BELCONNEN, Australia, May 21. WITH Australia set to host the Pan Pacific championships in August, the country wanted to give athletes another opportunity to fill the roster for the home country. Twenty Aussies will race in July at the LA Invitational on the campus of the University of Southern California, though just about half of them will be eligible to get on the Pan Pac team.
Those who swam faster than Australia’s B cut at the selection meet in April are getting this extra opportunity in order to “provide International racing to a larger number of swimmers,” said Michael Scott, the Australian performance director. “By providing more opportunities for national team selection we are tapping into a much larger group of competitors and which in turn gives us the potential to expose additional swimmers to the National Team Culture and processes as we lead into the critical 2015 and 2016 international events.”
The meet will be held July 17-20, about a week before the start of the Commonwealth Games. That means that a remarkable swim in LA will not get them on a plane to Scotland, but could give them the opportunity to replicate it in their home country.
Ashley Delaney and Matt Abood are two of the more notable names on the men’s team traveling across the Pacific in July. Delaney was a three-time bronze medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a silver medallist in the 2008 Olympics in the 400 medley relay. With up to four swimmers eligible for competition per event at Pan Pacs, Delaney could join a strong field of backstrokers if he beats the A cut.
Abood was part of the stunning victory in the 400 free relay at the 2011 world championships, and has seen himself pushed out of the top six in the country this year. Beating the A cut time of 21.76 in the 50 free or 48.64 in the 100 free, he could get an invite.
Kylie Palmer, Marieke D’Cruz and Yolane Kukla could find themselves back on the senior racing team if they can find more speed in Los Angeles in July. Palmer just missed qualifying in the 400 free, and might get back on the 800 free relay if her 200 free is up to par. Palmer was part of the silver medal-winning 800 free relay at the 2012 Olympics.
D’Cruz is probably better known as Marieke Guehrer, the 2009 world champion in the 50 butterfly. Guehrer’s best chances could come in the 100 fly and 100 free, for relay selection. As for Kukla, she’s struggled to find the form she had as a 15-year-old sensation, but at 18 years old, she could now get the opportunity to race in front of a home crowd, either individually in the sprint freestyles or on a relay.
Men: Matthew Abood, Ashley Delaney, Alexander Graham, Kurt Herzog, Justin James, Jack McLoughlin, Jake Packard, Nathaniel Romeo, Nicholas Schafer, Buster Sykes
Women: Holly Barratt, Carla Buchanan, Marieke D’Cruz, Danielle Defrancesco, Katie Goldman, Yolane Kukla, Leah Neal, Kylie Palmer, Mikkayla Sheridan, Madison Wilson