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By Swimming Australia and World Intellectual Impairment Sport
Australia’s Daniel Fox, Liam Schluter and Mitchell Kilduff will represent the hosts as part of a 70-strong swimming team for April’s 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The team was announced by Commonwealth Games Australia on the Gold Coast following the four-day Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials at the Optus Aquatic Centre.
Both athletes will compete in S14 events, for athletes with intellectual impairments.
Made up of 49 able-bodied swimmers and 21 Para-sport athletes, Queensland dominated team selection with 40, followed by New South Wales (10), Victoria (nine), Western Australia (six) and South Australia (five).
The two youngest members of the team are 13-year-old Jasmine Greenwood and 16-year-old Kaylee McKeown while the oldest members of the group are Holly Barratt and Matt Levy, 31.
Fox, Schluter and Kilduff share multiple titles between them. Fox is a Paralympic medallist from London 2012 and Rio 2016, as well as the defending Commonwealth Games champion in the men’s 200m freestyle S14.
Schluter won gold at the 2015 International Federation for Athletes with Intellectual Impairments (World Intellectual Impairment Sport) Global Games in the men’s 400m freestyle. He too is a Paralympian, making his debut at Rio 2016 with a best finish of fifth in the 200m freestyle.
Kilduff took home four gold medals from the 2011 Global Games in Liguria, Italy. He went on to compete at London 2012, finishing fifth in 200m freestyle.
All three athletes are hoping to compete at home again in 2019, when the 2019 World Intellectual Impairment Sport Global Games head to Brisbane in October. The Games are the world’s biggest sports event for athletes with intellectual impairments.
Commonwealth Games Australia Team Executive Andrew Baildon – a five time Commonwealth Games swimming gold medallist, congratulated the whole team, saying:
“We have witnessed a great few days up here on the Gold Coast at the Australian Swimming Trials.
“There has been some amazing performances throughout the trials and it has really given us a great taste of the action we can expect to see from our team in April. It is very exciting.
“I know how special it is to be named on an Australian Commonwealth Games Team and I feel extremely humbled to welcome these 70 swimmers on to Team AUS for Gold Coast 2018.”
National head coach Jacco Verhaeren said: “I am very pleased with the people that qualified. I think we’ve got, almost without exception I’d say, the best people in their best events.
“I think that’s important because if you want to defend titles and want to make the most out of the medal prospects in five weeks’ time you need your best people there.
“We want a full team and we want to compete in every event for medals. It’s as simple as that.
“The A times are the reference, top eight in the world is our goal. You know that’s our yardstick for how we track and what we want to achieve.
“And that will be the yardstick as well for Pan Pacs later on in the year because then we’re going back to A qualifying times without any exemption.
“But this is Commonwealth Games and it’s always great actually to be able to select a little bit of a broader team.
“It’s great that they can grow experience in a multidisciplinary environment like the Olympics really; and it’s one of the very rare events you actually have where you can practice being in that environment and definitely Rio and London 2012 showed that that is really necessary.”
Verhaeren was excited with the crop of new faces on the Games team, praising Swimming Australia’s Pathways Programme.
“We are working with our pathway performance staff, Jamie Salter and Glen Berringen and they work hard on developing systems, together with the State head coaches to basically pick up any young swimmer that has that potential,” said Verhaeren.
“We’re definitely trying to get more systemised and pick up these guys.
“James Magnussen was one of those guys actually as well.
“Three years before the Olympics he was invisible and then suddenly he is picked up and goes to a great coach and great program and becomes the world’s fastest swimmer.
“And sometimes it can work like that and with so many fantastic facilities and school swimming and everything, there’s still a lot (of talent) out there that we still have to explore.”
Australian Para-swimming team for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games:
- Jesse Aungles (SA)
- Emily Beecroft (Vic)
- Rohan Bright (NSW)
- Blake Cochrane (Qld)
- Ellie Cole (Qld)
- Timothy Disken (Vic)
- Katherine Downie (WA)
- Daniel Fox (Qld)
- Jasmine Greenwood (NSW)
- Matthew Haanappel (Vic)
- Brenden Hall (Qld)
- Timothy Hodge (NSW)
- Mitchell Kilduff (NSW)
- Paige Leonhardt (Qld)
- Matthew Levy (NSW)
- Ashleigh McConnell (Vic)
- Lakeisha Patterson (Qld)
- Logan Powell (Qld)
- Liam Schluter (Qld)
- Madeleine Scott (Vic)
- Tiffany Thomas Kane (NSW)
Head coach: Jacco Verhaeren
Mentor coaches: Rohan Taylor, Jan Cameron
- Peter Bishop (SA)
- Michael Bohl (QLD)
- Dean Boxall (QLD)
- Harley Connolly (QLD)
- Simon Cusack (QLD)
- Nathan Doyle (QLD)
- Craig Jackson (VIC)
- Adam Kable (NSW)
- David Lush (QLD)
- Chris Mooney (QLD)
- Chris Nesbit (QLD)
- Vince Raleigh (QLD)
- Richard Scarce (QLD)
- Gavin Stewart (NSW)
- Yuriy Vdovychenko (ACT)