Australia has so far recorded two medals at the 2019 Summer Universiade in Napoli, after William Yang (University of Sydney) and Moesha Johnson (Southern Cross University) claimed gold and silver medals in the Men's 50m Butterfly and Women’s 1500m Freestyle, respectively.
Yang won Australia’s first medal of the competition after qualifying fastest in the 50 fly on Friday. Backing it up in the final, Yang produced a blistering swim to win in 23:32, edging out Yuya Tanaka of Japan by just 0.03 seconds. Grigori Pekarski of Belarus was third in 23.35.
“I really enjoy the team environment here and I obviously heard the crowd and my teammates and coaches cheer for me so that got me energised,” Yang said post-win.
“During the race I reckon I panicked a bit, maybe because of the adrenaline, however I just stayed focused and kept going,” Yang said.
Yang joins a prestigious list of swimming gold medallists at the World University Games, including Mark Kerry, Graeme Brewer, Susie and Rob Woodhouse, Jon Seiben and Cate Campbell. He becomes the 87th Australian swimmer to win a medal and the 23rd gold medallist.
Qualifying second fastest in the heats the day before, Johnson flew out of the blocks in the first 300m of the Women's 1500 Freestyle before consolidating to produce a time of 16:20.00. She finished only behind Waka Kobori of Japan (16:16.33) and ahead of Molly Ann Kowal (16:20.99) of the United States of America who won the bronze.
It was a battle of endurance for the health student, having to navigate her way through a tough schedule which involved heats taking place the morning prior.
“It was a new experience racing heats, we don’t race heats in the distance events in Australia, so you’ve just got to take it as the field goes,” said Johnson.
“You’ve just got to kind of wing-it I guess, but still be able to control your pace but also be prepared to go out harder or back off a little bit.”
After an eventful meet, Johnson was thrilled to come out with a silver medal for her efforts.
“I’m pretty relieved to just get through my race and race a solid time, and to come home with a medal is pretty awesome.”
Johnson becomes the 88th Australian swimmer to claim a medal at the World University Games, which are scheduled to finish on Sunday 14 July.
World University Games Results
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Griffith University student Chelsea Hodges is through to the final of the Women's 100m Breaststroke qualifying 7th in 1:07.94.
Queensland University of Technology student Jared Gilliland is through to the final of the Men's 200m Individual Medley qualifying in 6th in 2:00.49.
Both Joshua Parrish (Commerce, Griffith University) and Ben Roberts (Science, Edith Cowen University) qualified for the Men's 1500m Freestyle final, Parrish in 7th in 15:23.24 and Roberts in 8th in 15:23.40.
The finals for the Women’s 100m Breaststroke, Men’s 200m Individual Medley and Men’s 1500m Freestyle will take place on Saturday 6 July from 18:00 CEST (2:00 AEST). All the semifinals and finals will be broadcast on Eurosport and the FISU live stream.
Julia Hawkins (Monash University) just missed the final in the Women's 100m Freestyle finishing tied for 10th in 56.18.
Olympian Jacob Hansford (Australian College of Physical Education) missed the final of the Men's 200m Freestyle finihsing in 10th in 1:49.37.
Ashton Brinkworth (University of Western Australia) didn’t qualify for the Men's 200m Freestyle semifinals finishing 7th in his heat in 1:51.02.
Monash University arts sudent Zoe Deacon kicked off her 2019 Napoli Universiade campaign in the Women's 100m Breaststroke finishing in 1:10.87, missing out on the semifinals by .10 seconds.
Sophie Caldwell (Deakin University) also qualified for the Women's 1500m Freestyle final, finishing in 6th place with a time of 16:39.14.
Caldwell then backed up in the Women’s 4x200m Freestyle relay team final. After qualifying 2nd fastest earlier in the morning with 8:11.87, the team of Caldwell, Mikayla Messer (Griffith University), Phoebe Hines (University of Hawaii), Dahlas Rogers (University of Sunshine Coast) improved their time in the final, but saw a swag of teams lift the pace even further to finish in 6th place with a time of 8:09.55.
Bowen Gough (Deakin University) raced in the final of the Men’s 200m Butterfly final, finishing 8th with a time of 1:58.56.
Ashton Brinkworth (University of Western Australia) just missed out on a place in the final of the Men’s 100m Freestyle, finishing 9th with a time of 49.58.
Alice Stuart (Griffith University) placed 10th in the Women’s 100m Butterfly in a time of 59.80, after qualifying for the semi-finals earlier in the morning.
Zoe Deacon (Monash University) just missed the qualification for the semifinals of the Women's 200m Breaststroke finishing 17th in 2:31.45.
Joshua Parrish (Griffith University) finished 11th in 8:05.09 and Ben Roberts (Edith Cowen University) finished 12th in 8:08.24 in the Men's 800m Freestyle.
Benno Negri (Monash University) finished 43rd in 51.15 in the Men's 100m Freestyle preliminaries.