WAIS di­rec­tor so proud of WA ath­letes

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News - Denise S. Cahill

TAM­SIN Cook, Aus­tralia’s youngest swim­mer at the Rio Olympics, was on WA In­sti­tute of Sport (WAIS) ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Steve Lawrence’s radar when the Western Sub­urbs Weekly caught up with him yes­ter­day.

Lawrence, of Cottes­loe, said it was “huge” for the 17-year-old to make the 400m freestyle fi­nal and beat her per­sonal best time by two sec­onds get­ting there.

“To make the team was a big step up for her,” he said.

Half-an-hour after the in­ter­view, Cook, of Carine, even­tu­ally fin­ished sixth in the fi­nal, swim­ming against world cham­pion Katie Ledecky from the US, who won the race and broke her own world record.

Lawrence’s 2016 Olympic fort­night started on Satur­day morn­ing watch­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony with about 120 peo­ple, in­clud­ing WAIS ath­letes, par­ents of ath­letes, staff mem­bers and well-wish­ers at WAIS in Mt Clare­mont.

“I went home and got a cou­ple of hours sleep on the couch and set­tled in for the night… about 4.30am I went to bed,” he said.

Lawrence, who has been at WAIS for the past eight Olympic Games, said watch­ing for­mer WAIS schol­ar­ship holder Tay­lor Worth win a bronze medal in the archery was ex­cit­ing. “He’s a fan­tas­tic kid,” he said. “The highlight from our cur­rent ath­letes we are work­ing with would be Tam­sin.

“Reece Grant in the men’s sin­gle scull was an­other one. He’s the first West Aus­tralian ever to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia in the men’s sin­gle scull and is through to the quar­ter­fi­nals.”

Lawrence said while he felt dis­ap­pointed for swim­mer Blair Evans, of Pad­bury, who fin­ished 16th in the 400m in­di­vid­ual med­ley, it was clear by her so­cial me­dia post that she was just happy to be in Rio.

“I am lov­ing life and very grate­ful for all the mes­sages of love and sup­port,” Evans wrote on her In­sta­gram page.

Lawrence said ev­ery­one at WAIS, from the re­cep­tion­ists to the com­mu­ni­ca­tions staff and phys­i­ol­o­gists, worked to­wards the Olympics ev­ery four years, so it was a spe­cial time for his team.

Pic­ture: Martin Ken­nealey www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d457836

WAIS ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Steven Lawrence

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