From Tears To Cheers For Breaststroker Matthew Wilson Named On The 35-Strong Australian Team For Tokyo

Australia Team: Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/SAL

The boy from the Blue Mountains Matthew Wilson wore the biggest smile on the pool deck in Adelaide earning inclusion in the  35-strong Australian Olympic Swim Team for Tokyo – after missing automatic qualification.

Wilson was nominated to the Team under Swimming Australia’s selection policy under extenuating circumstances, with a family bereavement disrupting Wilson’s trial performance and preparation.

Images of a shattered Wilson, the 21-year-old former world record-holder from Berala, finished second in the 200m breaststroke – missing the automatic qualifying time in the final earlier in the week – and after winning the Rio Trial at 17 years of age five years ago and missing the team.

Matt Wilson / Bronte Campbell, Olympic Team Announcement, 2021 Australian Swimming Trials, SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre, June 12-17 2021. Photo by Delly Carr / SAL. Pic credit is mandatory for complimentary editorial usage. I thank you in advance.

Bronte Campbell & Matthew Wilson; Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/SAL

He said:

“I’m still trying to wrap my head around it quite honestly.

“Twenty-four hours ago I didn’t think I was going to be on this Olympic team. I was getting ready to plan my break.

“It’s funny, sport. It’s been such a rollercoaster 24 hours.

“I’m just stoked to be here and hopefully I can repay the faith for Tokyo.

“The last couple of weeks have been really tough and I’m glad I could make the team for my late grandmother. I’m sure she’d be proud of me.”

Wilson had been distraught after initially appearing to miss out when his swim of 2:08.52 was inside the FINA ‘A’ cut but shy of the Australian qualification time of 2:08.28.

Two-time Olympic medallist Mitch Larkin, who has been selected for the 100 back and 200IM, said

“It was heartbreaking. Every athlete on the pool deck certainly felt it.

“I actually didn’t know he was selected until the team was announced and then sort of seeing his smile in the same room and then obviously the tears followed shortly after.

“It’s pretty raw emotion. I guess it summarises the rollercoaster we do go on as athletes it’s the reason why we swim.

“You can see the passion, the pride. It makes it well for us to be selected as Olympic team. And, you know, I’m sure he’s going to be great for us.”

Swimming Australia head coach Rohan Taylor explained:

“We got informed yesterday that there was some extenuating circumstances that we needed to look into and we did.

“We had a discussion as a selection panel last night and we determined based on the fact that we’ve got a former world record-holder who won a world silver medal not that long ago.

“From a performance point of view, he can add value and wanted to give him the opportunity to add value to the team. So that was a decision made using that within the selection criteria.”

Wilson is part of a powerhouse 35-strong team for Tokyo announced by the Australian Olympic Committee at the conclusion of the nomination trials.

Emily Seebohm and Cate Campbell join legend Leisel Jones as the only Australian swimmers to ever make four Olympic Games, with the team also including three athletes named to their third Olympics, nine to their second and 21 debutants.

The team selection follows a blistering week of racing, which saw a world record in the 100m backstroke from Kaylee McKeown, Commonwealth records by McKeown (200m Backstroke), Ariarne Titmus (200m and 400m Freestyle) and Zac Stubblety-Cook (200m Breaststroke) and a host of Australian records.


Australian Olympic Team Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman said tonight’s announcement was a great milestone for all 35 athletes.

“Tonight’s selection caps a special week in the pool, with exceptional achievements from our athletes,” Mr Chesterman said. “Swimming has such an incredible Olympic history for our country and this Team is ready to build on that legacy with their own inspiring performances in Tokyo.

“Congratulations to all of the athletes, the coaches, support staff, friends and family who have been there every step of the way to help them realise their Olympic dream.”

“I want to highlight Cate Campbell and Emily Seebohm in particular – achieving a feat of four Olympic Games, only reached by one Australian swimmer in history, is testament to their persistence, character and talent and I am thrilled to have such fantastic ambassadors on the Australian Olympic Team for Tokyo.”


Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr/SAL

Taylor congratulated the athletes on their selection, saying:

“I’ve been really pleased with the performances this week.

“It’s so great to be able to get back to a full meet like this and see our team perform so well. This is a strong team, and I’m particularly pleased with the strength of our relays, it shows the fantastic depth in this squad.

“Getting selected to the Olympic Games is a real team effort. These athletes have great support behind them, congratulations and thank you to the coaches, support staff and supporters who have helped make this happen.

“We have a big five weeks ahead of us.

“Now it’s about preparing our athletes for what they’ll experience and get them ready to perform on the biggest stage in the world in Tokyo.”

Australian Olympic Swimming Team for Tokyo


  • Bronte Campbell (NSW): Relay
  • Cate Campbell (NSW): 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle
  • Ariarne Titmus (QLD) – 200m freestyle, 400m, 800m freestyle
  • Tamsin Cook (WA)– 400m freestyle
  • Jessica Hansen (ACT)– 100m breaststroke
  • Madeleine Gough (QLD) – 1500m freestyle
  • Meg Harris (QLD) – Relay
  • Abbey Harkin (QLD) – 200m breaststroke
  • Chelsea Hodges (QLD) – 100m breaststroke
  • Emma McKeon (QLD) – 100m, 200m freestyle, 100m butterfly
  • Kaylee McKeown (QLD) – 100m, 200m backstroke, 200m medley
  • Jenna Strauch (QLD) – 200m breaststroke
  • Brianna Throssell (WA)– 200m butterfly
  • Kiah Melverton (QLD) – 800m, 1500m freestyle
  • Emily Seebohm (QLD) – 100m backstroke
  • Madi Wilson (SA)– Relay
  • Mollie O’Callaghan (QLD) – Relay
  • Leah Neale (QLD) – Relay


  • Kyle Chalmers (SA)– 100m freestyle, 200m freestyle
  • Elijah Winnington (QLD) – 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle
  • Jack McLoughlin (QLD) – 400m, 800m freestyle, 1500m freestyle
  • Mitch Larkin (QLD) – 100m backstroke, 200m individual medley
  • Tristan Hollard (QLD) – 200m backstroke
  • Zac Stubblety-Cook (QLD) – 200m breaststroke
  • Matt Temple (VIC)– 100m freestyle, 100m butterfly, 200m butterfly
  • Brendon Smith (VIC)– 400m individual medley
  • David Morgan (QLD) – 200 butterfly
  • Se-Bom Lee (NSW)– 400m individual medley
  • Cam McEvoy (QLD) – Relay
  • Zac Incerti (WA)– Relay
  • Tommy Neill (QLD) – Relay
  • Alexander Graham (QLD) – Relay
  • Mack Horton (QLD) – Relay
  • Matt Wilson (QLD) – Relay
  • Isaac Cooper (QLD) – Relay


Head Coach: Rohan Taylor.

Coaches: Simon Cusack, Chris Nesbit, Chris Mooney, Dean Boxall, Michael Bohl, Peter Bishop, Mick Palfrey, Wayne Lawes, Vince Raleigh

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2 years ago

As much as I love the fact that Wilson made the team, very unfair to Cave as top 2 in the 100 Breast

2 years ago

FYI Not everyone in the team is a Queenslander .. mack Horton and Matt Wilson are from Victoria and NSW respectively

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