COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado, March 7. A delegation of three USA Swimming officials traveled to the Gold Coast in Australia recently to visit the site of the facility that will host this summer’s Pan Pacific swimming championships, and returned with rave reviews.
“I’ve got a lot of confidence in Australia,” said National Team Managing Director Lindsay Mintenko. “It’s going to be a beautiful facility when it’s done.”
The Gold Coast Aquatic Center was still under construction when USA Swimming visited last month, which required Mintenko, Open Water Program Manager Bryce Else and Games Prep Manager Margaux Jackson to wear hard hats. The $41 million facility is on target for an official opening well ahead of the Pan Pacific meet in late August.
USA Swimming typically visits the site of the big international meet months before the competition to not only bring back a report on the pool — especially if it’s new — but to find training locations when the team arrives before the meet and begin to secure accommodations.
“We were familiarizing ourselves with the area,” Mintenko said. “We’ll be having a (pre-meet) camp in Brisbane (about 45 miles northeast of Gold Coast), so when we go this summer, we’ll know what to expect.”
Mintenko said the 2011 world championship team trained in the Brisbane area before heading to Shanghai for worlds. The area, she said, is ideal for teams looking for places to train outside the actual competition facility before the meet.
“One of the great things about Australia is that there are so many 50-meter pools!” Mintenko said.
Accompanying USA Swimming on the facility tour was Brisbane Mayor Tom Tate and Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson.
“Everyone in the swimming community is looking forward to having a world class swimming facility on the Gold Coast and the Pan Pacs will be the ideal way to showcase this terrific new venue to the world.”
As one of four charter founding nations of the Pan Pacific championships since the inaugural event in 1985, the United States has a major interest in sure the meet is a success. The meet location rotates among the four founding nations — Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States — and participants come from countries that border the Pacific Ocean, as well as others that are not a part of the European championship roster. Brazil, which does not have a border on the Pacific Ocean, has been a part of the meet since 2006.
USA Swimming will select its Pan Pacific team at nationals August 6-10 in Irvine.