Mitch Larkin, at his second Olympics in Rio, put in an incredible performance in the men’s 200m backstroke final to collect just the third medal in Australian Olympic history in this event after a brave finish saw him hang on for second place. Larkin demonstrated his determination when he hung on to the silver medal despite a strong chase from Russia’s Evgeny Rylov (1:53.97) in final stages of the race. The USA’s Ryan Murphy won in 1:53.62. Larkin’s silver medal is the best ever result and only the third medal won by an Australian in this event.
Larkin also claimed a bronze in the 4x100m medley relay, leading off the quartet with Jake Packard, David Morgan and Kyle Chalmers. In the 100m backstroke he finished outside of the medals, in fourth.
Larkin qualified for his first Olympic Team in 2012, winning the 200m backstroke at the 2012 nomination trials. In his Olympic debut he made it through to the Olympic final where he finished eighth. He had made a last ditch effort to make the London team, switching from a focus on the medley relay to backstroke and it paid off.
He competed at the 2013 World Championships in Barcelona, the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 2014 Pan Pacs on the Gold Coast, but it was 2015 where Larkin announced himself as one to watch, taking two world titles in Kazan in the 100 and 200m backstroke and was an almost unstoppable force on the world cup tour.
Larkin’s Olympic journey began at the 2009 Australian Youth Olympic Festival where he competed in five events, winning silver in the 400m individual medley.