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Scanlan puts in fine performance at the world swimming championships

Tilali Scanlan in the pool.
Source: The Reporters’ Academy

Gwangju, SOUTH KOREA — Nineteen-year-old Tilali Scanlan from American Samoa was rightly pleased after her performance in the Women’s 100m Breaststroke Heats at the 18th FINA World Swimming Championships. The bronze medalist in the same discipline from the recent Pacific Games was one of two Pacific islanders in Heat 2.

Her time of 1 minute 16.03 seconds was only a second outside of her Samoan time. Her last 50m was especially impressive where Tilali posted a split time of 39.99 seconds, only the winner of the Heat came back down the pool quicker.

Immediately afterward in the press zone, the swimmer was pleased.

 “It felt good considering I just came from a week of Pacific Games. It was alright. It’s not a PB (Personal Best) but you can’t be too hard on yourself after. It’s good, it’s a good time.”

Tilali has a passion for the ocean and marine biology and describes herself as motivated, curious and hungry. It’s those personal qualities which came to the fore in her post-race interview as she commented;

 “I have to swim the Breaststroke still this week. I’m trying to see what my body is capable of after competitions like this because this is only the second year I’ve really been training in a proper facility, coming from American Samoa, we don’t have one. I’ve been in New Zealand for a year and just joined a club in Fiji. This is me taking on and taking note to see how my body reacts to competitions like this and I’m learning a lot from it. From here, I’m going to go back to the drawing board and make myself stronger and better, that’s the plan.”

Tilali is appearing in her 4th World Championship, including long and short course distances, and despite her relative experience for someone who is still a teenager she enthuses about being able to represent her nation on such a platform reinforcing the fact that “ just to even be here is an honour!” 

It’s certain to be an honor that will continue for a few years yet.

This article was produced by Simon Smith of The Reporters' Academy, a media production company run by young people, tasked with the mission of telling the stories of Oceania's swimmers at the World Championships in Gwangju. The Reporters' Academy is integrated into the world of media, education and employment, dedicated to changing the lives of young people across Oceania and the UK.