Judith Meauri took to the pool on Friday night in the 50m freestyle event with over 80 swimmers taking part amongst 10 heats.
Meauri is a second time Olympian having raced in the London Olympic Games in 2012.
Her swim tonight of 27.56 seconds beat the time she set back in London of 27.84. Meauri won heat 4 of the 11 heats in the event.
Speaking after the race, Meauri said she was very happy with the race and that she was excited to compete but felt she had faced the race calmly and achieved everything she had set out to do.
“This was the best race I have ever swum in an actual meet and I am happy with the time. This is only the second competition I’ve competed in, since the start of the pandemic”.
The 50m freestyle is the most competed event on the swimming programme as over 150 athletes swam in the men and women’s events.
Chef de Mission, Tamzin Wardley stated that every country competing at the Olympics is invited to send two swimmers to the Games, and most swim in this event, making it possibly the most global event at the Olympics.
“Sitting in the stands, cheering Judith on, we were literally surrounded by the world”.
The fastest time of the night, for the event, went to Australian Emma McKeon who set an Olympic World record, of 24.02 seconds in the second last heat.
“Judith has been training in Thailand at an extended FINA sponsored camp for over 18 months.
“She left for the camp before the pandemic hit our shores and was originally going to remain until May 2021 but it was better for her preparations to remain in Thailand right through to the Olympic Games.
“The training camp had to close for a while and pool training stopped but luckily it managed to reopen.
With the travel restrictions in place, Meauri has only had the chance to compete at two meets in the last two years.
Swimmers based in PNG did not have it as lucky as the Taurama Aquatic Centre was closed for much of last year as the centre was utilised as part of the health response in Port Moresby.
Meauri and Team PNG swimmer, Ryan Maskelyne, will both be heading back into training, after their quarantine period is over, in the lead up to the World Short Course Championships, in Abu Dhabi, in December, followed by the 2022 Commonwealth Games, in Birmingham.