Aussie world swimmers had Games on their minds
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.