Neill welcomes challenge with maiden national title

27 April 2021
Thomas Neill sails to victory on the Gold Coast.

Rackley’s Thomas Neill came out swinging at the recent 2021 Australian Swimming Championships on the Gold Coast, stepping up and wasting no time in securing his maiden national title.

The 18-year-old sailed to a dominant victory at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in the Men’s 800m Freestyle, touching in a time of 7:51.65 to finish almost eight seconds ahead of Dolphins Jack McLoughlin (Chandler) (7:59.33) and Nick Sloman (Noosa) (8:00.68).


Thomas Neill claiming bronze at the 2019 World Junior Championships in Budapest.

The Rackley swimmer expressed his delight with his 800m freestyle time as he looks ahead to June’s Australian Swimming Trials in Adelaide.

“This meet is a stepping stone for all of us heading towards June and Olympic Trials,” he said.

“But it’s nice, confidence-wise, to put a good time together.”

The Queenslander capped off the Australian Swimming Championships with a silver medal in the 400m Freestyle event. The race was down to the wire as Neill went stroke for stroke with Elijah Winnington during the 8-lap battle, finishing just 0.66 seconds behind the St Peters Western’s swimmer.

Neill also finished just outside the podium places in the 200m Freestyle race with a time of 1:47.61 earning him a hard fought fourth. 

Thomas Neill gearing up for the 800m on the Gold Coast.

Despite having a successful campaign on the Gold Coast, the 18-year-old has noticed the competition increase as he reaches the main game.

“Racing these bigger boys, there’s definitely a lot more competition,” Neill said.

“It’s just about getting up, not being afraid, and trying to give it to them.”

The 2021 Australian Swimming Trials get underway from June 12-17 at the SA Aquatic & Leisure Centre in Adelaide.

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