Sian Whittaker is quickly becoming the Australian star of the 2017 World University Games in Taipei, claiming her second gold medal with a heart-stopping lunge to the wall to claim the 100m backstroke final.
In even more dramatic fashion than her fingernail-tip win in the 200m backstroke on Monday night, Whittaker mowed down American Hannah Stevens in the final five metres to take the win in 1:00.14, just .09 ahead of the American who clocked 1:00.23, with Japan’s Anna Konishi third in 1:00.33.
After turning for home in sixth place after a swift opening 50m, not even Whittaker could describe how she managed to haul in the American.
“I have no idea… I guess finishes are important and I work on my finishes in training so it paid off,” Whittaker laughed after her medal ceremony.
“I went out .4 fastest than last night, so that was better, but I just fought the last 15m.”
Whittaker said she couldn’t see Stevens two lanes to her left, so just pushed to the wall.
“I had no idea. I could see the girls beside me but I couldn’t see the outside lanes but I got my hand to the wall.”
Coming into the meet in Taipei, Whittaker, 20 and a first-year primary education student at Deakin University in Melbourne had hopes of a podium finish in the 200m backstroke, but never dared contemplate two gold medals.
“I thought maybe the 200m, it’s been stronger than my 100m, but after last night’s swim (in the semi) I sort of believed I could get the double.
She still has the 50m backstroke to come, along with the medley relay. Is the 50m too short?
“Probably… yep… it’s a bit short,” she laughed.
With Emily Seebohm winning the 200m backstroke at the recent world championships, Australia has a rising backstroker who could join the established star on the starting blocks at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
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Article thanks to Australian Uniroos