Australian Zac Stubblety-Cook has powered home to finish first in the 200m Breaststroke Final, netting the Aussies another gold in the pool. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.
Swimming star unsurprised at slow start
At the 50m mark, Liesel Jones issued calming words of advice for Australians all over the world.
“Don’t stress about Zac’s start, he has a very strong second 100m,” she said.
The words came as Stubblety-Cook was half a length back on Dutchman Arno Kamminga and despite the advice from one of our greats, it was impossible not to be nervous for the 22-year-old from Brisbane.
Perhaps the one person not concerned with the start was the most important one of all, as Zac remained calm under pressure, slowly bridging the gap between himself and the race leaders.
By the 150m mark, he had made his way up into the bronze medal position, Kamminga still in the lead and Finnish Matti Mattsson right there with him.
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Fight to the finish
What happened next was reminiscent of the terrific feats of Ariarne Titmus in the days prior, as Zac stepped it up a notch, increasing both his speed and stroke-rate as he launched into the final 50 metres.
The race was well and truly on, Kamminga’s lead getting smaller and smaller. Drawing level with a quarter of the pool left to swim, Zac had all the momentum and from then on, there was only one winner.
Australia was on its collective feet when Stubblety-Cook touched home with an Olympic Record time of 2:06.38, his final 50m a full two seconds quicker than eventual silver medallist Arno Kamminga.
Mattsson held on ahead of Chupkov to round out the podium, but this was Stubblety-Cook’s race.
From his breath-taking time set in qualifying back in Adelaide through to now, he was billed as one of the favourites for this race and he delivered with authority.
Back home, his mum and partner watched on, the latter speaking to how much he has grown as a swimmer but more importantly, a person, in his pursuit of Olympic excellence.
The Olympics continues to find a way to bring out the most raw emotions from watchers on, but how could it not? Years of work culminating in the achievement of the ultimate goal, Stubblety-Cook delivered on the biggest stage.
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