There will be secret cheering going on in Llantwit Major when the Men’s 200m butterfly gets underway at the Commonwealth Games.
There is no Welsh representative in the race for a medal, but one of the Vale of Glamorgan’s own will be challenging not just for a place on the podium, but for the gold.
You have to go back to the golden achievements of four-time Olympic diver Rob Morgan for the last time Llantwit produced a Commonwealth champion, but all that could change in the next few days.
Local estate agent Morgan, now 51, represented Wales at five Games and won three medals, most famously a gold off the 10-metre high board in Auckland, 1990. But the 28-year long wait for another golden moment is set to change on the Gold Coast Games.
The only problem is the medal won’t be coming back home to Wales if it ends up in the hands of David Morgan, even though he learned to swim when he was at school in Llantwit after telling his teacher he wanted to do a lap of the pool using the butterfly stroke.
Now, he is set to do battle with South African legend Chad Le Gros and England’s James Guy for one of the toughest medals to win in the pool. Not only that, he will have some relay medals in his sights as well.
Rob’s nephew, David may have been born and bred in Wales, but he will be swimming for host nation Australia and looking to add to a growing reputation that already includes Olympic and World championships.
He has also gone one better than his uncle by picking up an Olympic bronze medal in Rio in the Aussie 4 x 100 medley relay. Two years on, the 24-year-old butterfly specialist is one of the hottest properties on the host nation’s swim team.
“It’s good to see that a Llantwit lad is doing so well – there must really be something in the genes – and David must be in with a chance of picking up some major medals at the Commonwealth Games. He is in great form and will be swimming in his home pool,” said Rob.
“Although he was born in Llantwit, and lived here until he was 10, my brother and his wife emigrated to Australia in 2004 and David has grown up in their swimming culture. He has already been to an Olympic Games and picked up a medal, so he will have a few more in his sights over the next few weeks.
“It would be a fantastic achievement for him to win a gold medal, but there will be plenty of strong opposition. Swimming at the Commonwealth Games is a very high standard and the Home Nations, Canadians and Kiwis will all be chasing him down.”
David was taught to swim at the age of five by his mother, Mandy, who knows a thing or two about the sport. She went to the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 while still at school and two years later, still only 17, she swam in four events for Wales at the Commonwealth Games in Edmonton.
Mandy and her husband, Richard, initially headed to South Australia with David and his two elder sisters, Jess and Jade, before moving to the Gold Coast almost a decade ago.
David has been coached since he was 13 by Chris Nesbit and now has 10 Australian titles to his name.
He has already proved he can cope with the pressure in the pool and will go into the Games ranked fourth in the Commonwealth this year in the 100 butterfly event.
Needing a personal best time to secure a spot on the Australian Team for the Rio Olympics in the 200 butterfly, he sneaked under the qualifying standard by 0.12 seconds.
In Brazil he won bronze as part of the men’s medley relay team, alongside Jake Packard, Mitch Larkin and Kyle Chalmers, finishing behind the USA and Team GB.
“It was such an honour to represent my country on the world stage and race against other world class athletes – a moment where my hard work paid off,” said David, who won the Australia 200 butterfly title for the third year in a row in the build-up to the Games.
“Now I’m just so excited to have this opportunity to represent my country at the Commonwealth Games in my home town.”
For the past five years David has combined his swimming with weekend life-saving at Southport Beach, carrying out a number of rescues.