Event: 200m breaststroke
Olympic History: Tokyo 2020
Highlights: 2018 4x200m relay bronze, 2019 first national title in 100m breaststroke
Club: St Peters Western
Year Born: 1998
State Born: NSW
Hailing from the NSW Hunter Valley, Abbey Harkin grew up as a member of the Novocastrian Swimming Club. The 23-year-old now calls Brisbane home, training at St Peters Western under coach Dean Boxall.
The breaststroke specialist made her senior debut in 2018 at the World Short-Course Championships in China, producing her first international podium result with a bronze medal in the 4x200m freestyle relay.
In 2019, she claimed her first national title at the Australian Swimming Championships in the 100m breaststroke, posting a time of 1:07.02.
A year later, at the 2021 Australia Swimming Championships Abbey dominated the breaststroke events medalling in all three distances. Claiming gold in the 200m breaststroke, with a time of 2:25.26, silver in the 100m and bronze in the 50m.
At the Olympic trials in Adelaide, she continued to shine, going under the qualifying mark in placing second behind Jenny Strauch in 2.23.59 to earn herself a place on the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team. But the unusual evening finals played havoc with many a swimmer and Ashley clocked 2.24.41 in her heat swim, missing the semi-finals by .14sec.
Undeterred, she qualified again for the Dolphins for the 2022 world championships in Budapest, followed by the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. She swam 2.27.44 in the heats, 2.26.28 in the semi-finals but could not rise above 13th spot.
She made the final of the 200m breaststroke, swimming her best time since the Olympic trials, 2.24.07 but had to be content with fifth spot. The 100m breaststroke saw her swim faster in the semi-finals than she had in the heats and then faster in the final that she had in the semis, and her ultimate 1.07.46 clocking earned her sixth place overall.
Abbey now calls Brisbane home and when she trains at St Peter’s Western club under coach Dean Boxall, she must find inspiration all around her, from training partners like dual Olympic champion Ariarne Titmus to reigning world 100m freestyle champion Mollie O’Callaghan.