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Queensland swimming championships: Shayna Jack claims silver in 100m freestyle final

by ZwemZa on December 13th, 2021

Shayna Jack celebrates after a thrilling 100m free final. Picture: David Clark

Shayna Jack has celebrated her return to swimming with a silver medal at the Queensland state titles, just touched out of a stunning victory in the 100m by rising star Mollie O’Callaghan.

Jack finished a touch behind her training partner and two-time Olympic relay gold medallist but it could not dull her delight at a return to swimming that seemed a world away when she was banished from the sport for using a banned substance.

Jack led the field through the opening 50m of the final, turning in 26.62sec but was reeled in by O’Callaghan, with the pair going stroke for stroke in the final 25m before O’Callaghan touched the wall fractionally ahead.

Teen tyro O’Callaghan, who won gold in the 4x100m and 4x200m at the Tokyo Olympics, won in 53.62, with Jack marginally behind in 53.80.

The result was a thrill for Jack, who knew after a fast morning heat swim she had not lost her mojo.

“I knew I hadn’t lost it because I’d started training back with Dean and the squad and I could see it, I could see glimpses,” she said.

“I was like, I’ve still got this and I know I can do this.

“But putting together a great race and reminding your muscles what you can do and can’t do and how to do it, that was the goal coming in today and through this week.

“It’s been such a great start and I do feel really, really proud and happy just to be here.”

Coach Dean Boxall, who also coaches O’Callaghan, as well as Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus, was proud of his charge, saying getting back to the 53 second range was a “big win”.

“She was a little bit anxious … two-and-a-half years, your first race back,” Boxall said.

“For her to be here and swim and be back with the St Peters crew and swimming well too (is great).

“Shayna’s still got a lot of improvement as well.

“This is really exciting with Shayna.

“Paris (Olympics in 2024) is going to be really exciting but with another six months of training under her belt, main sets … you’ll see her improve (quickly).”

Boxall has been extremely limited in the interaction he has been able to have with Jack over the past two years.

Unable to coach officially, or even talk about swimming, he has been a support for her.

“Absolutely limited,” Boxall said of their interactions while Jack was banned.

“I was there as a support mechanism, I was there for her mental health.

“There was no way anyone was stopping me … that girl was hurting.

“It was nothing to do with swimming, it was to do with her mental health.”

But he had no doubt she could return to her best.

“I wouldn’t say I had doubts , because Shayna’s very talented,” he said.

“It’s going to be where her mind is.

“Getting back physically, that wasn’t going to be too much of an obstacle, it’s where her mind’s going to be.

“If her mind’s that on, she’ll be back in the best shape possible, if it’s not, it’s going to be a struggle.

“She’s mentally tough that girl, very mentally tough (after) what she’s been through.

“I don’t think anyone in swimming in Australia has seen what she’s had to go through, that was brutal.

“And she’s come out the other side.”

Rising star Flynn Southam set a Queensland allcomers age record in winning the men’s 100m in 49.40.

Several Olympic stars shined on night two of individual finals, with Tokyo gold medallists Zac Stubblety-Cook, Ariarne Titmus, Chelsea Hodges and Brianna Throssell also winning titles on Monday night.

After being beaten in the 200m by clubmate Mollie O’Callaghan on Sunday night, Titmus dominated the 400m freestyle – her pet event – leading from start to finish.

Titmus won in 4:04.64, well outside her best but still the 31st fastest in the world this year.

Titmus owns the top two of those, while she and great rival US distance legend Katie Ledecky combine for 15 of the top 30.

Emma Greenwood | The Courier Mail

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