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Shalamon mixes with swim élite

Swimming | Published:

TEAM JERSEY fans were out in force at the Optus Aquatics Centre in Australia yesterday, as they had the opportunity to cheer on one of their own in a Commonwealth Games swimming final for the first time in over a decade.

Harry Shalamon became the first Islander to reach a Commonwealth Games swimming final in 12 years Picture: MORAG OBARSKA

Harry Shalamon lined up alongside a host of leading names for the men’s 50m backstroke showdown on the Gold Coast, holding outside hopes of clinching what would have been his Island’s first Games medal in any sport since 1990.

The 20-year-old – the first Jersey representative to reach a swimming final since 2006 – finished sixth in front of a lively crowd of 10,000, clocking 25.73 sec.

‘The atmosphere was phenomenal, especially with the top three ranking guys being from Australia,’ he said.

‘It made it a little bit more intimidating, but I’m incredibly happy with the final. I had a bit of a sloppy finish, but you know what, it’s just about experience for me and I’m really happy with what I’ve managed.

‘I’ve got the 200m back and 50m free [today], and I’m going for PBs. That’s all I can ask for.’

Shalamon, who finished 19th in the 100m butterfly during the morning session, reached his first Commonwealth final as fourth-fastest thanks to a stunning Island record-breaking display on Saturday morning [25.52s]. But his efforts to break into the top three and earn a podium appearance were always going to prove difficult.

The Australian trio of Mitch Larkin, Ben Treffers and Zac Incerti were well clear on paper, and the race went true to form with Olympic medallist Larkin leading his countrymen home for a clean sweep. Shalamon missed out on fifth by just 0.01s.

Earlier in the day, Atherley was allocated the role of reserve for the women’s 100m freestyle semi-finals after registering 58.42s in the heats to claim 18th overall – a swim which followed a new Island record in the 200m backstroke. The Tigers swimmer touched home in 2 min 16.89 sec for 12th, which represents her best finish so far.

Before Shalamon’s final both swimmers held a 100 per cent personal-best success rate.

Jersey's 4x100m freestyle relay squad – Alexis Militis, Dan Halksworth, Liam du Feu, Simon Le Couilliard – finished seventh in their final at Melbourne 2006.

Jason Fox

By Jason Fox
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