AUSTRALIA’S youngest athlete at the Rio Olympics – Tamsin Cook – was on WA Institute of Sport (WAIS) executive director Steve Lawrence’s immediate radar when the Western Suburbs Weekly caught up with him this morning. .
Lawrence, of Cottesloe, said it was “huge” for the 17-year-old to make the 400m freestyle final and beat her personal best time by two seconds getting there.
“To make the team was a big step up for her,” he said.
Cook, of Carine, eventually finished 6th in the final swimming against world champion Katie Ledecky from the US who won the race and broke her own world record.
Lawrence’s 2016 Olympic fortnight started on Saturday morning watching the opening ceremony with about 120 people, including WAIS athletes, parents of athletes, staff members and well-wishers at WAIS in Mt Claremont.
“I went home and got a couple of hours sleep on the couch and settled in for the night… about 4.30am I went to bed,” he said.
Lawrence, who has been at WAIS for the past eight Olympic Games, said watching former WAIS scholarship holder Taylor Worth win a bronze medal in the archery was exciting.
“He’s a fantastic kid,” he said.
“The highlight from our current athletes we are working with would be Tamsin.
“Reece Grant in the men’s single scull was another one.
“He’s the first West Australian ever to represent Australia in the men’s single scull and is through to the quarter finals.”
Lawrence said while he felt disappointed for swimmer Blair Evans, of Padbury, who finished 16th in the 400m individual medley, it was clear by her social media post that she was just happy to be in Rio.
“I am loving life and very grateful for all the messages of love and support,” Evans wrote on her Instagram page.
Lawrence said everyone at WAIS, from the receptionists to the communications staff and physiologists, worked towards Olympics every four years so it was a special time for his team.