Commonwealth Games gold medalist Flynn Southam swimming fast to a bright future – صحيفة الصوت

Teenager Flynn Southam has made a remarkable debut at the Commonwealth Games, bringing home two gold medals while juggling his final year of school.

The 17-year-old from the NSW Northern Rivers region helped take gold and set a new Commonwealth record in the men’s 4×200 metres freestyle relay.

He also set a personal best in his leg of the gold-winning 4x100m relay.

Flynn’s mother, Fiona Southam, said he was elated.

“I don’t think he’s ever been more happy than what he’s been doing, the swims at the Commonwealth Games,” she said.

Ms Southam said her son had previously struggled with the pressure he felt as he made his way up the national ranks.

“[Last year] he took a little bit of time out of the pool to reset and work out whether swimming was for him,” she said.

“Thankfully, he made the decision that he couldn’t live without his swimming.

“He was back in the pool in a very short period after that and really hasn’t looked back.”

Two men standing together. The older man wears a green and gold uniform and is gesturing towards the younger swimmer.
Flynn Southam is described as being “dedicated” to his swimming career.(Getty: Steve Christo – Corbis)

It has led to high hopes among those who knew Flynn, including his principal at Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School (LAGS), Stuart Marquardt. 

“He’s taken some of the age records that [Australian swimmers] Ian Thorpe and Kyle Chalmers held when they were sort of 15 and 16,” Mr Marquardt said.

“He’s got some pretty big goals that he’d like to achieve in the sport, and we’d all like to think this is just the start for Flynn.”

But the achievement did not come without challenges.

The closure of Queensland’s border to NSW residents due to COVID-19 prevented Flynn from travelling to Bond University on the Gold Coast where he trained.

“There was quite an extended period there that he couldn’t swim,” Ms Southam said.

“At one point we did actually move across the border and had an Airbnb for a while so he could continue to swim.”

School onboard with support

The swim training also came on top of what was already a difficult challenge for most teenagers: the final year of school.

A crowd of people wearing green and gold uniforms form two lines to high five a small group of people walking down the centre.
The Australian Swim Team form a guard of honour for Flynn and his gold-winning teammates.(Getty: Tim Clayton – Corbis)

Mr Marquadt said LAGS helped Flynn balance study and swimming as part of its sports academy program.

“In NSW it’s pretty rigorous, what’s required in the HSC [Higher School Certificate],” he saidl.

“It’s a team behind the scenes working with Flynn on that.”

Flynn completed some HSC subjects while still in Year 11, and his teachers kept in contact about other assessments and course requirements while he was overseas preparing for the games.

Mr Marquardt said it was gratifying to watch Flynn’s success.

“He’s just been so motivated to succeed and so unassuming with it,” he said.

“He’s just put everything into it.”


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