BREAKING: Swimming Australia Cancels Australian Championships And Age Nationals to Combat Coronavirus

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Swimming Australia has just advised that due to the outbreak of coronavirus COVID-19 and government advice recommending restricting gatherings of more than 500 people, its upcoming Hancock Prospecting Australian Age Swimming Championships and Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships in Perth later next month have been cancelled.

Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell said the decision was based on the health and safety of the swimming community and their wider families.

The Australian Age Championships had been set down for April 7-14 and the Australian Championships from April 17-21 at the HBF Stadium in Mount Claremont.

A Swimming Australia statement noted:

“We understand that there will be significant disappointment for our swimmers who have put in so much time and effort to be in peak condition for this event, but these are unprecedented times and the welfare and safety of our athletes, coaches, staff, technical officials, members and their families is paramount and at the centre of our decision-making.” 

“This is a constantly evolving situation and we are already seeing substantial and widespread event cancellations and postponements worldwide.

“We appreciate that there are families that have made or are needing to make travel arrangements to head to Perth, so we wanted to give them as much time as possible to amend these plans if possible and provide certainty.

“Keeping with current government advice, there are no plans to change State or local events of less than 500 people that are currently happening, but these events will be carefully reviewed daily by State organisations.”

Russell said consideration was given to holding the events without spectators:

“In our decision to cancel these events, we also considered holding these events without spectators. Given that these events are to be held in Perth, and Age Championships has large numbers of children that need to travel with their families to the event, we don’t believe holding the events without spectators would achieve the main goal of avoiding the transmission of the virus.”

“We are making the call on our future given we do not know what the situation may be in two or three weeks’ time but need to prepare for it to worsen.”

Russell said Swimming Australia also reviewed the need for international and domestic travel for staff, coaches and athletes in the coming weeks.

“We are an incredibly mobile group both nationally and internationally which puts us in many situations where we could be exposed to the virus.

“We will continue to take advice from the relevant authorities and follow government recommendations but have taken a conservative approach given our work with high performance athletes preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics and cancelled all non-essential travel for the next two weeks.

“This is an extremely important year for our elite athletes and coaches and our priority is to have them fit and healthy for selection.”

Russell added preparation for the Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials in June continues.

“We are in constant contact with the AOC and Paralympics Australia regarding Tokyo 2020 and will continue to follow the advice of them and the IOC and the IPC. Our athletes will continue to train and prepare for Olympic and Paralympic trials in June, while following the guidance provided by the AIS around reducing their risk of exposure. We will continue to monitor the situation closely in conjunction with our own medical staff and the appropriate organisations and update as necessary.

“These are unique and challenging times for our community, and we will continue to adapt as appropriate with the health and safety of our people at the forefront of every decision.”

Swimming Australia also noted: “Refunds on entry fees and club staff packs already submitted will be returned to participants in the next two weeks. For those people who have already purchased tickets to the events, they will receive a refund from Ticketmaster.”

The Australian cancellations were among many in the past 24-36 hours in the world of swimming, the Spanish nationals and Olympic trials called off, the Danish Open and Olympic Trials, the Swim Open, Stockholm, the French Junior nationals all cancelled, as were the NCAA Championships; a 30-day suspension of events by USA Swimming; a Norwegian lockdown that cancelled sport; FINA postponements; Canada considering what to do about its Olympic trials; and cancellations and a plea from Italy to halt the Olympic Games to avoid Tokyo 2020 going ahead in July when many of the world’s best swimmers may no longer be in the kind of shape they would have been but for the pandemic and its knock-on effects.

An Extraordinary Day In Swimming History:

And that followed this:

Guidance on Water and Coronavirus 

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47 comments

  1. Stephen Ashton

    Erin Vidler Nyree Ashton Karina Ashton that’s me in lane 2 😱

  2. Donna Pim

    Love to all those who gave worked so hard xxx

    • Sirkku Henkari Tampio

      Yep, including both everyone in the organising side as well as the swimmers. Also here in Scandinavia basically all races have been cancelled. Cancelling races is sheer hysteria, it’s very much more likely to get injured or killed in traffic while travelling to the swimming hall than getting the virus. Plus, of those who are infected, a vast majority gets mild symptoms. Cancelling is highly illogical

      • avatar
        Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

        Yet some evidence to suggest it does work as part of a wider strategy: China, Taiwan, South Korea… ?

  3. avatar
    Caroline

    My Sons fist year finally old enough , been working very hard for this and is now soooo disappointed

    • avatar
      Craig Lord - Swimming World Editor-in-Chief

      Caroline and all… totally understand but now for the art and alchemy of what next and catching waves… hopefully programs and families of swimmers hit by this sort of thing right now all around the world will convert the moment to a lesson in resilience and finding ways to test their progress in other ways until they can return to championship waters.

  4. Andrea Bravo Fernandez

    While sad, it is necessary. Now is time for a worldwide support of Italy’s plea to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – since many of the world’s best swimmers and athletes may no longer be in the kind of shape they need to be by July and many might not have been able to fight for their well deserved spot before then.

  5. Elaine Colborne

    Will airfares be refunded for people who have already made their bookings to Perth. Very expensive airfares some parents have had to borrow money so their kids can participate in National titles. These parents get no help from Swimming Australia so that kids can go. Without these young swimmers and the money their parents have to spend Swimming Australia would have no future swimmers. These parents need airfares refunded by the airlines.

  6. avatar
    commonwombat

    Realistically not a surprise given the general trend of cancellation of both domestic & intl sporting events over this period. Whilst clearly disappointing for Age Group swimmers, the movement of the selection event to mid year renders Nationals a much lesser priority for most seeking selection. TBH, it would make more sense to just combine them into the one event but Swimming AUS & logical thought are not exactly synonymous …… or they still have some contractual entanglements. In any case, another month should give us a clearer picture as regards the international spread of COVID-19; the effectiveness of containment regimes and whether Tokyo will actually proceed or not

    • avatar
      Sam

      It was a selection event for the Junior Pan PACs team. But yes it would make sense to combine the junior and senior team selections into one event in June each year. Maybe a senior final and junior final for each event . Missed your insights Commonwombat

  7. Julie Manning

    Alicia Tancred…. Oh no, but I guess it is necessary. All sports seem to be canceling.

  8. Susy Vulich

    Just paid for my daughters events the other day , hoping swimming Australia will be refunding at least this??

  9. Joanne Newton

    Usswimming already cancelled all meets for the next 30 days. Devastating for sure but the way this virus is spreading we’ve got to take measures to try and slow the spread down.

  10. Katie Macfarlane

    I’m in California and even school swimming and pools are closed. All our events are cancelled including local encouragement meets. No crowds of more than 250 people allowed.

  11. Bernd Adolph

    VERY disappointing for all the swimmers but necessary 😞

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