Bundaberg will have three representatives at the Australian Swimming Olympic Team Selection Trials in Adelaide from Saturday with Isaac Cooper, Connor Simms, and Toby Street ready to make a splash at the event.
Isaac, 17, who is now a member of Brisbane glamour club Rackley Swim Team, is our best chance of gaining a ticket to Tokyo after rocketing to another Australian record.
He won the men’s 50m backstroke at the UniSport Nationals Swimming Championships in Sydney last month with a time of 24.69sec.
He not only edged out visiting New Zealander Andrew Jeffcoat, but he notched Australia’s third fastest 50m backstroke of all-time, sitting only behind national record holder Ben Treffers and Mitch Larkin, who own the top times of 24.54 and 24.62, respectively.
Isaac became just the 8th Aussie ever to dip under the 25-second barrier in the event, and he now ranks fourth in the world in the event.
Isaac also broke the 100m backstroke record at the meet and also joined forces with Louis Townsend, Ethan Banks and Jamie Jack in the Queensland University of Technology team that shaved more than two seconds off the men’s 4x50m Medley Relay record, and also claimed gold in 4x100m and 4x50m Freestyle Relays.
Unfortunately for Isaac, 50m backstroke is not an Olympic Games, so it will not be contested at the trials, and his best event at the competition will be the 100m backstroke on Sunday, before he also contests the 100m Freestyle on Tuesday, 200m backstroke on Wednesday, and 50m freestyle on Thursday.
Connor, who has just turned 20, will line up in 200m freestyle on Sunday, 100m freestyle on Tuesday, and 50m freestyle on Thursday, while the sole event for his Bond University Club-mate Toby, 18, will be the 100m freestyle.
With the trio to fly south tomorrow, Isaac said he is currently ranked as the Australian No. 3 in 100m backstroke.
“And I am really focused on it – it is where I might have a chance – my PB is currently 54.53sec but I’ll probably have to do 53.5sec to make the team at my first Olympic trials and my second open nationals,” Isaac said.
“I’ve settled into Brisbane now and loving it after moving here earlier in the year – at the moment, I’m feeling pretty good – I know I’ve done all the work leading up and all I’ve got to do now is race.
“I’ve been swimming for such a long time and the Olympics has always been a goal, and if I can make it this year as a 17-year-old would be kind of surreal and incredible, and it would be great to see all the hard work I’ve done paying off.”
Whether or not he qualifies for Tokyo, Isaac will be three years older and stronger come the 2024 Olympics in Paris, and other majors which he has targeted in the shorter term include the World Shortcourse Championships in Abu Dhabi later this year and the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, both of which include 50m backstroke.
Connor and Toby were both members of Bond University teams which claimed three Relay medals at the UniSport Nationals, silver in the 4x50m Freestyle, and bronze in the 4x50m Medley and 4x100m Freestyle, all behind Rackley teams incorporating Isaac.
Connor, who contested the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials, said it is “pretty exciting” to be competing at his first Olympic trials.
“My events are spaced pretty well which should be in my favour and my preparation has been really good,” Connor said.
“We went into an intensive training block at the start coming into an Olympic year and we’ve done a lot of hard yards in the pool, and a lot of F45 and boxing training, running, hill climbs and hiking.
“But we have tapered now for two or three weeks, and we have freshened up and I feel pretty good in the water, and I’m fairly confident and hopefully will swim some fast times.
“My best is 200m freestyle – I train alongside Alexander Graham, who took silver behind Kyle Chalmers in the Uni Games – I push him along and he pushes me along and I look forward to seeing him put it all together under pressure and touch wood, he will be a real good chance.
“Looking at it realistically from my point of view, I’m mainly going down to utilise the atmosphere and environment of the Olympic trials to my advantage.
“I want to try and do PB’s and hit specific times, and if I can do 1:50 for 200m and 50-point for 100m, it should open up avenues for QAS and Australian swimming Target Squads in the future.”
Anyone wanting to send to best wishes to Isaac can do so at mr.isaaccooper on Instagram, or for Connor, message to Connor Simms on Facebook, and Toby message tobias_street on Instagram.