (4:10.04, Aust Rec)

Olympics: 2020

Profile: Brendon Smith has certainly forged a different pathway to Olympic selection, best utilising his swimming prowess in Surf Lifesaving and swimming. Smith was a member of the Australian Swim Team at the 2019 World Uni Games that won bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay in Naples. And the Half Moon Bay lifesaver was the only Victorian named in the 2018 Australian Youth Team for the World Life Saving Championships in Adelaide where he went on to break two world records and win a total of five medals. At The Trials: Brendon wasted no time in booking his place on the team to Tokyo, setting a new Australian record of 4:10.04 in his specialist 400IM in what was a major breakthrough for him and for swimming in Australia. Will also contest the 200IM after clocking 1:58.82 to finish second to Mitch Larkin. At The Trials: Produced the swim of his life to finish second in the 400IM in 4:14.16 – well under the automatic OQT of 4:15.24 and with Brendon Smith, gives Australia a two-pronged attack.

 

See-Bom Lee, Tokyo 2020 Olympics Official Portrait , Cairns Australia, July 6-9 2021. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. Photo by Delly Carr. Pic Credit MANDATORY for complimentary usage. Thank you.

SE-BOM LEE

Club: Carlile (NSW)

Coach: Misha Payne

Events: 400m individual medley

PBs: 400m individual medley (4:14.16)

Olympics: 2020

Profile: One of the real success stories of 2021, recovering from a debilitating and at times career threatening shoulder injury to qualify for Tokyo in arguably swimming’s toughest event, the 400IM. Admitted he didn’t really expect to make the team, through the Covid lockdown and his shoulder injury. One of the stars of Australia’s Age Group program, winning three gold medals at the 2019 National Age, qualifying for the 2019 World Junior Championships, Lee and coach Misha Payne pulled off quite a remarkable performance.

ALL PHOTOS: Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

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