UniSC Spartans bid adieu for Paris | UniSC | University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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UniSC Spartans bid adieu for Paris

Three University of the Sunshine Coast Spartans swimmers are bound for Paris today, as they prepare to represent Australia in the pool at the 2024 Olympic Games.

Abbey Connor, Alex Perkins and Zac Incerti were all put through their paces for the final time in the UniSC pool this morning by Spartans coach Mick Palfrey, who has also been selected to join the Olympic swimming contingent as a coach.

“To have three swimmers selected on the Olympic team from UniSC is a great achievement for the whole UniSC Spartans group, and I was fortunate enough to be selected on the coaching staff as well,” Palfrey said.

“We had a very good Australian Swimming Trials performance but it’s onwards and upwards from here and we’ve got to quickly reset ourselves and prepare for Paris.”

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This marks the first Olympic Games for UniSC Spartans Abbey Connor and Alex Perkins, who secured selection in the 200m and 100m butterfly respectively at the Australian Swimming Trials last week.

Perkins, who’ll make her Olympic debut on her birthday, was made to sweat by Australian selectors after narrowly missing the qualifying time in the final, despite finishing second.

“It was a very nervous wait… I was probably more nervous after the race than before it! But I got the qualifying time earlier in the morning so I was keeping my fingers and toes crossed that it helped my chances,” Perkins said.

“I still have a lot of packing and things to do. I didn’t want to prepare anything before the trials and jinx myself.”

Zac Incerti will be hoping to add to his Olympic medal tally, after securing two bronze medals as part of the 4x100m and 4x200m relay teams in Japan.

It was anything but a smooth road to selection for him either, following an injury-troubled year.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have doubts that I’d be here. But I knew what I was capable of, and if you don’t lose faith and belief in yourself, then you can achieve anything you want. I’m proud of that,” Incerti said.

“I’m looking forward to being back around the boys in the relay team and getting amongst that culture again.”

Coach Mick Palfrey said the selections were a testament to the strength of the sport in South-East Queensland – something he believes will only grow as the region builds towards the Brisbane Games in 2032.

“It’s a wonderful facility we’ve got here at the University of the Sunshine Coast, and we work hard together to support the athletes and put them in a great position. The Queensland Academy of Sport also make a tremendous contribution, as does the funding from the Georgina Hope Foundation and the Australian Government,” Palfrey said.

Meanwhile the UniSC Spartans Paralympic swimmers will continue to train at home for a few more months, as they add the finishing touches to their own campaign.

Ricky Betar, Brenden Hall, Lakeisha Patterson, Emily Beecroft and Jenna Jones will represent the Spartans in the pool for Paris, where they’ll be joined by coaches Harley Connolly and Casey Atkins.

“We put a lot of work in, we’ve created a good hub and program here to help them reach their goal of making the Australian team and that’s what these five have done. It’s a great achievement,” Connolly said.

The Olympics action gets underway on 26 July, while the Paralympics start on 28 August.

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