2017 FINA WORLD SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Australia is a swimming super power, but they haven’t always been that way, and they now may fear fading out of that top tier again.
So far in 2017, with two days remaining, Australia hasn’t won a single World Championship in either the men’s or women’s events. The last time that happened was at the 1986 World Championships, where they only had 5 finalists combined (3 men and 2 women).
It’s not that Australia has been without their highlights at the meet. 16-year old Ariarne Titmus placed 4th in the 400 free early in the meet, and Emma McKeon already has four silver medals in the 100 fly, 200 free, women’s 400 free relay, and mixed medley relay (the former of those races included a new Australian Record). Grant Irvine‘s 100 fly of 51.31 is the fastest ever Australian in textile, and got him in a final – though a medal would still be a long shot at this point.
But with so many chances, they’ve been unable to break through to the top of the podium. On day 1, Mack Horton lost to his arch rival Sun Yang in the 400 free, and has since scratched the 800 free and missed the final in the 200. Cam McEvoy, who still has the fastest time in textile in the 100 free, placed 4th and missed the medals in that event, while missing out on the 50 free final altogether.
Emily Seebohm missed defending her title in the 100 back, though she did take a bronze, and the 400 free relay (which Australia set the World Record in last year) didn’t have enough to take down the Americans without their top swimmer Cate Campbell.
Australia has been reviewing its culture and has become a revolving door of leadership trying to capture a formula that will work. It’s not that they haven’t swum well – it’s that by-and-large they’ve been unable to swim well at the biggest meet. 2018 will be a big year for them, as they’re hosting the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. That’s an opportunity for Australia to showcase and…