Published: Jun 21, 2012 08:07:12 PM Updated: Nov 13, 2012 12:11:33 PM
Wollongong teenager Jarrod Poort has become the final athlete named in the Australian Olympic Swim Team. The 17-year-old’s position in the 1500m freestyle ensures Australia will be represented in every event on the swimming program in London.
Instead of having to wait until Rio 2016 to get a taste for the big time; Poort learnt today that there is a lane at the London Olympic Games waiting for him.
Poort was one of the standouts at the Olympic Trials in March. In the final event of the meet he produced an 11 second personal best to win the 1500m but his time of 15:13.38 was an agonising two seconds outside the Olympic A qualifying mark.
Three months passed before his spot was confirmed overnight by the international federation FINA. The AOC selection committee ratified his spot straight away.
“I was thrilled when I was told this morning,” Poort said. “I knew I would find out either way around about now so I have been a bit anxious and it is really exciting.”
Poort could not be selected with the other 44 pool swimmers in Adelaide, but Head coach Leigh Nugent said in Adelaide after Trials that Poort would be treated like any other member of the Team to ensure he is ready to perform if he got the chance.
“Since Trials I have been training like I was on the Team and going to London, so to have it all confirmed today is pretty cool.
“Twelve months ago I was a long shot but I never doubted I couldn do it.”
Poort grew up watching the greats before him on television at the Olympics and was inspired.
“I remember the men’s 4x100m relay the most from Sydney and then Hackett standing after winning at Athens, which was incredible!”
Poort credits working on skills and turns for some of his big improvement at Trials but at the end of the day hard work is the not so secret ingredient to success.
“I’m doing 70-80 Ks a week over 10 pool sessions plus two gyms sessions and year 12 at school as well.”
Poort is coached by dual Olympian Ron McKeon (1980 and 1984) and trains with Ron’s 19-year-old son David who will compete in the 400m freestyle and 4x200m relay in London.
The Wollongong squad joined forces with the Southport Olympic squad recently in Mexico for four weeks of altitude training.
Poort will need to find another huge improvement to make the final in London but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible and his motto is ‘go hard or go home’
“It will probably take around a 14:50 swim to qualify for the final in London and I’m not quite there yet but you never know what can happen and it is the Olympic Games.”
Following the modern era legends of Kieren Perkins, Glenn Housman, Daniel Kowalski and Grant Hackett, Poort will make the most of this opportunity at London 2012 to set himself up for Rio 2016.
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