Olympic History: Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020 (silver)
Highlights: Silver medal at Tokyo 2020
Year Born: 1995
State Born: QLD
How tough yet rewarding are the Olympic Games? Jack McLoughlin could surely provide an intriguing perspective.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Jack was in front in the 400m freestyle final right up to the shadow of the wall, only to be touched out for the gold by unheralded Tunisian Ahmed Hafnaoui. A mere .16sec separating the two swimmers, with American Kieran Smith a further .42sec behind in third place.
At the previous Olympics, in Rio in 2016 – his debut meet for Australia – Jack clocked an impressive 14min.56.02sec, only to miss out on the final by less than a second.
But there were moments when the swimming gods smiled on him. He had his first taste of swimming success at the 2013 Australian Youth Olympic Festival, winning gold in the 4x200m freestyle relay. He also narrowly missed out on further medals when he placed fourth in the 40m and 1500m freestyle.
He broke through for gold and silver respectively in the 400m and 1500m freestyle at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, while claiming the 400m freestyle gold and bronze medals in both the 800m and 150m freestyle at the 2018 Pan Pacs in Tokyo.
At the 2019 world championships in Gwangju, McLoughlin was part of the Australian 4x200m freestyle relay team which won gold, while placing fourth, sixth and 16th in the 800m, 400m and 1500m freestyle respectively.
It was, however, the friendships he made that stuck with him. “Swimming has been my life for the past 15-20 years and the friends and relationships I have made along the way is something I know I will cherish for the rest of my life,” Jack wrote on his Facebook page in his retirement announcement in 2022.
As well, he had words of advice for swimmers who have set their sights on future Games, especially the 2032 Brisbane Olympics which will be held in his hometown. “Your mind is your number one tool,” he told Swimming World magazine. “It can do anything if you want it made enough. If I could do it, so can you.”
Jack also had a special thank you to the coach who took him in, believed in him and never stopped pushing him to achieve his dream, Vince Raleigh.
He used his first year away from the pool to concentrate on his studies for his structural civic engineering degree.