Australian swim star aims to blitz Tokyo 2020


Rowan Crothers wants to break the 49 second barrier at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, regardless of whether that gets him gold or not. Picture: Supplied

Commonwealth Games gold medallist Rowan Crothers doesn’t just want to win at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics in August – he wants to smash the world record.

The 23-year-old swim star is aiming to break the 49 second barrier in the 100m freestyle and it’s a feat no one has yet achieved.

He says getting gold at the game is secondary to being the best ever.

“My big goal isn’t to go over there to win,” Crothers said. “It’s about producing the best performance.”

Paralympic swimmers are graded from S1 to S10 based on disability, with more abled competitors placed into higher classifications.

Crothers, who has cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease, was unexpectedly placed into the top S10 grade in 2015.

He went from being the best in the world as an S9 competitor to ninth, and almost fell out of the Australian team as a result.

“I went from being a hero to, in my own eyes, a zero,” he said. “I wasn’t winning anymore and I was so far off, even though I was just as fast.”

Despite looking towards personal records rather than medals for success, Crothers is in undeniably good form ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics.

He won the 100m freestyle event at the Lewisville 2021 World Series meet in Los Angeles in April.

He was also crowned Australian champion earlier in 2021, and is heading into the Paralympics as one of the favourites.

“I’m close to my peak form, but anything can happen between now and Tokyo,” he said.

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Crothers won gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Replicating that success at the Paralympics would be a “life-defining moment.” Picture: Supplied

As Japan deals with its third wave of coronavirus, Crothers isn’t 100 per cent sure if the games will go ahead.

Regardless, being able to step atop the podium will be a dream come true after placing fifth at Rio 2016.

“Winning gold would be a life-defining moment. It’s something where down the track I’d think ‘I was awesome I won this gold medal,’” he said.

“Tokyo’s a great opportunity to represent my country and step up, but my entire motivation is based around being the best that I can be, and not about winning a medal.”