Head Coach Scott Talbot spearheads Nunawading to record breaking Victorian State Championships

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16TH 2020; 2020 Victorian Open Swimming Championship and The Melbourne World Para Swimming World Series at Melbourne Sports Centres - MSAC on Sunday the 16th February 2020, in Melbourne Australia. (Image/Martin Philbey) Local Caption***
CHAMPIONS OF VICTORIA: Powerhouse club Nunawading with the Fred Blunt Overall Pointscore Trophy. Photo Courtesy Martin Philbey Photography.

Nunawading has again confirmed itself as the powerhouse of Victorian swimming after running away with the prestigious Fred Blunt State Championship pointscore Trophy in Melbourne last weekend.

The super club has always been at the forefront of elite High Performance swimming in Australia under the likes of former long-standing Head Coach “Nuna godfather” Leigh Nugent and Head Coaches of the calibre of Mark Thompson, Jim Fowlie, Amanda Isaac and Rohan Taylor and driven so professionally by the recently retired CEO Gary Barclay, who leaves the club at the very top of the tree.

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But since the 2016 Rio Olympics, the name Talbot has become synonymous with high performance swimming at Nunawading under the guidance of a young and spirited Head Coach Scott Talbot – son of legendary Australian head coach Don Talbot and his inspirational coaching mum, the late Jan Cameron – who left a huge mark on coaching in New Zealand and Australia and on Scott, who is certainly carrying on the family name.

To give some indication of that power, strength and depth of the Nunawading program, across the 2020 Victorian State Age and Open State Championships, the club amassed 4093 points to the two rising club’s in MLC Aquatic (1748) and Northcote (1484) – establishments with former Nunawading swimmers and coaches, Nick Veliades and Olympian Ash Delaney at their helms.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14TH 2020; 2020 Victorian Open Swimming Championship and The Melbourne World Para Swimming World Series at Melbourne Sports Centres - MSAC on Friday 14th February 2020, in Melbourne Australia. (Image/Martin Philbey) Local Caption***

TEMPLE OF BOOM: Nunawading “X Factor” Matthew Temple shows the style he hopes will see him fly to Tokyo. Photo Courtesy Martin Philbey Photography.

And Nunawading’s two flagship Dolphins, Tokyo hopefuls, 20-year-old Matthew Temple and 24-year-old Jessica Hansen were awarded the Male and Female Victorian Swimmers of the Meet – Temple for his winning 100m butterfly time of 51.74 and Hansen for her victory in the 100m breaststroke in 1:07.74 before she held on to take the 200m breaststroke from emerging Country youngster Zoe Deacon in one of several Nunawading 1-2 finishes.

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HANDS FREE: Female Swimmer of the Meet Jessica Hansen. Photo Courtesy Martin Philbey Photography.

Temple had an outstanding meet – dead-heating for his first individual gold with team mate Bowen Gough after a gruelling 200m butterfly in 1:58.76 before individual silver in the 50m butterfly to NSW’s William Yang and his impressive swim of the meet in the 100m butterfly.

He is right on target for June’s Olympic Trials where he will clash with Rio Olympians Grant Irvine and David Morgan for one of Australia’s four available individual spots in the 100 and 200m butterfly.

In between his individual efforts Temple also had a hand in five of Nunawading’s male and mixed relay swims – which included new Victorian records in the 4x200m freestyle, the Mixed 4x100m medley and the Mixed 4x50m freestyle.

Temple’s lead off swim in the winning 4x100m freestyle of 49.72 would have won him silver in the individual 100m freestyle behind Cam McEvoy, while 400IM winner Brenden Smith’s lead-off swim in the club’s 4x200m of 1:50.63 would have seen him finish third in the individual.

The Nunawading strength in relays is paying huge dividends despite one little slip on the opening night when a tight take off saw them disqualified in the men’s 4x100m medley –thwarting coach Talbot’s goal to win all relays.

“One of the many things I learnt from Don was strength through relays, and even though I was a young swimmer at the time I remember him saying how you can build your team depth through relays,” said Talbot.

“Jacco (Verhaeren) is doing that on the National team which we saw come to the fore at last year’s World Championships and we are certainly adopting that culture here as well.

“And I couldn’t be happier with how they all lifted in the relays – that was most pleasing.”

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 16TH 2020; 2020 Victorian Open Swimming Championship and The Melbourne World Para Swimming World Series at Melbourne Sports Centres - MSAC on Sunday the 16th February 2020, in Melbourne Australia. (Image/Martin Philbey) Local Caption***

RELAY DEPTH: Nunawading shone in the relays at the Victorian State Championships Photo Courtesy Martin Philbey Photography.

And he was “a little surprised with some of the individual results” and at how well his charges went given the fact they were all in very hard work.

“They seemed to race their way into the meet, swimming better at the back end of the meet, with Matt Temple a good example of that,” said Talbot.

“He wasn’t exceptional at the start of the meet, always consistent but swam better the longer the meet went and that showed in his 100m butterfly and the relay lead off.

“He is a very coachable young lad, a hard worker who has got that certain character about him, the kind of kid who wants it really bad, he wants to be successful.

“Matt has that X factor about him with a tremendous work ethic that stands him aside from the other guys in the race and I like that about him.”

And although coach Talbot didn’t want to dwell too much on it, the fact that this young lad has a full-time Monday-Friday (with negotiations under way for a four-day week) job in a scaffolding yard adds to his “X factor/work ethic” tag.

And what made Sunday night’s Champion club trophy presentation event more special was the fact that his younger swimmers including Elliott Rogerson, Andrew Rice, Kayla Costa, Julia Hawkins, Zoe Deacon Smith and Gough were part of the group.

“That sets the example for our younger guys to say ‘I want to be part of this in the future’ that’s what’s important and makes those night’s so special,” said Talbot, who’s tenture with Nunawading will sadly come to an end in September, when he leaves for Great Britain.

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BRONZED AUSSIE: World Short Course bronze to Jessica Hansen with coach Scott Talbot in 2018.

Talbot has revealed to Swimming World that he has taken a role to start a school swimming program from scratch in Repton, Derbyshire in the UK, admitting it was “the toughest decision he has ever made in his life” not making it based on himself but on his family, his future. He will delay  his start in a new life in Britain until after this year’s Olympics.

“The School program will start from scratch and that will be a challenge and a five-year plan but I love a challenge and it was a decision I had to make for my family’s future and the family support we have in that area in England.

“My wife Lucy and I will both be able to work and that will certainly be a big plus for our family life.

“Leaving Nunawading won’t be easy, it’s an amazing club and our time here – although it’s far from over – has been a wondferful experience.”

Talbot will remain at Nunawading until the end of the Olympic cycle leaving some very big shoes to fill.

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