Deakin University’s Sian Whittaker has captured Australia’s first gold medal of the 2017 Summer Universiade with a superbly timed swim to win the 200m backstroke at the Taiwan Sport University Arena in Taipei.
The 20-year-old entered the final as the second fastest qualifier, but was confident she had something extra to give in the final and swam a composed first 100m to turn in second, a place she maintained until the final turn where she unleashed a fierce final 50m to win in 2:09.50.
She overpowered Canada’s Alexia Zevnik who won silver in 2:09.92, with USA’s Bridgette Alexander third in 2:10.30. The fastest qualifier, American Asia Seidt faded to finish fourth.
“That was how I hoped it would pan out, I was coming in ranked second, so wasn’t the quickest in the final but I’m happy with the time and extremely happy with the place, so all round happy.”
Whittaker said her strong finish was something of a trademark.
“I’m more of a back-end swimmer and I try and pace it so I have a quick back end – I kept to my race plan and didn’t get caught up with what the other girls where doing and it paid off.”
A first-year primary education student who calls Bendigo home, Whittaker is based at the Victorian Institute of Sport in Melbourne where she trains with Olympic champion Mack Horton under Craig Jackson as part of the strong Melbourne Vicentre squad.
Whittaker will also line up in the 100m backstroke heats on Tuesday and the 50m event later in the program.
Article thanks to Australian Uniroos, read more here