Ben Treffers after his win in the 50-metre backstroke. Photo: Getty Images
Baby-faced Canberra backstroker Ben Treffers admits it could take more than a decade for his gold-medal winning swim to sink in.
His sizzling 24.67 second performance in the 50-metre backstroke earned him a place atop the Commonwealth Games podium, the same place his father Mark stood 40 years ago after winning a medley gold in 1974.
Silver medallist Mitch Larkin with gold medal winner Ben Treffers. Photo: Getty Images
Treffers is already planning to keep his gold medal, the first won by a Canberran at the Glasgow Games, next to his father’s.
Mark was instrumental in his son’s performance on Sunday night, telling him before the race simply to relax.
“He said to me before the race, no pressure, and just enjoy it,” Treffers said.
“I don’t know if it’ll sink in for a while now, to be honest. Probably in 10, 20 years I will look back on this and enjoy it.
“I’m really excited to just come out and execute a race, it probably means more to me after the week I’ve had than I would’ve thought.
“I started the meet in a really bad fashion.”
Treffers was bred to win Commonwealth gold.
His father also swam at two Olympics and the 1970 Commonwealth Games. His aunt Lynne Dalzell featured at the 1976 Olympics, while his uncle Paul Rowe contested the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
Mark said Treffers’ effort in Glasgow topped his own crowning achievement in the pool.
“Seeing Ben get the gold today meant a lot more, to actually see him get it,” the proud father said.
“I said be confident, relax, and it’ll all come together really.
“You can never tell in a 50. Anyone could’ve been up there really and backstroke’s the event where anything can happen as well, you see lots of misses and that sort of thing.
“It was good to see that last few metres that he was just far enough ahead to relax.”
After day one of the Games, standing on the podium was the furthest thing from Treffers’ mind.
He was sluggish throughout his heat and semi-final for the 100-metre backstroke, scraping into the final as the slowest qualifier.
Instead of wallowing in the disappointment his first Commonwealth Games initially hurled at him, Treffers used the 100-metre final to set himself up for a crack at gold in the 50-metre.
He flew out of the blocks on Friday night, touching in front at the halfway stage before fading back to fifth.
It wasn’t the result he’d wanted upon arriving in Glasgow, but it gave him something to build on.
From there Treffers found his form, and was able to lead all the way in a frantic final, edging out Australian teammate Mitch Larkin, and English world-record holder Liam Tancock.
“For me now it’s about trying to come back and swim faster at Pan Pacs, we’ve got Pan Pacs in less than a month and really that’s just another opportunity for me,” Treffers said.
“I miss out on the medley relay here, unfortunately I don’t get to swim another hundred until Pan Pacs and that’s something I’m really looking forward to after getting a bit more confidence from that final swim, and having that relaxed attitude.”
Larkin said standing next to Treffers on the podium was one of the highlights of his career.
“To hear that anthem, this is my first time at a big international stage so that was incredible,” the 21-year-old Queenslander said.
“I don’t think he [Treffers] swam as well as he would’ve liked in the hundred, but to see him come back and swim really well tonight is awesome.”
Meanwhile, AIS athlete Tommaso D’Orsogna played his part in an Australian trifecta in the 100-metre men’s freestyle.
The Perth-born 23-year-old clocked 49.04 seconds to finish third behind supercharged teammates James Magnusson and Cameron McEvoy.
The bronze continues a successful Games for D’Orsogna who swam the first leg of Australia’s gold-medal winning 4 x 100-metre freestyle relay team.
And there might be more to come after qualifying fifth fastest for the 100-metre butterfly final, clocking 52.74 seconds.