Commonwealth Games Gold medallist Flynn Southam will team up with Bull Sharks head coach Chris Mooney for his next international strike mission at the Junior Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Hawaii.
The 17-year-old handled the pressure and expectation of his first major overseas meet with ease, claiming two Gold medals in Birmingham and will now test his speed against the next generation of swimming superstars coming out of America.
Southam collected his shiny souvenirs in the 4x100m and 4x200m relays, the latter alongside good mate and Bond University Bachelor of Business student Elijah Winnington.
Mooney said the youngest member on the Dolphins team kept a cool head at his first major international event.
“He had a 50-hour journey to reach to the staging camp in Europe, so that was a really good opportunity for him to deal with all the unforeseen misfortunes that can sometimes happen when you’re on your way to a significant meet,” said Mooney.
“He was aware of a little bit of pressure creeping in and also dealing with the nerves and the process of being in the world spotlight for the first time, but I really felt he was comfortable with it.”
Southam will arrive home on the Gold Coast over the weekend before heading back to the Bond pool on Monday to start preparing for the Junior Pac Pacs starting in three weeks.
Mooney will spearhead Australia’s campaign.
“We’ve just finished racing the Commonwealth countries and now we get to race the best Americans around Flynn’s age group, and the US has put together a really amazing squad,” he said.
The event in Honolulu also doubles as qualification for the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Melbourne in December.
“Flynn’s not getting carried away, but I think all the hard work and the sacrifices he’s made means he’s now able to have a nice reward with the racing,” Mooney said.
“And the whole process of travelling with the team and just having great support from world class athletes is like having a second family.”
Southam has already declared he will be ‘one of the best swimmers in the world’ come the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“I like chasing, I always like to think of the analogy of a lion,” Southam said.
“Even though they are at the top of the food chain they wouldn’t want their prey delivered on a silver platter, they still love the hunt.”