The first day of full competition after the opening ceremony is actually officially referred to as day two… and the Uniroos were in action across nine of the 16 sports in which they will feature in Taipei.
The highlights were strong performances by the men’s artistic gymnastics team to finish 11th in the team final, with Chris Remkes (Canberra Institute of Technology) qualifying for the vault final, while teammates Michael Merceica (University of Queensland) and Mitchell Morgans (University of Canberra) will both compete in the final of the horizontal bar on Tuesday.
In the pool Sian Whittaker (Deakin University) qualified second fastest for the 200m backstroke final and Ben Treffers (Australian National University) made it through to the final of the of the 100m backstroke.
It was a hard day for our team sports, with the men’s basketball and both the men’s and women’s water polo teams also suffering narrow losses.
In swimming, education student Sian Whittaker cruised through to the final of the 200m backstroke with a smooth performance to comfortably win her semi-final at the Taiwan Sport University Arena.
Whittaker clocked 2:20.10 to qualify second fastest for Monday night’s final, with American Asia Seidt setting the quickest time with 2:10.03.
“It was a stepping stone, from heat to semi, to final, so I was happy with that swim tonight,” Whittaker said after watching the second semi-final on the TV screen in the warm down area.
“It was quicker than this morning, my PB is 2:07 so hopefully I can get down to that sort of time tomorrow night. I’m not coming to the pool tomorrow morning, so I’ll rest back in the village and see what I can give tomorrow night.”
2013 Universiade gold medal winner Ben Treffers qualified for the final of the 100m backstroke. The 50m is his preferred event and the one in which he is also the reigning Commonwealth Games champion. The Australian National University honours student clocked 54.79 to be 7th fastest into tomorrow’s final.
In other events on the opening day in the pool:
- Brayden McCarthy (Brisbane TAFE) finished 6th in the semi-final of the 50m butterfly in 24.02 to place 11th overall.
- Emily Washer (The University of NSW) finished 8th in the 50m butterfly semi in 27.39, the same time she swam in the heats to finish 16th overall.
- In the morning heats, Josh Parrish (Griffith University) opened the Uniroos swim program, finishing 14th overall with a seventh place in his heat in 3:53.89 in the 400m freestyle heat.
- Gemma Cooney (The University of Queensland) finished 7th in her heat of the 50m butterfly to place 23rd overall.
- Meg Bailey (Ohio State) finished 5th in her heat of the 400m IM with 3:48.87 for 13th overall, whilst distance swimmer and dual Universiade bronze medallist from Gwangju in 2015, Kiah Melverton (Griffith University) swam 4:47.41 for 6th place in her heat and 10th overall to kick off her campaign.
- Alex Milligan (The University of Western Australia) swam a swift 1:02.38, quicker than his entry time of 1:02.59 for second in his heat of the 100m breaststroke heats, to place 26th overall.
- Nicholas Brown (The University of Western Australia) finished 8th in his heat of the 50m butterfly with 25.24 for 52nd overall.
- The women’s 4x100m freestyle team of Abbey Harkin, Laura Taylor, Sian Whittaker and Gemma Cooney finished 4th in their heat with 3:45.09 to finish 9th and miss the final by a spot.
- In the men’s 4x100m freestyle, Will Stockwell, Brayden McCarthy, Alex Milligan and Nick Brown finished 8th in their heat in 3:23. 40 to finish 15h overall.
Gymnastics - The Australian team of Clay Mason Stephens (University of Canberra), Michael Merceica (The University of Queensland), Mitchell Morgans (University of Canberra), Chris Remkes (Canberra Institute of Technology) and Michael Tone (Queensland University of Technology) finished the teams final in 11th place.
A strong result with a final score total of 235.750. Remkes was impressive on the vault, with his total of 14.600 qualifying him in 5th for the final on Wednesday. Merceica and Morgans also qualified for Wednesday’s final of the horizontal bar in 6th (14.0500 and 8th place (13.950). A good day for our gymnasts.
The quintet will likely form Australia’s representatives at the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
Volleyball - The men’s volleyball team was valiant in defeat, going down to the Czech Republic in three sets 25-15, 25-23, 25-20. Despite the loss, head coach Liam Sketcher took positives out of the young Aussies performance against quality opposition.
"I think we turned in a pretty good performance against a very experienced team and showed we're capable of playing at a good level but the challenge remains whether we can stay at that level for long enough,” Sketcher said.
Sketcher said he knew "very very little" about opposition heading into the game but says the fight that the Aussies put up was commendable and bodes well for their next pool match against Russia on Monday.
“For the most part we managed to play the style of game we wanted to play, we stayed aggressive and tried to play fast and created a lot of opportunities,” Sketcher said.
Basketball – The Emerging Boomers opened their Universiade with a tight and tough encounter against Ukraine, who had the edge throughout to win 80-76 at Taipei Arena. Dejan Vasiljevic (University of Miami) was prolific on the scoreboard finishing the match with 28 points to his name including 5 three-pointers, while Xavier Cooks (Winthrop University) had 11 rebounds for the match. The Uniroos take on Lithuania on Monday, as do the Emerging Opals who commence their campaign on Monday evening.
Water Polo - After an opening pool match win over Argentina, The Uniroos went down to Italy 3-7 in their second match. They play Netherlands on Monday. After an opening win over Greece, the Australian women also had a tough match, going down to Italy 6-8. Their next match is against USA on Tuesday.
In other events:
Fencing - In women’s Epee, Madeline Anderson (Queensland University of Technology) performed well in the pool bouts to qualify for the elimination rounds. After a first round of 128 bye Anderson bowed out in the round of 64 to Song from Korea. Alanah MacLaurin (The University of Western Australian) finished seventh in her pool and didn’t qualify for the round bouts as did William Campbell (The University of Adelaide) who also finished 7th in his pool.
Taekwondo - Phong Tran (Victoria University) finished 10th in his pool in the men’s individual Poomsae with a score of 7.500, whilst Katarina Pavkovic (The University of Canberra) produced a strong score of 7.783 for 7th in her pool. In the semi-final Pavkovic scored 7.650 to place 12th overall with only the top eight proceeding to the final.
Diving - After a slow start with some troubles in her opening dives, Ruby Neave (Monash University) moved from 33rd to finish 19th overall in the women’s 1m springboard with a total score of 226.10.
Weightlifting - Phillip Liao (The University of Sydney) lifted 92kg in the snatch and 117kg in the clean and jerk to finish in 11th place overall.