Gold medals for Bond's elite swimmers

April 16, 2015

Bond's team of elite swimmers have struck gold at the Australian Swimming Championships, culminating in butterfly queen Maddie Groves breaking an Australian record set 15 years ago by Susie O'Neill.

Maddie Groves, Melanie Wright (nee Schlanger), Jordan Harrison and Alex Graham all competed at the meet in Sydney, with Wright and Groves qualifying for the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia.

Groves took out the gold medal in the 200 metre butterfly and silver in the 100 metre butterfly, swimming the fastest time ever seen in an Australian pool in the 200 metre event and bettering the Australian All Comers record set by Susie O'Neill in 2000.

It was also the fastest time clocked this year in the 200 metre butterfly worldwide, making Groves the world number one in the event.

She secured her spot on the Australian World Championship team in two races: the 200 metre butterfly, 100 metre butterfly, and is also the likely contender to swim the butterfly leg of the 4x100 metre medley relay.

Wright finished third in the 50 metre freestyle and 100 metre freestyle events, qualifying her for both the 4x100 metre and 4x200 metre relay teams at the 2015 World Championships.

Harrison took home the silver medal in the 1500 metre freestyle, as well as gold in the 4x200 metre relay event, breaking the Australian club record alongside teammates Grant Hackett, Daniel Smith and Thomas Fraser-Holmes.

Short course swimmer Graham made the finals in the prestigious 100 metre freestyle race, and will join Harrison representing Bond University on the Australian Uniroos squad at the 2015 World University Games in South Korea in July.

Groves said the World Championships was an important opportunity to compete against the best swimmers from across the globe.

"Last year I had the opportunity to swim for Australia in both the Commonwealth Games and the Pan Pacific Championships, but the World Championships is the next step up - it's a bigger competition and the stakes are higher," she said.

"Being the year before the Olympics, the pressure is really on to do well to give yourself the best chance of making the Olympic podium in 2016.

"The goal is always to improve upon your last result so my aim in Russia is to race faster than my qualifying time. I'm really looking forward to the challenge."

Former 'Madame Butterfly', Susie O'Neill, reached out to Groves in the wake of her record-breaking swim.

"Susie sent me a text message to congratulate me on breaking her Australian All Comers record, which was such a privilege as she has always been an inspiration to me," said Groves.

Wright, current 4x100 metre relay world record holder and Olympic gold medallist, said her focus was on laying a strong foundation to qualify her for a third Olympic Games bid in 2016.

"It’s always a privilege to represent Australia and I am very excited to be a part of the Australian Dolphins team again at the World Championships in Russia," she said.

"For me personally, it will act as a stepping stone into next year and my Olympic preparation.

"Qualifying for the Rio Olympics would mark my third and final Olympic Games and I am very hungry to make sure I perform to my absolute best when it matters."