Scholarship

Ready to battle the apex predators of swimming

July 25, 2022

Flynn Southam swims like a dolphin, but it’s the king of the jungle’s killer instincts that may be his greatest weapon.

The Bond University swimmer will represent Australia in his first international meeting when the dolphins reach the pool at Birmingham on July 30 on day two of the Commonwealth Games.

And he plans to absorb and learn any experience that could help him take on the apex predators of swimming at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

American Caleb Dressel and Australian Kyle Chalmers are the kings of the sport’s blue riband event, the 100m freestyle.

But with the stunning success of Romanian David Popovici at the recent World Championships and Southam’s own feats of clocking 48.60 earlier this year to beat Chalmers’ 16-year national age record, the challenge has been met for a changing of the guard in Paris.

“I like to hunt, I always like to think of the analogy of a lion,” Southam said.

“Even though they’re at the top of the food chain, they don’t want their prey delivered on a silver platter, they still love the hunt.

“That’s why I think I will be one of the best swimmers in the world in the coming years and certainly in Paris.”

Popovici, who won’t be turning 18 until September, produced the two fastest swims of his life, winning the 100m and 200m freestyle doubles in Budapest in finals where Chalmers and Dressel, the gold medalists of the past two Olympics, did not compete.

And back home in Australia, Southam was glued to his TV screen.

“It was great to see what he is doing,” he said.

“And it gives me confidence to know that it is possible to do those times at a young age and to win where he is now.

“I like David, we talk quite a bit, and I’m excited to see what the future holds between us and the battles and the rivalry.”

Southam, who has just turned 17 and is in year 12 at Lindisfarne College, has his plate full in 2022 as he prepares for the ATARs.

Together with Swimming Australia head coach Rohan Taylor and Bond Bull Shark mentors Chris Mooney and Kyle Samuelson, the decision was made to let Southam skip the World Championships and instead focus on the Commonwealth Games and then the junior Pan Pacs in Hawaii in August, led by Mooney.

“I know that the path we have taken will be the right one for me,” he said.

While the Olympics remain the long-term goal, he has clear ambitions for Birmingham, including securing a place in the team for the relay final.

“I’m really grateful to be there and whatever happens, happens and I’m just going to enjoy it,” he said.

“I’m just trying to get as much knowledge as possible and apply it to my own growth and come to Paris, that’s what we’re focusing on right now, it’s to get as much experience as possible in the team environment and see if that can help me.

“But I’m going to bring my A-game, don’t get so confused, I’m going there to fight for Australia.”

For information on watching Southam and other Bondies in Birmingham, click here: https://bond.edu.au/news/71986/commonwealth-games-schedule-bondies-birmingham.

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