By Stephen J. Thomas
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – A large contingent of over 30 elite Aussie swimmers will cross the Pacific to compete in the US Open Championships starting December 1, in San Antonio, Texas. The Aussies will be participating as part of various state and club swimming affiliations rather than as a national team. Almost all of the cream of Australian swimming will make the trip with the notable exceptions of world 200m and 400m world record holder Ian Thorpe and Pan Pac duel breaststroke gold medalist Simon Cowley. Their coach Doug Frost has chosen to pass-by the meet in favor of a domestic training camp. Thorpe is recovering quickly from an ankle injury he sustained two weeks ago and has been training with a fiberglass cast that will be removed next week. New South Wales Institute of Sport head coach, Greg Hodge told Swimming World Thorpe has been clocking very fast times in training even with the inconvenience of the cast.
Some of the leading swimmers that will make the trip include Michael Klim, Grant Hackett, Matt Dunn, Geoff Huegill, Kieren Perkins, Chris Fydler, Bill Kirby, Scott Miller, Cameron Delaney, Trent Steed, Nathan Rickard, Susie O’Neill, Sarah Ryan, Rebecca Creedy, Sam Riley, Lori Munz, Helen Denman, Rachel Harris, Giaan Rooney and Rebecca Brown. Rebecca Brown, the former world record holder in the 200m breaststroke, has made a strong return to the pool under her old coach Michael Piper after a short-lived retirement.
A number of the athletes will also be undertaking a three-week training camp at Colorado Springs prior to the meet.
Stephen J. Thomas, former editorial consultant of Australian Swimming and Fitness Magazine, is Swimming World’s Australian correspondent.