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Team AUS – More than just a catchphrase

11 October 2018

BUENOS AIRES 2018: In true Aussie style, our Youth Olympians have been living the values of mateship and showing that their motto “Team AUS,” is more than just a catchphrase.

Three sports across multiple disciplines have come together to draw on one another’s strengths, with our Aussie swimmers sharing both the pool and their swimming tips with the modern pentathletes and triathletes. 

The Australian swim team have already nabbed five medals at the 2018 Buenos Aires Youth Olympic Games (YOG) and along with training for their own events, they have been working with their multidisciplinary teammates to perfect the swimming leg of their respective competitions. 

Swimming coach Tracey Menzies said having modern pentathletes Nikita Mawhirt and Keaan Van Venrooij and triathletes Charlotte Derbyshire and Josh Ferris training with their squad, was “truly a credit to the whole team.” 

“I understand the difficulties in getting training space pre-comp and wanted to give the modern pentathlon and triathlon guys the same opportunities we had,” Menzies said. 

With the Australian modern pentathlon official due to arrive in Buenos Aires just in time for competition, Mawhirt and Van Venrooij have linked up with the swimming team for some additional training. 

Nikita Mawhirt

For Mawhirt, being able to train alongside her Aussie swimming teammates is an invaluable resource, not only in her preparation for competition, but for the experience of competing for a national combined team. 

“We get to the pool early in the morning and obviously the swimmers have their own program to follow, but we all warm up and stretch together. 

“Tracey writes us individual sets and if we’ve got any pacework, she will time us and give us feedback.  

“We work on our kicking, drills and really specific race speeds, which is going to be so helpful when it comes time for competition,” she continued. 

The 18-year-old shared that coming into the YOG she was worried that due to the size of the team, it would be hard to build relationships with her teammates, but she’s been pleasantly surprised by the bond the young Australian team have created. 

“Having such a big team, I thought the majority of sports would just stick to themselves, but that isn’t the case at all,” she said. 

“Everyone knows each other, we all band together to watch each other compete and the swimming team in particular have been so welcoming of myself and Keaan. 

“Even in the dining hall everyone sits together, regardless of what sport they are from, which makes being so far away from home a much nicer experience.  

“Being with a whole range of athletes and building friendships with them all, has contributed to such a great atmosphere in the village. 

Menzies echoed Nikita’s thoughts and summed up the experience, 

“It has been so nice to see the athletes working together, we’ve developed some strong bonds but that’s what happens when we support and embrace that we are one team, team Australia,” she said. 

“It’s all about respect in every aspect, all of us have grown from the Youth Olympic experience as athletes and as people and this is what I love about sport.” 

You can follow the journey of the Aussie YOG athletes via our socials.

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Liana Buratti
olympics.com.au

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