Yong’s millisecond leap to qualify for the Olympics

10 June 2024

Day 1 of the Australian Swimming Trials and the atmosphere was electric as swimmers edged closer to Olympic selection. WA’s Joshua Yong (UWA West Coast/WAIS), among them, achieved a milestone swim in his pet event, the 100m breaststroke, touching under the Olympic qualifying time, bringing him one step closer to Paris 2024.

In the intense final, Yong clocked a personal best of 59.48 seconds, narrowly beating the Olympic qualifying mark by 0.01 seconds.

“It's still surreal, I think. I guess every swimmer that's (made an Olympics) is why we get into the water every morning to reach this goal, I guess to see it finally come to fruition, it’s surreal.

“I've always backed myself. Especially over the past three months, I think after doing more 200m training, trying to utilise my strength at the back end, that's something I've definitely been working on.

“To see it happen here, I’m very happy,” said Yong.

The 2022 world record holder in the men’s 4x100m medley, Yong, has had an incredible journey to reach this moment. He was already a top contender heading into the finals, but he still needed to prove that he could make the cut - and he did.

Finishing behind Samuel Williamson (VIC) but ahead of Olympic champion Zac Stubblety-Cook (QLD), Yong's swim was met with roaring cheers from the crowd. A touching moment of sportsmanship followed as all the boys in the race came together in one lane to hug, support, and congratulate one another.

"Thank you for all the support you’ve (Swimming WA community) given me and I made it, I guess," Yong chuckled.

For Yong, the path to Paris is now clearer, and with his prime position, the dream of competing in the Olympics is a promising reality.

Highlanders’ Tex Cross (c: Ryan Steenkamp) appeared in the men’s 400m freestyle final. Ranked eighth, Cross defeated Joshua Staples (QLD) to secure seventh place during the night session.

In the morning heats, Delta Cross (Highlanders’, c: Ryan Steenkamp) scored a new personal best in the women’s 400m freestyle clocking in with a 4:25.38.

The first day has set the stage for an intense week of competition, with Olympic selections culminating on Saturday night. As the pressure heats up, the performances of swimmers like Yong hint at the thrilling races to come.

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