Australian Dolphins Swim Team Pushed Out Of Their Comfort Zone For Tokyo Relay Blitz

DOLPHINS DAY OUT: Members of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team at Bond University. Photo Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Australian Dolphins Swim Team Pushed Out Of Their Comfort Zone For Tokyo Relay Blitz

If Australian Olympic team boss Ian Chesterman had any concerns surrounding his elite Australian swimmers and their motivation for the Tokyo Olympics then they were very quickly dispelled at a very impressive and innovative swim meet featuring some of the sport’s biggest names at Bond University Aquatic complex today.

Chesterman is a veteran Chef de Mission of six Winter Olympics and is the Australian Team Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2021 – the man charged to steer the Aussies into a Games like no other.

Emma McKeon entering pool wear Covid mask, Swimming Australia National Event Camp, Olympic Relays Simulation, Bond University Aquatic Centre, February 9 2021. Pic by Delly Carr / Swimming Australia. Pic credit mandatory for complimentary use.

MASKED MCKEON: Australian swim star Emma McKeon leads the Dolphins onto the Pool deck at Bond University Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

And as over 60 masked members of the Australian Dolphins swim team, training on the Gold Coast this past week, filed in for a two-hour action packed Relay Blitz Meet – Chesterman was able to admire the abilities, the energy, the enthusiasm and the positivity created by an elite group of swimmers and coaches, many of whom he will welcome into the Games on July 23.

And at the conclusion of the first event – a hybrid 8x50m freestyle relay with each team member swimming twice and Aussie rock band INXS blaring around the pool electric fireworks went off, Chesterman knew he had a team ready to rock.

While the master motivator and Olympic gold medal coach Laurie Lawrence joined London Olympian Meagan Nay on commentary the final flame was ignited – signalling the start of a meet featuring Olympians and those youngsters snapping at their heels.

Organisers from Swimming Australia and Bond University had pulled together a surprise National Event Camp relay Blitz a combination for relays and broken distance events with an impressive broken set of five x 300s awaiting Australia’s distance swimmers like Jack McLoughlin, Nick Sloman, Sam Short, Eliott Rogerson, Lani Pallister, Maddy Gough, Phoebe Hines and Moesha Johnson – capturing the imagination of a vocal “rent-a-crowd.”

Chesterman said he has not minced his words in addressing the swim team and other teams as he prepares them for “the most unusual and unprecedented situation” they have ever been in.

“I’ve been very frank in out-lining what life is going to be like in Tokyo; how difficult it’s going to be; how careful they are going to have to be and to just start preparing for that,” said Chesterman.

“Something like wearing masks is going to be a big challenge; all the time; we need to get everyone ready for the way they are going to think and the way the Games will be run in the world we live in at the moment.”


DIVE TIME: Cate Campbell shows the style,of a champion at Bond University Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

There was support in every lane, in every corner and from every swimmer – led by the biggest names in Olympic gold medallists Kyle Chalmers and Cate Campbell.

Campbell was full of praise for the Relay Meet saying, “It’s such a wonderful initiative a great opportunity to get some camaraderie going within the team.

“And it makes everyone excited looking forward to Tokyo.

“As long as the Olympics are on that’s all that we care about; there’s a swimming pool and the starting blocks and the starter.

“It’s is honestly all we need.

“Whatever it takes to get us there we will do it and I know there is a wonderful team at the AOC and the IOC and the Japan Organising Committee to make sure the Games go ahead and are as safe as possible.

“I think the world needs an Olympics after the couple of years that we’ve had and its such a privilege.”


JULY TIME: Kyle Chalmers pictured here with James Roberts says there is no doubt he will be ready for Tokyo. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Chalmers, who was a last minute withdrawal from the meet as he recovers from shoulder surgery in Sydney 10 weeks ago, is as eager as anyone.

“Everyone really wants to race at the Olympic Games and for me I’m going over there to swim a couple of laps of a swimming pool; it doesn’t matter if there are no crowds,” said Chalmers.

“It doesn’t matter if I have to wear a mask, you just do what you have to do.

“As athletes, we are told what to do our whole careers day in day out; we are very good at understanding situations.

“For us it will be a celebration and we are really grateful we have been able to compete at an Olympic Games and do what ever it takes to be there…and race….

“The amount injuries and setbacks I’ve had in my short career I know exactly what I need to do….to be right in June and I have not doubt that I will be right…in July.”

Chesterman was escorted around a packed pool deck by Australia’s chief high performance strategist – 1984 Canadian Olympic champion Alex Baumann, saying: “The world has been turned upside down for the athletes (and I have to admit) it is pretty humbling to move around a lot of sports people like I have since last November and to see there resilience.

“And they are now seeing a reward for what they’ve been doing…. it’s a challenge we are all up for.

“We want to give them an opportunity, to provide them with the chance to compete and for some athletes it’s a one off.

“To have a generation of Australian sport lose that opportunity to have that dream would be very sad.

“My commitment is to be ready when the team gets there; that’s what they deserve; you cannot afford to say the Games aren’t going to go ahead; if they go ahead and you are not ready then that’s a regret you are going to have to live with.

“But there is no absolute safety net that something may not go wrong; they are fully aware of the environment they are going into and the ramifications that might be there and also giving them an absolute commitment that we will do everything we can to make sure that they are safe…and they remain COVID free before the Games and at the Games..

“We have every confidence that the Tokyo Organising Committee and the IOC will provide a safe environment at the Games as well; and athletes deserve the honesty; everyone I speak to says we are up for it they want their moment on the Olympic stage.”

The swimmers were not told until 7:15am this morning that two Australian teams – one Green and Gold would go head-to- head in a Dolphins Duel Meet in the words of head coach Rohan Taylor: “We wanted to take them out of their comfort zone; make them feel uncomfortable and to see if they can become comfortable… that’s the key.”

It will be a Games like no other…the most unusual and unprecedented Games ever.


UNCOMFORTABLE: Backstroking world record holder Minna Atherton showing off her warm up skills. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).


1 comment

  1. avatar
    Sandra Rogerson

    Love that this unexpected event was live-streamed. At this level we don’t get to see our “kids” swim very often and this was seeing them swim and have fun. Great job by Rohan and his team for springing this on them.