Zac Incerti in fast lane to Hungary after making Australian swim team for world championships
West Australian swimming has a new sprint king, and his name is Zac Incerti.
At just 20 years of age, he may not be a household name like Cam McEvoy and Kyle Chalmers — but he’s not far away.
Incerti has just been picked for the Australian Dolphins World Championship squad to compete in Hungary in July.
“When it first happened, it didn’t sink in,” he said.
“Then the day after, we had orientation with the team and it got real. I can’t wipe the smile off my face.”
Incerti booked his place in the swim team after finishing fourth in the 100 metres freestyle final at the national championships in Brisbane last week, smashing more than a second off his personal best.
The performance earned him an automatic spot on the men’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, alongside Chalmers, McEvoy and fellow rising star Jack Cartwright.
“I was buzzing from the night before with the 100 [metres] backstroke, and I used a lot of adrenaline on that race,” Incerti said.
“I was a bit worried I was going to be a bit flat the day after, because I’ve never actually been able to back up after a big race like that.
“So it was good to find that energy again and get on the blocks.”
Incerti will likely be used in the 100m backstroke relay as well as the freestyle event after he finished second in Brisbane to Mitch Larkin, but outside the world championship qualifying time.
“It’s unreal, it’s an amazing feeling that they are going to use me for two events,” he said.
“I can’t describe it. It’s awesome.”
Incerti keen to learn from veterans
Incerti, from Broome in the Kimberley, moved to Perth when he was 13 and boarded at Aquinas College for his high school years.
He said he would learn from dual Olympian McEvoy and Olympic gold-medallist Chalmers on how to deal with the pressure of being an Australian swimmer.
“I’m sure they will have a lot of information to share. I’m looking forward to it,” he said.
WA has three representatives in the Dolphins team, with Incerti joining Brianna Throssell and Holly Barratt in the national squad.
Barratt, at 29, is the oldest rookie to qualify for the world championships, and Incerti said her achievement proved anything was possible.
“It was an amazing story for her to make it, especially as a fellow backstroker,” he said.
“It’s all working out well for WA.”
Incerti wants to carry on the strong legacy of WA sprint stars, following on from the likes of former Olympic world record holder Eamon Sullivan.
“He’s the macho man of WA swimming isn’t he? It’s awesome to be in that category now,” he said.
Incerti will compete at a series of event in Europe —beginning in Rome and finishing at the Paris Open in France — before the world championships in Budapest.
He said he was planning on taking a few weeks off after Hungary, but with Commonwealth Games trials in December, he will not be out of the pool for long.