Games-New Zealand swimmer Jeffcoat savours Birmingham gold after Olympic letdown

New Zealand swimmer Andrew Jeffcoat bounced back from the "brink of depression" in the wake of missing the Olympics a year ago to savour a hard-won gold in the 50 metres backstroke at the Commonwealth Games.


Reuters | Updated: 02-08-2022 09:24 IST | Created: 02-08-2022 09:24 IST
Games-New Zealand swimmer Jeffcoat savours Birmingham gold after Olympic letdown

New Zealand swimmer Andrew Jeffcoat bounced back from the "brink of depression" in the wake of missing the Olympics a year ago to savour a hard-won gold in the 50 metres backstroke at the Commonwealth Games. The 23-year-old clocked a personal best and New Zealand record of 24.65 seconds to pip South Africa’s Pieter Coetze at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre in Birmingham on Monday.

It came after a slew of setbacks in the lead-up and a heart-breaking near-miss for a medal in the 100m event. "My career's been full of ups and downs," Jeffcoat told New Zealand media.

"And every time there's a down, I'll have my moment, to dwell on it, to have a bit of a cry and a bit of a moan, but I'll get back and I'll use it. "Missing out on the Olympics last year was one of those moments – sitting back at home on the brink of depression.

"But instead of giving up and calling it quits, I vowed myself that I would do everything I can to not miss out on the team again." Jeffcoat contracted COVID-19 from a team mate days after booking his ticket to Birmingham and fell sick again in the run-up to a disappointing world championships in Budapest.

Finishing fourth in the 100 backstroke in Birmingham on Saturday was such a hammer blow that he struggled to congratulate team mate Lewis Clareburt for his surprise victory in the 400m medley on the same day. "I was a bit heartbroken - so I wasn't there to support him as I should have," said Jeffcoat.

Jeffcoat's development as a swimmer was overshadowed by the loss of his long-time coach Ken Nixon, who died suddenly during a domestic swim event in 2019. He said he had been trying to keep Nixon out of his mind while racing in Birmingham.

"If I was going to have a result like I did today, now was the time to think about it – and hopefully I've done him proud."

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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