It’s just one week until the start of Rio 2016! So far we have reviewed the chances of 17 of Australia’s finest athletes, and covered the backstroke, IM, and women’s freestyle events, as well as discussing the chances of some of our Olympic debutants. Now we turn to a stroke that has had its ups and downs in Australia – breast stroke.
At Cook & Phillip this weekend (Saturday, 10.15am) we will be swimming a classic breaststroke main set devised by Olympic coach Michael Bohl (download here).
It is Bohl’s daughter Georgia who will be leading the charge in the breast events. She will be accompanied by Taylor McKeown on the women’s team, forming a very strong two-some in these events.
Georgia Bohl – Rio will be Bohl’s first big international competition, but given that her father is the legendary Michel Bohl, and given the margin by which she won the 100m breaststroke at trials – in a PB of 1:06.12. She also went on to win the non-Olympic 50m breaststroke event at the trials.
Training alongside Georgia in Bohl’s squad at St Peters Western Swim Club are fellow Rio Team members Madeline Groves, Madison Wilson, Bronte Barratt and Brittany Elmslie. Bohl’s girls (along with some help from a Campbell or two) will be looking to take out a medley relay medal also.
Taylor McKeown - McKeown ensured she would make her Olympic debut in Rio after she finished second behind Georgia Bohl in the 100m breaststroke. McKeown finished 0.56 seconds behind Bohl, which makes her the fifth fastest Australian woman of all time in the event.
McKeown then swam a crazy fast 200m breaststroke to beat Bohl to the touch and qualify for a second event at the 2016 Games in a personal best time of 2:21.45. Only four-time Olympian Leisel Jones has swum a faster time in the event.
On the men’s side of the Dolphins team there are also two swimmers in the breaststroke events – but only one who made the . With the retirement of Sprenger, will Jake Packard be the Aussie male to take up the breaststroke mantle?
Jake Packard - After a decade in the sport, Jake Packard will make his Olympic debut at the Rio 2016 Games after winning the 100m breaststroke in a time of 59.57seconds, just 0.08 under the Australian qualifying time.
The Queenslander grew up in Noosa and started swimming at the aquatic centre when he was 11. He trialled for the London Olympics when he was 17 but didn’t make a semi-final. A year later he was thinking about retiring from swimming but instead moved to Brisbane to train with current coach Chris Mooney, who was working at Indooroopilly at the time. It was a risk which paid off for Packard, who went on to finish fifth at the 2015 World Championships in the 100m breaststroke, and obviously qualified for his first Olympic team this year.
Joshua Palmer – Palmer booked his ticket to his first Olympic Games, making his debut in the men’s 4x100m medley relay at Rio 2016, by coming second in the 100m Breaststroke behind Packard at the 2016 trials. While Palmer just missed out on the qualifying time by 0.76 seconds (1:00.51) in the individual event he was later selected. He'll also compete in the heats of the medley relay to allow Packard to rest for the final.