Phil Rogers: Olympians of the Future in Adelaide
Former Olympian and proud South Australian Phil Rogers reports on the Australian Swimming Championships in Adelaide.
The thing that I love the most at the moment is the fact that Adelaide can be really proud of how it hosted the 2012 Australian Swimming Championships recently. The old saying of ‘build it and they will come’ was proven with Swimming Australia awarding Adelaide the Olympic selection trials once the SA Aquatic Centre was built in Marion.
But what pleases me the most is the event was sold out with over 30,000 people coming to watch over the 8-day competition. Well done! The pool is a cracker and everyone involved was raving about it. That being said I thought I would hit you with a few other things I loved as Australia’s best swimmers strutted their stuff in our fair town.
Highlight of the week had to be watching Ian Thorpe swim at an elite level again. I know he didn’t make the team but I have known him since he was 15 years old and it was just great to see him back and involved again. I’m convinced the loudest sigh when Ian Thorpe didn’t make the 100 metre freestyle final came from the producers of the TV channel covering the championships. Similar feelings for Geoff Huegill who is just one of the nicest guys in the business and it goes to prove that the younger generation of swimmers really don’t want to give up their spot for anyone.
I loved watching the two sisters Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell come first and second in the 50 metre freestyle. Liesel Jones qualifying for a fourth Olympic Games, something that no other swimmer has ever done. And the man they call the missile, James Magnussen almost breaking the world record in the 100 metre freestyle, no mean feat since they banned the super suits a year or two back.
Funnily enough, I still held a state record for the 50 metre breaststroke up until last week, something that Christian Sprenger made very short work of. Damn that new pool! My record was set at the old North Adelaide Aquatic Centre where you hit your nose of the bottom of the pool down the shallow end when you dived in.
At the end of the week 44 swimmers were selected to represent Australia at the London Olympic Games. 29 of them are from Queensland! Now there’s a statistic that begs the question, what is Queensland doing that the rest of the country isn’t? Is it really just the warmer weather which equates to more pools and hence more swimmers or is it something else? Is the South Australian Sports Institute looking at the Queensland Academy of Sport and trying to figure out their secret. Funding? Coaching? Sports science? Nutrition? Which one or is it all of the above?
London will put on a sensational Olympics. I’m picking it will rival Sydney back in 2000. Who knows how many medals we will get but I know every single swimmer will be giving it their all. Let’s all get behind Hayden Stoeckel in the 100 metre backstroke because out of those 15 other swimmers that the rest of the country pitched in to make up the team, he is our only one from South Australia.
Hey Hayden, time to get famous mate.
Phil Rogers is a former breaststroke swimmer who competed in three consecutive Summer Olympics for Australia, starting in 1992. At his Olympic debut he won the bronze medal in the 100m Breaststroke, followed by a bronze in 1996 in the 4x100m Medley Relay. He won a World Championship gold medal for the 200m breaststroke in 1999 and gold for the 4x100m medley at the 1997, 1998 and 1999 World Championships. He lives in his hometown of Adelaide. You can follow Phil Rogers on Twitter: @philrogers71