Madeleine Gough is looking forward to being part of history at the Tokyo Olympics. PICTURE: Cavan Flynn
She smashed the Australian record at the Olympic swimming trials, now Maddy Gough plans to create more history at the Tokyo Olympics.
The Bond University Bachelor of Biomedical Science student will compete in the 1500m at Tokyo, the first time the event has been held at the Olympics for women.
“It is amazing to be a part of making history,” Gough said.
“(The women’s 1500m) is still new, everyone is learning the best way to swim it, and every time I swim it we try a different thing.
“I am definitely aiming to make the final and hope to go faster than I went at trials.”
The Gold Coast swimmer – originally from Coffs Harbour – led from start to finish at the trials and plans to race with the same aggression in the biggest race of her life.
“I think at the Olympics everyone will go out as hard as they can.
“I don’t think it’ll be a cagey race, I think everyone will go out and try to hold on.
“I try to go as fast as I can in a relaxed, controlled way of swimming.”
The 1500m is the most gruelling event on the swim program and pushes athletes to the limit.
It challenges technique, physical stamina and mental capabilities.
“For me, it hurts the most between 600 to 1200 metres,” Gough said.
“At the start you are pumped and getting into the race and at the end you know you can sprint home.
“In the middle, trying to stay concentrated and keep the same pace going is hard.
“Every 100 metres it gets harder to hold that race pace.
“Knowing there are only a few hundred left, you can let loose and go as fast as you can. That gives you a mental and physical boost.”
The 22-year-old has earnt her date with destiny, racing against the world’s best swimmers after gradually progressing through the ranks.
“I was never a superstar kid, I was from a small town in Coffs Harbour,” she said.
“I was competitive in Coffs Harbour, but then I’d come to the Gold Coast or Sydney and realise that there were a lot of people that swum a lot faster.
“I moved to the Gold Coast when I was 16 and since then I’ve started progressing through the age group levels and I have improved over the past few years.”
Gough said she was grateful for the sacrifices made by her family so she could pursue her dreams.
“It was a big decision for the family (to move to the Gold Coast).
“Both of my brothers had just finished high school and it was a big decision to leave all our friends behind.
“To make the Olympics and swim for Australia means so much.
“I’ve trained so hard, so many people have helped me, it’s been my dream for a long time.
“I’ve been wanting to go since I was 10.”
Madeleine Gough (Georgina Hope Rinehart Swimming Excellence Scholarship student)
Swimming: 1500m freestyle
Heats: Monday July 26, Tokyo Aquatics Centre
Final: Wednesday July 28