Australia Announces History Making Virtual Inter-State Short Course Meet Across Five Venues
The cream of Australia’s leading swimmers will participate in the country’s first ever virtual “Non Championship” meet across five States next month.
For the first time in Australia’s storied swimming history the virtual Hancock Prospecting Short Course event will be swum as close to simultaneously as possible from November 27-29.
The virtual SC competition, announced by Swimming Australia today, will be swum over the three days, at five different capital city locations across four sessions of timed finals that will take place in:
- Brisbane (Queensland): Brisbane Aquatic Centre
- Sydney (NSW): Warringah Aquatic Centre
- Hobart (Tasmania): Hobart Aquatic Centre
- Perth (WA): Venues West; and;
- Melbourne (Victoria): The Melbourne Sports And Aquatic Centre (MSAC) with COVID-19 restrictions
But Swimming Australia will not award Australian Championship titles for 2020, due to restricted entries in Melbourne.
The Virtual SC “Non Championship” event has replaced the Hancock Prospecting Australian Short Course Swimming Championships, originally set down for MSAC this month but cancelled due to the effects of COVID 19 and the restrictions currently in place in Victoria.
Based on the Victorian Government roadmap, it is likely the Melbourne event will be delivered for Open National qualifiers only and may operate in a staged environment to safely manage numbers due to the restrictions on the number of people allowed in a venue.
Swimming Australia said today it will work closely with Swimming Victoria to manage the event as government information continues to be updated in the coming weeks.
In working with Swimming South Australia, it was determined that as there are currently very limited travel restrictions for residents of South Australia, qualified athletes are able to travel to another State to compete.
And Swimming World contacted Marion (SA) Head Coach PeterBishop who has confirmed his team, which includes Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers and fellow Rio Olympians, 2019 World relay gold medallist Madi Wilson and Travis Mahoney would travel to Queensland to race at the Brisbane Aquatic Centre against the likes of Jack Cartwright (St Peters Western), Louis Townsend (Rackley) and Alexander Graham (Bond).
Swimming Australia Chief Strategist Alex Baumann said the decision to not award Australian Championship titles in 2020 was the correct call.
“Given the challenges Victoria is currently facing regarding pools re-opening and restrictions on event gatherings we don’t feel it is fair to hold an Australian Championships when not all athletes may be able to compete,” Baumann said.
“It has been incredibly tough for all Victorians, in particular club swimmers in Melbourne, but we are hopeful we may be able to hold some racing for a select group of athletes during the virtual competition, though this of course will be subject to COVID restrictions and guidelines.
Baumann also acknowledged the challenges still being faced with many State borders still closed and did not feel moving the event to one location was a viable option.
“We understand many States are still restricted by border closures which will prevent travel to a single event, but we felt strongly about providing meaningful racing opportunities for our athletes in this calendar year and have worked closely with our State and Territory associations to produce these events in different cities,” he said.
“The year 2020 has been like no other so it is fantastic to be able to pull together as a swimming community to deliver some high-quality racing in a virtual setting for our swimmers.”
At the end of each session, results will be sent to a centralised platform which will then rank the swimmers competing across the country with final National results to be communicated via Swimming Australia’s digital channels.
Swimming Australia has worked with the State Member Organisations to ensure the qualifying times are fair to allow swimmers an opportunity to compete in their home city.
Entries will open for these events on 19 October – see swimming.org.au for more information.
For more information on the program of events, or qualifying times in each state visit – swimming.org.au