Australia’s rising swim star Mollie O’Callaghan is in shock at her breakthrough silver medal, while Shayna Jack’s triumphant return from a doping ban continued at the world championships.
O’Callaghan, the 18-year-old rated the next big thing in Australian swimming, won a silver medal in the 200 meters freestyle in Budapest on Tuesday night — her first individual medal at a major meet.
Jack collected a silver medal as part of Australia’s mixed 4x100m medley relay team with Kaylee McKeown, Zac Stubblety-Cook and Matt Temple.
Jack, who was suspended for two years after testing positive to a banned substance just before the 2019 world championships, also won 4x100m freestyle relay gold on the opening night in Budapest.
“We put it together and came home with a silver which I think we are all really, really proud of,” Jack said after Australia’s medley team finished some two and a half seconds behind runaway winners the United States.
“Everyone loves being a part of relays. It’s a rare opportunity in an individual sport to enjoy that moment together.”
O’Callaghan was also a member of Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay team that saluted on the opening night of competition.
In the 200m freestyle final, O’Callaghan produced the second-fastest final 50m split in the field to push the victor, China’s Junxuan Yang, to the wall.
The calm and collected teen entered Budapest as arguably the only Australian in the swim community with low expectations.
O’Callaghan last year won two gold and a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics for being a heat swimmer in relays but is now basking in an individual spotlight.
“I wasn’t expecting too much coming into the meet,” she said.
“To medal in this race is quite cool.”
O’Callaghan finished just 0.3 seconds behind Yang while her Australian teammate Madi Wilson finished fifth.
McKeown’s medley relay silver came after she placed third in 50m backstroke semi-final — she was sixth quickest into the final.
Lizzy Dekkers, on debut at a senior international meet, was sixth-fastest qualifier for the 200m butterfly final but fellow Dolphin rookie Abbey Connor missed out on making the medal race.
And Australia’s Se-Bom Lee also missed a berth in the final of the 200m individual medley after being 14th through the semi-finals.