Young Surf Lifesaver makes history at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics Games
Half Moon Bay SLSC surf lifesaver, Brendon Smith has made history on Sunday (25 July) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after he won Australia’s first medal of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Smith, 21, who made his Olympic debut for the Australian Swim Team won the first medal for The Australian Olympic team, a Bronze in the Men’s 400M Individual Medley.
The Olympic rookie set a new Australian and Oceania record in Saturday nights’ heats with his time of 4:09.27, making him the first Aussie to go under the 4:10 mark in that race and shaved over half a second off his previous record set at the Australian Trials this year.
Smith looked in trouble in Sunday’s final after his breaststroke leg left him in last position. With only 100M to go, Smith powered home with a stunning final freestyle leg to claim a bronze medal in his Olympic debut.
Smith’s Bronze medal in the 400M IM has made him the first Australian in 37-years to win a medal in the event and just the second person in Australian Olympic history to place.
Brendon was in disbelief after his Olympic final and said, “I just can’t believe it”.
This is an incredible feat for the young rookie who last year spent months in Victoria’s COVID-19 lockdown training in the freezing winter ocean to get fitter and stay strong.
“I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do that 12 months ago, so I think it was a real blessing for me that the Games were postponed a year, that I was able to do another year of training to be just that bit stronger and faster,” Smith said
As a surf lifesaver from Half Moon Bay SLSC in Victoria, where Smith’s family are all actively involved, Brendon said that the skills and physical nature of surf lifesaving have made him a versatile athlete which is especially advantageous in an event that has many strokes.
“For me to integrate swimming and lifesaving as well, it sort of makes me more versatile in what I do. I use it as sort of cross-training, so it really helps me out with the 400 IM, changing all the different strokes, using all those different muscle groups,” Smith said.
“It’s really good to take your mind off the high-pressure environment that is swimming. Lifesaving is a bit more laid back, it’s something that I can fall back to.
“I’m able to do it on the side and mentally also swimming in the ocean during winter like I was last year, that’s made me mentally tougher.”
Surf Life Saving Australia congratulates Brendon on his Bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we look forward to seeing his determination and commitment to surf lifesaving and swimming move from strength to strength.
To read more about Brendon’s achievements and involvements in Surf Life Saving and Swimming – click here.
Awards, Honours & Achievements
2021: Tokyo Olympic Games – Men’s 400M Individual Medley – Bronze
2020: Sport Australia Hall of Fame Scholarship & Mentoring Program – Tier Three Scholarship
2019 & 2020: New York Breakers – Selected (Swimming)
2019: World University Games, Italy – Bronze
2019: USA Open Swimming Championships – Gold
2018: Junior Pan Pacific Championships – Representative
2019: Australian Open Swimming Championships: Silver (400m IM)
2019 & 2018: Victorian Rob Woodhouse Award for the highest Fina ranked Medley Swimmer Male or Female for the Season
2018: Victorian Youth Athlete of the Year
2018: World Life Saving Championships, Australian Youth Lifesaving Team – Broke two World Junior Records
2017: Commonwealth Championships: Overall Individual Champion for Development Team