Olympic Breaststroke Champion Zac Stubblety-Cook Admits Pathway To Paris Both Exciting And Scary

Tokyo Olympics Zac Stubblety Cook claim 1
OLYMPIC CLAIM TO FAME: Australia's humblest Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Australia’s Olympic 200m breaststroke champion Zac Stubblety-Cook admits the next two years towards Paris will be both “exciting and scary.”

“They are the two words that come to mind first of all – being such a quick turn around from Tokyo (in 2021) is a little bit daunting – but for me it’s also exciting,” said Stubblety-Cook today as the Australian National Squad started to arrive onto the Gold Coast for a week-long camp to kick-start 2023.

Australian Dlphins Camp, Gold Coast Feb 2023Zac Stubblety-Cook with Kyle Chalmers and teamJPG

TEAM TALK: Olympic champions Zac Stubblety-Cook (front row) and Kyle Chalmers (rear) amongst the Australian Dolphins National Squad at Bond University on the Gold Coast. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Australia’s best swimmers will all spend the next week honing their skills as Australian Dolphins National head coach Rohan Taylor and his loyal and devoted coaching staff gather to plan and plot the Dolphins path to Paris.

It starts now in a building year towards the 2023 World Championships in Fukuoka – a happy hunting ground for the Australians – who topped the gold medal tally at the 2001 World’s under the direction of the legendary Don Talbot.

Stubblety-Cook knows what it takes to win Olympic gold – becoming the third Australian alongside John Davies (1948) and Ian O’Brien (1964) to win the 200m breaststroke.

It’s a crown the boy from Brisbane is still getting used to – along with his World and Commonwealth gold he won in 2022 and the world record he set in Adelaide last May.

When it comes to the 200m breaststroke – Stubblety-Cook is the man and he spoke to Swimming World today after his first session at the Bond University Pool.

“For me going forward I’m really excited (and I know) the next 12 months is going to fly by – the work we’re doing here and today will definitely reflect in Paris,” said Stubblety-Cook.

“This is a building year – to get the best out of myself is first and foremost (as well as) learning who is going to be there next year.

“The men’s 200m breaststroke field will be developing and off World’s last year we had glimpses of a few people who can really progress over the next 12 months.

“So keeping an eye on them and understanding how people are going to race and focusing on myself and knowing what I think is possible and what I can get out of the 200m breaststroke, I think is really important and focusing on what I can control.”

Zac Stubblety-Cook close up

PATHWAY TO PARIS: Zac Stubblety-Cook in a pensive mood on the Gold Coast.Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

On being the Olympic champion?

“I don’t think the Olympic champion tag has properly sunk in (to be truthful)…I’m just enjoying my swimming for me and enjoying representing my country every time we get to do it…it’s an honour and a privilege…but to me that Olympic champion title is something that I never thought would transpire.

“It’s happened and it’s something I have to reflect on…but I think my whole philosophy is pursuing getting the best out of myself…it is what I’m driven by every day…and I don’t get too caught up in those titles and too caught up in being the world record holder and the (World) and Olympic champion.”

And his thoughts on Brisbane hosting the 2032 Olympics in his own backyard ?

“Having the Olympics come to my home city of Brisbane is 2032 is exciting for the city – it’s about building a legacy and fits into one of the themes of this camp – and that is understanding that we are setting the foundation now,” said Stubblety-Cook.

“At the last Olympics and the next Olympics that will really light the flame for the next 10 years – that starts today and that starts 10 years out and hopefully lasts 10 years afterwards.

“That whole legacy idea of getting the best out of the whole country and lifting the whole country is really important and that’s the most exciting thing for me.

“It’s what the Olympics can do and what the Olympics can do for the country and having it come to your home city is unbelieveable.”


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