Emerging Australian Swim Star Sam Short Making Waves With His 7:43.85 SC 800 Freestyle

ALL SMILES: Rising distance star Sam Short, all smiles at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre after this eye-catching swims. Photo Courtesy: Short Family Collection.

Emerging Australian Swim Star Sam Short Making Waves With His 7:43.85 Short Course 800 Metres Freestyle

Exciting Brisbane teenage swim star Sam Short has gate crashed his way into the Australian All-Time Top Ten Short Course Rankings with a stunning 800 metres freestyle swim at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre on Saturday.

The 16-year-old clocked a time of 7:43.85 (54.39; 1:52.08; 2:50.33; 3:49.21; 4:48.17; 5:47.35; 6:46.29) – the fastest by a 16-year-old Australian in an eye-catching swim of the day at the Brisbane Short Course Championships.

sam short medals

FULL MEDAL JACKETT: Sam Short shows off a Queensland Championship medal haul . Photo Courtesy: Medal Shots

Only long-time world record holder Grant Hackett (7:23.42), fellow two-time Olympic champion Kieren Perkins (7:34.90), Atlanta triple Olympic medallist Daniel Kowalski (7:38.37), Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jack McLoughlin (7:39.31) and Jordan Harrison ( 7:43.10) have swum faster.

His 800m time came after earlier wins in the 400m freestyle (3:45.58) which made Short the third fastest Australian 16-year-old of all time behind Olympic legend Ian Thorpe and fellow current All Saints (Qld) teen star Thomas Hauck.

To top off a successful opening day of the two-day meet, young Sam clocked 1:47.63 in the 200m freestyle, clocking the sixth fastest time for Australian 16-year-old of all time before lining up in the 1500m on Sunday which saw the budding distance star clock his first ever sub-15 minute 1500m.

The youngster clocked a solid personal best time of 14:52.54 for the 1500, the third fastest 16-year-old Australian of all time behind Hackett and Horton.

Short has recently switched camps after six successful years at Albany Creek under coach Richard Sleight to Rackley Centenary after Sleight was appointed Head Age Group Coach at St Peters Western under ASCTA Coach of the Year Dean Boxall.


TOM TOMS: Sam Short in good company with fellow rising stars Thomas Neill (right) and Thomas Hauck. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

He has joined coach Damien Jones and is now swimming alongside Thomas Neill – the two-time silver medallist (400/1500m freestyle) and bronze medallist (800m) at last year’s World Junior Championships in what is quickly developing into an exciting next wave distance group as Australia’s Dolphins eye the Tokyo 2020One and the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Shattered with the cancellation of this year’s Australian Age Championships and chance to represent at the Junior Pan Pac Meet, the Year 11 student at Prince of Peace Lutheran College in Everton Park, Brisbane and School Captain for 2021, will now set his sights on the 2021 Australian Age and the World Junior Championships.

The champion Maroochydore lifesaver will first up target the Queensland State Short Course Championships (September 25-27) and the Queensland State Long Course Championships (December 12-18).

Short will also contest the Australian Olympic Trials in Adelaide in June 2021, with his sights on the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

In 2019, Short broke through for his first Open medal at the Australian Short Course Championships in Melbourne last November where he won silver in the 800 freestyle.

At 2019 Age Nationals Short won gold in the 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle, also taking silver in 200m freestyle and bronze in the 200m butterfly.

While at 2018 Age Nationals he won gold 200m butterfly, and the 200m and 1500m freestyles.

In his earlier teenage years, Short clocked times which made him the fastest Australian of All Time in the 14 years 800m & 1500m freestyle short course (SC) rankings, beating Olympic champion Mack Horton’s time in August 2018.

He also broke Grant Hackett’s 15 years 800m freestyle long course (LC) Qld record, in March 2019 and is also the is second fastest of all time for 15 years 800m free behind Horton and the fourth fastest of all time in the 400m and 1500m freestyle 15 years (LC) behind Horton, Hackett & Thorpe, in April 2019.


NOT SHORT ON TALENT: Sam Short just as talented in the surf where he follows a decorated family connection. Photo Courtesy: Short Family Collection.

Short comes from a decorated list of family achievers in Surf Life Saving with father Danny Short (A former National Surf Team member and head coach) and uncle Stephen both multiple Queensland and Australian champions with Maroochydore and Sam also following in their footsteps.

In November 2018, Sam won the 200m Freestyle with Obstacles at the 2018 Lifesaving World Championships (Youth Under 19), setting a new Australian record – at just 15 – as Maroochydore SLSC won the World Youth Championship in Adelaide.

Short’s goal in surf lifesaving is to win Australian Open Surf Race championship, joining Maroochydore’s late Robert Thomasson (1996) and the Open Taplin Relay with Maroochydore – a coveted Australian Championship won by his father Danny and uncle Stephen in 1997 and Danny previously in 1994 – teams that also included Olympic kayak gold medallist Clint Robinson.

Moreton Bay Girls Minna Atherton and Calypso Sheridan put on a show for young fans

Minna Atherton AUS, 100m Backstroke Final, 18th FINA World Swimming Championships 2019, 23 July 2019, Gwangju South Korea. Pic by Delly Carr/Swimming Australia. Pic credit requested and mandatory for free editorial usage. THANK YOU.

MINNA THRILLS AT BRISBANE MEET: Minna Atherton and her silver medal winning smile at the World Championships in Gwangju. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

AND while Sam was making a name for himself in the freestyle events world record holder Minna Atherton (M0reton Bay) and team mate Calypso Sheridan, who has remained in Australia from her North Western University in Illinois in this COVID-19 lockdown, captivated the hundreds of youngsters, some as young as eight years of age.


Sheridan, now firmly entrenched with coach David Lush at Brisbane’s Morteon Bay, set a new Brisbane record with a time of 2:24.41 which erased Olympic champion Leisel Jones’ 2005 mark of 2:25.64 and also chalked up wins in the 200IM (2:11;10) and 400IM (4:41.76).

While Atherton was introduced as the current world record holder in the 100m backstroke and didn’t disappoint the youngsters who stopped ton watch her in action – clocking 56.69 to break her own Brisbane record set back in 2018 and only just outside former training partner and triple Olympian Emily Seebohm’s Queensland All-Comers mark. Atherton also taking the 200 backstroke in 2:05.04.


  1. avatar
    Leigh Short

    So proud of you Sam…..?

  2. Lyle Campbell

    Short makes short stuff of the waves

  3. avatar

    Congratulations Sam – exceptional times and wins!!! Admire your outstanding work ethic and character also. Keep going well later this year with your goals Sam – super proud

  4. Angela O

    That’s Awesome! You must be so proud Nicole Short.