Video rescues Heath Macleod's title bid

Heath Macleod. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Heath Macleod. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

SWIM star Heath Macleod is dual national champion again — but only due to a rival competitor’s video.

Macleod, 14, was disqualified from the 100-metre breaststroke after setting the fastest time in the heats.

The chief referee declared the Scots School student and another swimmer had moved their legs on the blocks.

But the mother of that other swimmer showed Wodonga Swim Club head coach Mike Ursu the footage.

“It showed that Heath wasn’t moving, that it was the swimmer in lane 3,” he said.

“We went to the chief referee and he said the evidence wasn’t conclusive.

“In the end we took the appeal above his head and they sat on it for six hours, demanding we be at the pool the whole time, before finally making the right decision.

“Heath had been at the pool all day, been through the highs and lows of the fastest time and then being told he was lying about not moving on the blocks.

“Then he just blew them away in the final.”

Macleod franked his reputation as a rising star of the sport by defending his 100 and 200-metre crowns at the Homebush Olympic pool in times usually clocked by much older swimmers.

“The times were extraordinary — they are times a 14-year-old just doesn’t swim,” Ursu said.

“In the 200 there was another boy, another extremely talented swimmer, who had gone faster in the heats — we said to Heath he had to break him down, go out hard and dull his power.

“They were together at the turns at the 50, 100 and 150 and then Heath swam away from him to win by three seconds.

“His ability to overcome the emotions of the 100 heats and then determination in the 200 are part of the reason he is seen as a star of the sport.”

Wodonga took 10 swimmers to the national championship, with Zoe Deacon, 13, the surprise packet.

The lanky teen took bronze in the 200-metre breaststroke final and made the 100-metre breaststroke final after losing four weeks to a shoulder injury just prior to the titles.

“She was only training for the last two weeks,” Ursu said.

“It was a real shock but she is a hard worker, with a swimmer’s build and very talented but with the setback there was a question about how well she could swim.”

Ursu said all of the club’s swimmers improved their national rankings.