Reinvented Australian swimmer Cameron McEvoy says he was “shocked” to snatch a bronze medal in the men’s 50m butterfly, his secondary event, at the World Aquatics Championships on Tuesday (AEDT).
The three-time Olympian had only expected to collect hardware in the men’s 50m freestyle, in which he will aim to successfully defend his world titles gold medal on Sunday (AEDT).
Portuguese teenager Diogo Matos Ribeiro was elated to clinch gold in the butterfly final after stopping the clock at 22.97 seconds at the Doha world titles. The USA’s Michael Andrew claimed silver in 23.07 and McEvoy bronze in 23.08, as Australian rising star Isaac Cooper finished fourth in 23.12.
“I didn’t expect a medal coming into this competition. I was 18th in Fukuoka (at the 2023 world titles) and I just wanted to go better, so to make the semi-final was great, and then the final … To win a medal makes me excited about what’s to come,” McEvoy said.
“These World Championships are a blessing from a sprinting point of view. Having the meet so close to Paris against a stacked field with depth is perfect. From my personal perspective, I couldn’t ask for a better set-up.”
Burnt out from 18 years of punishing swimming training, McEvoy quit the sport following the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
When the Gold Coast product returned to racing about 12 months later, he was considerably heavier and stronger because of an overhauled gym program.
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He had also dramatically changed his training, cutting his weekly kilometres from 30-50 a week to between two and 10 kilometres. Crucially, however, he’s been completing more volume than before at his target race pace.
McEvoy has also studied up on track sprinting, javelin, gymnastics and even speed skating. He learns about the movement and training philosophies in other sports and reframes them in the context of swimming.
At the 2023 World Championships, McEvoy blasted through the men’s 50m freestyle final in 21.06 to slash 0.13 of a second off Ashley Callus’ Australian record, which had stood for 14 years.