Isaac Cooper Bounces Off Ropes To Claim Australia’s 100th World Champs Gold

AUSTRALIA'S 100TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP GOLD: Isaac Cooper claims 50m backstroke gold.Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Isaac Cooper Bounces Off The Ropes In Doha And Claims Australia’s 100th World Championship Gold Medal

In the Serbian capital of Belgrade in 1973 Stephen Holland churned through 1500m in a new world record time of 15 minutes 31.85 seconds to win Australia’s first ever World Championship swimming gold medal in the pool at the inaugural World titles.

Holland, at just 15, was in the zone, so much so that he was afraid to stop and after 1600m he and American Rick de Mont, who followed him, had to be waved down in a bizarre episode.

“I was counting the laps,” said Holland, “but I didn’t hear a (whistle) and I wasn’t sure what was going on. I mean, I wasn’t gutsy enough to stop.”

After he had swum the extra distance, his legendary coach Laurie Lawrence, who would go on to coach Jon Sieben and Duncan Armstrong to Olympic gold, rushed to poolside and yelled to his pupil, “you silly cow, you’ve gone too many.”

ONE TO SAVOR: Isaac Cooper proudly displays his Doha gold. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia

In complete contrast over just one lap last night in Doha, another young Queenslander in Isaac Cooper stopped the clock in 24.13 seconds to claim a major milestone, Australia’s 100th gold medal in the pool in the 50m backstroke at the 21st edition of the World Aquatics Championships.

The 20-year-old  adding his name to a who’s who of world champions names in 51 years of a decorated Australian swimming history.

Cooper had thrown down the gauntlet in his semi-final, blasting off the blocks before bouncing off the lane ropes as he battled to swim straight – but still powering to the wall in a new Oceania and Australian record time of 24.12 – the equal seventh fastest time in history.

The final was almost a carbon copy as Cooper again nudged the lane rope after his power packed start set up his maiden gold and a memorable one at that, albeit 0.01 slower.

And Cooper’s swimming journey will also be quite the story to tell as well – on a program, unlike Holland, where Cooper believes when it comes to covering kilometres “less is best.”

The boy who graduated through the swimming ranks in Bundaberg, a sugar cane city 370km north of Brisbane, continued his progress at school in Toowoomba and gate-crashed his way into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Team after joining Rackley Swimming  in Brisbane in 2019.

He has now settled into life on the Queensland Sunshine Coast under coach Ashley Delaney – himself an accomplished Olympic backstroker.

Unlike Holland, who would churn through up to 80km a week, Cooper clocks just 14 kilometres a week, adding, surfing, mixed martial arts and tennis to his training regime.

“I’ve been using those [sports] as training sessions, as opposed to coming in and doing the same old four to six [kilometre], eight sessions a week that I’ve been doing since I was seven years old,” Cooper said in an interview earlier this year.

“My instinct is right…the secret to swimming faster is swimming less.”

Cooper said he told his coach he would love to have a go and swimming under 24 seconds tonight but whacked his finger a couple of times on the lane rope.

“The roof is curved… so it was a bit of a mind game to swim straight,” explained Cooper.

“But I am really proud of that swim… I have no idea what I am capable of but I think it’s up to the individual to test it.

“This 50m backstroke event isn’t on the Olympic program so my goal is to now focus on 100m backstroke – and the 50m freestyle.

“And now I know my front-end speed is there, I have to hold my speed and learn how to turn around and come back.

“I would love to one day become the fastest man in the world. Whether it happens this year or in 10 years.

“But I also know my country needs me for the backstroke, in the relays, so I’m training for that as well.”

It was a golden night for the Dolphins with the ever-present St Peters Western trio, Shayna Jack, Brianna Throssell and Abbey Harkin and “find of the meet” WA rookie Iona Anderson (Breakers, WA) delivering the Aussie girls their fourth world championship 4x100m medley gold medal (Others in 2001, 2005 and 2007).

It was Australia’s third gold of the meet with the 15-strong team winning a total of 16 medals – 3 gold, 9 silver and 4 bronze.

Anderson’s 59.20 giving the team a solid start, followed by Dean Boxall’s trio of relay mainstays Harkin (1:07.21 in the breaststroke), Throssell (56.86, butterfly) and Jack’s powerhouse anchor freestyle leg to overtake Canada and keep Sweden at bay with her 52.71.

Anderson, 18, has been one of the real standouts of the meet, winning two silver medals in the 50 and 100m backstroke, along with 17-year-old fellow backstroker Jaclyn Barclay taking silver in the 200m backstroke.


AUSSIES CELEBRATE 4X100M MEDLEY FRELAY GOLD…Photos Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Dolphins Doha Worlds Honour Roll:


Men’s 50m Breaststroke:

Sam Williamson (Melbourne Vicentre, VIC) 26.32 (Australian record); Coach: Craig Jackson.

Men’s 50m Backstroke:

Isaac Cooper (St Andrews, QLD) 24.12 Australian Record; semi-final); Coach Ashley Delaney

Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay (3:43.12)

Iona Anderson (Breakers, WA)  59.20 Coach: Ben Higson

Abbey Harkin (St Peters Western, QLD) 1:07.21 Coach: Dean Boxall

Brianna Throssell (St Peters Western, QLD) 56.86 Coach: Dean Boxall

Shayna Jack (St Peters Western, QLD) 52.71 Coach: Dean Boxall

*Jaclyn Barclay (St Peters Western, QLD) Coach: Cam Gledhill/Dean Boxall

*Alex Perkins (USC Spartans, QLD) Coach: Mick Palfrey
* Heat swimmers


Women’s 50m Backstroke:

Iona Anderson 27.45 (pb)

Women’s 100m Backstroke:

Iona Anderson 59.12 (pb)

Women’s 200m Backstroke:

 Jaclyn Barclay 2:07.03 (pb)

Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay (3:36.93)

Brianna Throssell 54.29

Alex Perkins 55.02

Abbey Harkin 54.98

Shayna Jack 52.64

* Jaclyn Barclay

* Heat swimmer

Men’s 50m Freestyle:

Cam McEvoy (Somerville House, QLD); 21.45 (21.13 heat; 21.33 semi); Coach: Tim Lane

Men’s 400m Freestyle:

Elijah Winnington (St Peters Western, QLD) 3:42.86 Coach: Dean Boxall

Men’s 800m Freestyle:

Elijah Winnington 7:42.95 (pb)


Mixed 100m Freestyle Relay (3:21.78)

Kai Taylor (St Peters Western, QLD, 48.01 (pb) Coach: Dean Boxall;

Jack Cartwright (St Peters Western, QLD: 47.90; Coach: Dean Boxall),

Shayna Jack 52.38,

Brianna Throssell 53.49.

 *Alex Perkins, * Abbey Harkin

*Heat swimmers

Mixed 4x100m Medley Relay (3:43.12)

Brad Woodward (Mingara, NSW) 53.92

Sam Williamson 59.54

Brianna Throssell 57.22

Shayna Jack,52.44


* Abbey Harkin, * Alex Perkins

* Heat swimmers

Women’s 100m Freestyle:

Shayna Jack 52.83

Women’s 200m Freestyle:

Brianna Throssell 1:56.00

Men’s 50m Butterfly:

Cam McEvoy 23.08

Women’s 4x200m Freestyle Relay (7:51.41)

Brianna Throssell 1:56.87,

Shayna Jack 1:57.61,

Abbey Harkin 1:58.71,

Kiah Melverton (St Peters Western, QLD 1:58.40).

*Jaclyn Barclay *Heat swimmer

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