By Hayley Wildes
Competing at a home Commonwealth Games is a once in a lifetime opportunity.
For Tooradin-raised swimmer Josh Beaver, that opportunity and experience is something he will never forget.
Not only did Beaver compete, he came away with a bronze medal – in the hotly contested 200 metre backstroke event.
“A lot of time and effort went into that one particular swim, so to see it pan out the way it did, I was extremely happy and my coach was as well.” Beaver said of his swim in the final.
His bronze capped an Australian sweep of the medals in the event as Mitch Larkin claimed gold and Bradley Woodward took home silver.
“It was pretty special to be a part of that 1-2-3 – that’s the second time I’ve been able to do it.” He said. “It’s always good when you win a medal for your country, but to cap it off with a gold, silver and bronze for Australia, it was even more special.”
The Australian fans were out in force every night of the swimming schedule and a couple of weeks after the fact, Beaver is still lost for words regarding that tremendous support.
“We had legends of the sport talking to us about how special it was before the Games and then actually getting out there and witnessing it yourself, it’s really hard to put into words how exactly it feels.” He said.
“Having 12,000 people, including your family and friends, screaming for you is a very special feeling.”
Beaver was one of only a handful of swimmers to march in the opening ceremony – another memorable experience.
“I was fortunate enough to march – I was one of only five swimmers that were able to march in the opening ceremony.” He said.
“It was pretty special walking out in front of so many people and it definitely lived up to every expectation that I had.”
Beaver recorded the fastest reaction time in the final and came home in a time of 1:57.04 – 0.94 seconds behind Larkin and an improvement of 1.69 seconds on his heat time.