Atherton, Larkin continue Aussie feelgood story
MINNA Atherton and Mitch Larkin ensured Australia made it back on to the winner's podium at the world swimming championships on Tuesday night when they both picked up medals.
Just turned 19, Atherton stormed home on the last lap to collect silver in the women's 100m backstroke behind Canadian superstar Kylie Masse.
The Queenslander was sixth when they reached the wall the first time but turned on the afterburners on the way home, finishing just a quarter of a second behind Masse in a time of 58.85 seconds.
A former junior world champion, Atherton should be at her peak for next year's Tokyo Olympics with Australia looking at a big medal haul as they built a team of new young stars, including Atherton's teammate Kaylee McKeown, who came fifth in the final.
"I'm really happy. I'm really stoked," Atherton said.
"Really I was just aiming to make the team, this is the icing on the cake.
"I did a PB yesterday, I was just a bit off that tonight but I was really happy to go under 59s again.
"I don't really get a lot of nerves, it wasn't too bad. Coming into the final second gave me confidence and I did the best I could and raced my own race."
Larkin won bronze in the men's 100m backstroke final, charging from seventh place at the halfway mark, as China's Xu Jiayu successfully defended the title he won in Budapest two years ago.
"I knew with 25m out it was going to be a dog fight and it was going to be about who wants it more.
"I said to (coach) Dean (Boxall) the last two years I want this pretty bloody bad, I just said to myself you have been through a fair bit, dig deep and see what happens.
"I'm over the moon. I have never won an individual worlds bronze so I can tick that one off the list.
"Mum always jokes that it is nice to have the set but to be honest it is about standing on the podium again."