19 June, 2024

Bonjour Paris

Ben to three Olympic events

A triumphant Ben Armbruster of Stanthorpe, takes the hopes of the region with him to the Olympics in Paris. Photo Delly Carr.
A triumphant Ben Armbruster of Stanthorpe, takes the hopes of the region with him to the Olympics in Paris. Photo Delly Carr.

by Gerard Walsh

Stanthorpe swimmer Ben Armbruster will swim in three events at the Paris Olympics after swimming two personal bests within eight hours in the 50m freestyle in the Olympic trials last week in Brisbane.

Ben’s final swim was 21.84 seconds, .04 inside the tough Olympic qualifying time, and better than his heat swim of 21.91. He booked lane 5 for the final as second qualifier and matched it all the way with three-times Olympian and winner Cameron McEvoy to finish second.

On the last day of competition on Saturday, June 15, Ben was second fastest qualifier in the 100m butterfly, his pet event, to snare lane 5 for the final next to favourite and eventual winner Matthew Temple.

While he just missed the automatic qualifying time in the last five metres of the final, he will still be the second Australian swimmer in the event in Paris.

It is almost certain he will swim a heat of the four by 100m medley relay in Paris.

Australia traditionally rests its top swimmers in each relay for the finals so Ben will swim the heat and will be a strong chance of a medal.

Even if not in the final four for the relay, he will be presented with a medal as a heat swimmer if the Dolphins finish in the top three.

After his race on Wednesday night at Chandler pool, Ben told The Town and Country Journal on pool deck that he thought he was a better chance in the butterfly than freestyle where his qualifying time made him an automatic selection for Paris and a strong chance of a finals spot at the Olympics.

“I looked at the board after the 50 and saw a two and realised I had made the Olympics,” he said.

When it came up he was from Stanthorpe, one of the journalists said it was cold there to be a swimmer.

After starting swimming at the age of four, he recalls being asked many times down the years if he wanted to go to the Olympics.

“I owe everything to my first coach Gail Smail in Stanthorpe. She taught me to swim, how to be an athlete, how to be a good human being, Gail is an amazing person,” he said.

His family, father Scott, mother Shannon and sister Linsy have been with him all the way with Shannon a national accredited swimming official in her own right.

They were all at the Olympic trials and the April nationals at the Gold Coast where Ben was second in the 50m butterfly.

The Olympic trials are designed to get the best out of the swimmers six weeks out from the games and it is a credit to Ben and his coach Chris Mooney at Bond University that he improved his times and placings from April to June to book his first Olympic spot. The team from Bond were over the moon when he made the team.

His selection makes four from the Southern Downs going to Paris, Charlotte Caslick from Sugarloaf, Stanthorpe, is sevens rugby captain and competing in her third Olympics, Matty Denny from Allora is in his third Olympics in discus and rower Harriet Hudson from Warwick is in her second Olympics after winning bronze in Tokyo three years ago.


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