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Swim squad races to Birmingham Games

The Bond University swimmers competing at the 2022 Australian Swimming Championships. Picture: Cavan Flynn

by Holly Slattery

THE Bond University swim squad are vying with the nation’s best at the Australian Swimming Championships to secure spots at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in July and August. 

On the second day of competition five members of the squad have progressed to the finals, with Ben Armbruster, Minna Atherton, Mia O’Leary, Flynn Southam and Laura Taylor racing tonight for a place on the Dolphins team. They’ll be joined by Bond students Jenna Strauch and Elijah Winnington.  

The contest will determine the Australian team for international swimming’s biggest upcoming events including the FINA World Championships in Budapest, the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Hawaii, and the US Open Swimming Championships in North Carolina. 

Bond head coach Chris Mooney hopes that with some of the big names treating 2022 as a Tokyo cooldown, fresh faces will emerge. 

“This is the team you want to get your rookies on,” Mooney said. 

“There are a couple of athletes that take a bit of a break to freshen up before the next Olympiad so you’re mindful that there are really good opportunities to make the Australian team and then fight like crazy to stay there until 2024. 

“We’re ready for any opportunity that presents next week and hopefully we’ll be good enough on the day to get on the wall. 

“We’ve had really good results in training, we’ve raced well at junior nationals leading in and subsequently other lead-in meets for the senior athletes, so we’re quietly confident. 

“We’re counting down the days to get on that plane, to get over there and get the game on.” 

Breaststroker Mia O’Leary is representing the Bull Sharks for the first time at national level in what will be her second Australian Swimming Championships. 

The 19-year-old who relocated from Brisbane to train under coach Mooney is competing in five events across the week and is excited to race with the support of her teammates. 

“I’m feeling a lot more calm than I was last time and I’m just super excited to race,” O’Leary said. 

“Our team is so supportive of each other and we’re all confident in the work we’ve done, so I think we’re all just ready to go out and show everyone what Bond’s got. 

“I’d love to make an open team - that’s the goal for these trials - but whatever happens, happens, and I'm just really excited to race as fast as I can.” 

The championships run from Wednesday, May 18 to Sunday, May 22.

Bond University national team: Karl Albertyn (16), Ben Armbruster (19), Minna Atherton (21), Louis Bebb (18), Ava Brickley (17), Gideon Burnes (16), Jesse Coleman (17), Joshua Collett (18), Layla Day (18), Charli Greedy (17), Madeleine Hardy (18), Holly Hembling (14), Milla Jansen (15), Isabelle Mason (20), Riley Mather (18), Olivia McCarthy (18), Riley Mitchell (18), Mia O’Leary (19), Hannah Schmidt (19), Flynn Southam (16), Edward Speller (18), Tobias Street (18), Laura Taylor (22), Charlie White (18).

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