Minna claims new award

June 9, 2020

Minna Atherton has gotten to the end of her tether.

The world record breaking backstroker has been getting ready to cut ties with her training aid and returned to the pool proper at the end of last month.

The Bond University Biomedical Science student was also recently announced as the UniSport athlete of the year.

The 19-year-old had a breakout 2019 including a world record, gold in the 4x100 medley relay and silver in the 100m backstroke at the World Championships in Gwangju.

“It is pretty boring on the tether," Atherton said of her modified training.

"I’m very excited to get off it and stop doing so much land work. My body doesn’t enjoy it as much as the pool.

“My dog likes to jump on top of me while I’m trying to swim, so I have to lock him inside.

“Last year was really exciting for me and I was looking forward to heading into Tokyo, it’s obviously been pushed back now.

“It has given me more time to prepare for next year.”

The Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship student became the first woman in history to break the 55-second barrier in the 100m backstroke short-course event at the International Swimming League in Budapest.

The Bond student then cemented herself as one of the premier swimmers on the planet, claiming the 50, 100 and 200m treble – including the world record.

Everything was looking good for Tokyo until Covid-19 forced the postponement of the Games.

“We raced so much in the ISL and it gave me a good chance to learn how to race properly and what works for me best,” she said.

“ISL was heaps of fun, and I found that I swim better when I’m having fun and enjoying myself.

“The team environment really helped with that. I was pretty shocked to break the world record, I didn’t expect to go that fast, but I was really excited.

“I prefer to be enjoying myself, but to do that in the future, I need to do what I need to do now on the tether.

“There is a lot of work that goes in behind the scenes that nobody sees, so you have to trust that process and that you have done the work.”

While Atherton waits to start competing again, she has kept herself busy during Covid-19 lockdown.

Along with taking on three subjects in her biomedical degree next semester she has also been helping her dad’s business as it shifted from a distillery to making hand sanitiser.

“I do like having lots going on, so I’ve started doing some little hobbies like baking and gardening to keep me occupied,” she said.

“I made croissants for my mum for mother’s day, I don’t like cooking, but I like baking.

“I’m trying to start a garden on the balcony, but I’m not known for keeping plants alive.

“It all keeps me occupied, but the main goal is still the Olympics, it’s hard not to think about.”