Holy heck! Our swimmers are in good knick!

As I write, it’s currently 242 days to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics!

That means, there are athletes all around the world diving into the next phase of their training as they edge closer to the pinnacle of their sport. The qualification process for the Olympics, is a tough process, it requires, determination, a hard work ethic, skill and mental toughness. But, for each sport each qualification is different. Some sports are time based and some are based on the amount of wins you’ve had etc

But, last night for our Aussie Swimmers it was their night to shine at the 2019 Australian Swimmer of the Year Awards in Sydney and if you haven’t heard of Ariarne Titmus, well then I better give you a good edmu-mi-cation. This girl is 19 years old and already this year became the World Champion in the 400m Freestyle, after beating world record holder and American superstar, Katie Ledecky. Keeping in mind Katie, hadn’t been beaten since the Rio Olympics in 2016. Ariarne also, claimed another three medals including a gold and a world record in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay. So, it was only fitting that she walked away last night with three major awards!

Photo credit: Swimming Australia

-‘Hancock Prospecting Olympic Program Swimmer of the Year’, the ‘Short Course Swimmer of the Year’ and the ‘Hancock Prospecting Patron Award’.

It was a big night also for Kareena Lee from Noosa, she’s amazing and I’m bias because she’s a fellow Sunny Coast gal! She cleaned up and took home Open Water Swimmer of the Year. She got a top ten finish at World’s which means she automatically qualifies for the 2020 Olympics and in fact, is the only swimmer who has qualified so far for the games. (Pool trials held next June) Kareena, is such a tough competitor and an extremely hard worker (and you need to be, if you’re going to make it 10km in the open water. (Am I right? Am I right? or Am I right?)

Photo credit: Swimming Australia

Our para- athletes also cleaned up with joint winners; Tiffany Thomas Kane and Lakeisha Patterson winning ‘Paralympic Program Swimmer of the Year.’ Such an amazing effort and next year’s Paralympic Games are going to be incredible!

Photo credit: Swimming Australia

The moral of this story, is to tell as many people as we can about the good form our swimmers are in right now. After the London and Rio Olympic Games, it felt like our Aussie Swimmers had copped it a bit and I can’t help but feel for these athletes who give so much to Aussie sport. There’s certainly been a change in the guard with a wealth of young swimmers coming through.

The other week we also saw Minna Atherton (another Brissy girl), break the World Record int he 100m Backstroke SC. What an extraordinary achievement and it just makes me so excited for next years games, when all of our swimmers will be on show and ready to take on the rest of the world.

Giddy up!

Katy Perry to bring fireworks to next years World Cup

Ok, ok, ok. *Breathe*

Turns out my two loves have just combined in the most amazing way. Sport and pop music.

How so, I hear you ask?

When you think about cricket, you don’t really think about Katy Perry, right?

Wrong! So, here’s the deal. Katy Perry has been locked and loaded to perform at next years Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup Final at the MCG. It’s all taking place on March 8, just in time for International Women’s Day. What a hoot and a holla this is gonna be!

The organisers are expecting a new record crowd when it comes to a womens sporting event. I reckon, they’re in with a shot. We bang on about how hard it is to sell tickets to women’s games. But, let’s be real, we all know that womens sport is on the rise and it’s about bringing awareness to the sport. Yes, there is a need to sell more tickets to games, but that’s not going to come if the marketing isn’t there. Therefore, bringing in a heavyweight like Katy Perry, will bring in a bigger crowd, then those people that attend the game will tell 10 friends their experience at the MCG with Katy Perry while watching cricket.

Anyhow, Katy is thrilled:

“I’m all about celebrating equality and the achievements of women, which naturally happens on a global scale on International Women’s Day,” said Perry.

“It’s no coincidence that I said yes to performing live at the women’s final on this day.

“I hope to bring a unifying, electric performance playing some of my most empowering songs for the best female cricketers on the planet and some of my greatest fans, as we all unite to support gender equality and empower people to achieve everything that they desire.”

She will be performing before the match. So, what are you doing, March 8? Should we go?

In fact, shut up and take my money already!

Come on Barty, let’s go party!

Can I start by saying, I don’t know Ash Barty, but I’m sure as hell, proud as punch! What a woman! At 23 years old, Ash Barty has done the unthinkable and has taken home the biggest pay day in tennis history, $6.4 million. Oh, that’s also to add to her already $10million in winnings this year. The best part, she deserves every single penny.

Now, we know that’s not why she plays the game. She plays tennis because she loves it. In fact, she had a break a few years ago to focus on playing cricket for the Brisbane Heat. She needed a rest, but our favourite part of this story is that she has come back, fitter, stronger and more mentally sharp to own that World Number 1 ranking, that she will now see out the year with.

Another title under her belt, the WTA Finals in Shenzhen, has just been the icing on the cake for Ash. If you missed her post match interview, you can see she gets a little flustered (as you would after the year you’ve had!)

Yep, she dropped “shitty,” but can you blame her? Just like a champ, she picked up where she left off and continued on with her interview. We’ve all been there right?

She also, mentioned, the word “TEAM,” a word that maybe foreign to some other Aussie Tennis blokes. I digress.

As a massive advocate for women’s sport, Barty, has put the ladies back on the map when it comes to tennis here in Australia. The fact, that she is so down to earth, a humble winner, a team player and an all round incredible athlete, this is just the start for Ash Barty and as together as a nation I think we’re all excited to see where the Barty Party takes us.

Minna Atherton breaks the 100m Backstroke World Record!

Last week, 18 year old, Minna Atherton broke the short course world record in the 100m backstroke at the International Swimming League.

She flew home to be the first female ever to break 55seconds in the 100m backstroke (short course), 54.89. A blistering time, which puts her in prime position not only for a spot on the Australian Swim team at next year’s Olympic Games, but also a spot on the podium and if she follows her current form, we could see her return home with some shiny new bling, in the gold medal variety.

The questions here is, do we want to call it so soon? Will she now feel the pressure of having to win at next years Olympics and to take home that gold medal? Minna is a teenager with plenty of talent, but also an extremely hard worker. Her coach David Lush at the Brisbane Grammar School has been working hard with his squad to ensure they’re peaking at the right time, especially in the lead up to Tokyo. Minna is the ex-training partner of swimming veteran, Emily Seebohm. Earlier this year, Seebohm, made the move to train under Michael Bohl on the Gold Coast. (Former coach of Stephanie Rice, Megan Nay and Bronte Barratt, just to name a few.)

I know the Olympic Trials aren’t till mid next year, but I’m already so excited that there will be the best backstroke showdown we’ve seen in years! There are 3 backstrokers in particular that have really caught our eyes. The young gun from the Sunshine Coast and silver medallist at the recent World Championships, Kaylee McKeown, you’ve then got the most recent world record holder in Minna Atherton, but let’s not forget about 3 time Olympian, (going for her 4th Olympics) Emily Seebohm. If Em, makes this next Olympics, she will be the second swimmer in history to make 4 Olympic Games, behind Leisel Jones.

So, where to from here? Well, I dunno about you, but I’m grabbing my popcorn and as a keen swimming enthusiast, I’m eagerly awaiting the results to roll in from the World Cups, the International Swim League and then of course, all the national championships which will take place early next year.

NETBALL: 2019 Constellation Cup

“The best Constellation Cup, we’ve seen in years.”- Sue Gaudion.

This is what the netball experts are calling it. A rivalry that is so strong, we’re talking about Australia VS New Zealand. After the 3rd match today, NZ lead the series 2 wins to Australia’s one. Mind you, the two games that Australia lost was only by one point but to rub more salt into the wound, this is the bargain they lost the 2019 World Cup by.

New Zealand are in great shape, and yes, I’m bias because I’m a massive Sunshine Coast Lightning fan, but former Lightning coach Noeline Taurua, is at the helm of the Kiwi team. She has taken them from from 4th in the world at the 2018 Commonwealth Games to number 1 in the world after their win in the UK back in July.

Let’s just be clear though, I’m still barracking for Australia BIG TIME! But, I did want to point out just how amazing that turn around in the NZ team has been. While Lisa Alexander (Aussie Coach), would have been scratching her head in moments of the game, more so in the attacking end, she made a few big calls at once, replacing, Gretel Tippet and Caitlin Bassett out for the Melbourne Vixens duo, Caitlin Thwaites and Tegan Phillip. While many Phillips stats were down, there was that “knowing” between to the two. The game see-sawed and at times like a tennis match with massive long passes, that would have both coaches shaking in their boots. With both teams shooting at 90%, 3 intercepts for Australia and 7 for NZ (3 coming from our Sunny Coast Lightning veteran Laura Langman in the last quarter) is it any wonder this rivalry is so strong!

One more game to go in Perth and the Constellation Cup could be anyone’s. With the new improved Suncorp Super Netball League, this league has pushed players on a national and international basis and has taken them to the next level. In my eyes, netball has never been in better shape and I’m just so thrilled that I can play a small part in such a wonderful sport for woman.

Good luck Diamonds, you’ve so got this!