Australian Swimming Withdraws From FINA World Junior Championships and World Universiade Games

World Juniors Website Header - Australian Swimming
HOME STAY: Australia's top age groupers won't be at this year's Junior Worlds in Kazan. Photo Courtesy Swimming Australia.

Australian Swimming Withdraws From FINA World Junior Championships and World Universiade Games

Australia has today announced its withdrawal from this year’s FINA World Junior Swimming Championships, scheduled for Kazan (RUS) and the World Universiade Games in Chengdu (CHN) – siting “health and safety concerns…. based on the effects of COVID-19 and the ongoing concerns regarding international travel.”

Swimming Australia Chief Strategist Alex Baumann made the announcement today saying a thorough process had been undertaken to consider all associated risks with travelling to the events.

“We worked very closely with our Chief Medical Officer Dr Peter Fricker to consider all risks, including the health and wellbeing of our athletes, coaches and staff, current government advice on international travel and parental concerns given the age of the athletes involved,” Baumann said.

“Given all those factors it was decided it was neither viable nor safe to travel overseas to compete with these teams.”

AUS Team 4

NO GREEN AND GOLD IN KAZAN:  Always a popular sight – the Australian Swim Team on deck at the 2019 World Juniors in Budapest, but not this year with the Aussies staying at home for a National Teams competition. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia.

The last World Juniors launched the careers of so many of Australia’s emerging Tokyo hopefuls – including triple gold medallist over 400, 800 and 1500m freestyle Lani Pallister, Rackley’s rising distance star Thomas Neill and St Peters Western duo Mollie O’Callaghan and Meg Harris.

But in lieu of its withdrawal, Swimming Australia will host its own National Teams Competition in August to reward the country’s top junior athletes and next wave talent.

The event will be classed as the international benchmark event for Swimming Australia for the purposes of informing Pathway Program selections and daily training environment support through categorisation.

Selection will be based on the current selection criteria and as per international preparation the teams will participate in a Preparation Camp in July.

National Youth Coach Glenn Beringen acknowledged the decision was the right one and that it was critical to provide a supplementary competition for the athletes.

“Due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic this is the right decision, and I am pleased we are still going to get the chance to recognise the performances of these athletes and provide a platform for them to compete after selection,” he said.

“I am incredibly proud of how our pathway athletes and coaches have navigated through this tough period with many of them being out of the water for a considerable length of time.

“We have not had a benchmark event for our pathway athletes since 2019 and with Paris 2024 only three years away it is critical that we provide this racing opportunity to assist in their readiness for international competition.

“They will also have the chance to pull on the green and gold at this event which we know is such a wonderful moment for any young athlete – we didn’t want them to miss out on this experience.”

The Australian Age Championships will be conducted at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre from April 8-12, followed by the Australian Open Championships at the same venue from April 14-18.

The Australian Olympic Trials will be swum at Adelaide’s SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre from June 12-17.

Meanwhile, the majority of Australia’s top swimmers have assembled in Sydney today for the four-day NSW State Open Championships

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.