In part two of the series in which I introduce some of Australia's best swimming medal hopes we get to meet some young athletes making their Olympic debut.
Thirty-four athletes have been named to the Australian Dolphins Swim Team for the Rio Olympic Games. There is a strong blend of experience and youth with 21 swimmers to make their debut, while 13 athletes will become multiple Olympians including five who are off to their third Games. The oldest swimmer is five-time London Olympic medallist Alicia Coutts at 28, while Tamsin Cook is the youngest female and Kyle Chalmers the youngest male, both at 17. Tamsin and Kyle are not the only young guns to be taking to the hallowed blocks. Thanks to some incredible swims at trials the youngest five on the team are in great shape for their first performances on the biggest stage:
Josh Beaver - Beaver will make his Olympic debut in Rio after being selected in the men’s 200m backstroke. In front of a packed crowd in Adelaide, he swam the race of his life in the 200m backstroke clocking 1:56.19. Coached by Rohan Taylor, the 2015 World Championships finalist trains at the Nunawading swimming club in Melbourne. Beaver overcame major shoulder surgery and a hernia operation between 2012 and 2014 to make it to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where he claimed a silver in the 200m backstroke and a bronze in the 100m backstroke.
Tamsin Cook - Cook was the youngest swimmer selected on to the 2016 Australian Olympic Team when the 17-year-old handled the pressure of the trials and confirmed her place at Rio 2016. She claimed second in the 400m freestyle behind World Championship bronze medallist Jess Ashwood to secure her spot on her maiden Olympic Team. Her time of 4:06.38 was just 0.21 seconds off her personal best.
Jacob Hansford - Hansford, from Blacktown, booked his ticket to the Rio Olympic Games when he was fifth in the stacked 200m freestyle at the selection trials to secure a coveted spot in the 4x200m relay team. He was also fifth in the 400m freestyle. The 20-year-old made his international debut in 2015 at the World University Games in South Korea where he swam to silver in the 4x200m relay and an individual bronze in the men’s 200m freestyle.
Madeline Groves - Groves will be hoping to take over the mantle as Australia’s next butterfly star after securing selection for Rio 2016 in the 100m and 200m butterfly. The Brisbane athlete won the 200m fly clocking 2:05.47 - a time that would have won her gold at last year’s World Championships in Kazan. This followed her second in the 100m behind Emma McKeon.
Kyle Chalmers - Chalmers will be 18 when he makes his Olympic debut at Rio 2016. The youngster claimed his spot on the 2016 Team with a standout performance in the men’s 100m freestyle (48.03), finishing second ahead of some of his more fancied rivals. The 2014 Youth Olympian made his World Championships debut in July last year in Kazan, Russia with a fantastic 47.92 second leg in the men's 4x100m freestyle relay. He also raced in the 4x100m medley heats where he swam even faster (47.86sec) to guide that team to the final where they won the silver medal.
These are just five of the twenty one Aussies making their Olympic debut in Rio. More to come!