Aussie world swim­mers had Games on their minds

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT -

THE loom­ing Com­mon­wealth Games may have been a dis­trac­tion for Aus­tralia at the world swim­ming cham­pi­onships at Bu­dapest, head coach Jacco Verhaeren says.

But the Dol­phins men­tor is con­vinced Aus­tralia can still dom­i­nate on the Gold Coast next year, de­spite fin­ish­ing with their low­est world ti­tles medal haul since 1991.

Emma McKeon was a shin­ing light in Hun­gary, be­com- ing the first Aus­tralian woman to claim six medals at a world swim­ming ti­tles af­ter the Dol­phins added two more bronze on the fi­nal day.

Aus­tralia fin­ished eighth on the over­all tally with 10 medals, in­clud­ing a soli­tary gold - Emily See­bohm’s 200m back­stroke tri­umph. It was the first time since 1986 that Aus­tralia fin­ished out­side the top five.

The United States had their most suc­cess­ful world ti­tles, top­ping the table with 38 medals, in­clud­ing 18 gold.

“I have no doubt that a lot of them have Comm( on­wealth) Games on their mind,” Verhaeren ( pic­tured) said.

“We raced with that in the back of our minds but it is not an ex­cuse. But I think this is an in­di­ca­tion of where we are at, we have to be re­al­is­tic.

“This world cham­pi­onships has truly set new stan­dards – we have to go back to work.”

A team with 11 rook­ies was al­ways go­ing to strug­gle with­out ex- world record holder Cate Camp­bell, for­mer dual world champ James Mag­nussen and Olympic gold medal­list Kyle Chalmers.

But the Dol­phins coach ex­pected Aus­tralia to be hard to beat on the Gold Coast af­ter Great Bri­tain – who fin­ished sec­ond on the medal table – scat­ter into their re­spec­tive Com­mon­wealth coun­tries.

“The per­for­mances here earn a lot of re­spect but we shouldn’t ad­mire it too much be­cause we haven’t seen any­thing we can’t do,” he said.

There was some good news – Emma McKeon’s four sil­ver and two bronze eclipsed the pre­vi­ous record world ti­tles haul of five by Libby Trick­ett ( 2007) and Ali­cia Coutts ( 2013). Michael Klim’s seven medal haul in 1998 is the over­all record.

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