Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers To Accept Wild Card Nominations For Birmingham Commonwealth Games


Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers To Accept Wild Card Nominations For Birmingham Commonwealth Games

In a major shift in Australian National Swim Team selection policy Olympic gold medallists Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers will accept “wild card” nominations onto this year’s Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Swimming Australia has written into its policy that Tokyo Olympic medallists would be given an opportunity to swim at the Games without contesting next month’s Selection Trials in Adelaide.

The Trials for the World Championships and Commonwealth Games will be contested at the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre from May 18-22. The World Championships will be held in Budapest from June 18 to July 3 with the Birmingham Commonwealth Games from July 28 to August 8.

While McKeon and Chalmers won’t swim the Trials, their fellow Olympic medallists from Tokyo, Kaylee McKeown, Ariarne Titmus, and Zac Stubblety Cook  will all contest the meet while  Jack McLoughlin is also expected to swim.

But Titmus will not swim World Championships while McKeown, Stubblety-Cook and McLoughlin will be available for both meets.

Australian National Head Coach Rohan Taylor has confirmed the change to Swimming World, saying: “In our criteria we have written in that Olympic medallists will have the opportunity and be invited to be nominated for their events at the Commonwealth Games.

“Emma will not swim the Trials so she will not swim at the World Championships but she will swim at the Commonwealth Games.

“Ariarne will swim the Trials but she won’t go to Worlds. She will target the Commonwealth Games.

“Our World Championship team will see a group of females that will be looking at an opportunity to make their mark and to test the depth. We will be tested on our depth, which will be good.

“And Kyle won’t be doing Trials at this point and he will be looking to join the team for Commonwealth Games so Kyle has a spot on the team, (leaving two spots available in the 100m freestyle in Birmingham).

“Medallists will have a spot on the team in the events where they won individual medals in Tokyo.”

McKeon won gold in the 50 and 100m freestyle and bronze in the 100m butterfly, while Chalmers won silver in the 100m freestyle – so there will only be two available spots on those events for Commonwealth Games nomination.

The policy shift is a reward for those individual medallists from Tokyo in a particularly busy year and a year thrown into disarray when the Fukuoka World Championships were replaced late by Budapest.

Australia has been steadfast in its National Team Selection Policy, particularly when former head coach, the late Don Talbot took over the Australian team for his final stint in 1989 – with a “no Trials no swim policy.”

And that policy has remained in stone through the Leigh Nugent, Alan Thompson and Jacco Verhaeren reigns – but with a shift in policy always on the drawing board to match the competition season.

The pathway through to Paris has begun and Taylor wants his best possible team for 2024.

Budapest will see the Dolphins without Cate Campbell and Bronte Campbell, Emily Seebohm and now Emma McKeon and Kyle Chalmers – with the Campbell girls and Seebohm taking 2022 off.

McKeon is now back in full training under coach Michael Bohl on the Gold Coast, after enjoying a well deserved break from the pool post her record breaking medal haul in Tokyo, to ensure she can be refreshed for her third Commonwealth Games as she sets her sights on Paris 2024.

Chalmers has undergone further shoulder surgery and is back in training under coach Peter Bishop and was on the Gold Coast for last week’s High Performance Meet.

While Chalmers did not race he was trained and looked very much on track for a Commonwealth Games return in July/August.

Taylor will take his team into staging camps in Chartres (about 80km out of Paris) each year un till 2024.

They will be there before Commonwealth Games, rehearsing what that preparation is going to be like.

“How we go at Worlds will be a good snap shot of where we are after Tokyo but for me it will be looking towards Paris,” said Taylor.

“We understand what successful performances at an Olympic Games will look like for us and we know that we have to invest significantly in competition experience,” said Taylor.

“We have always been in a position to perform well but it’s just about being able to convert on the day.

“We create that opportunity to evolve and develop and for the swimmers to show their wares and when we get those guys back into the team we are going to be a stronger unit for that and that’s what we are looking at.”

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2 months ago

“Wild card nominations” has such a better sound to it than “special arrangement” or “special dispensation”, doesn’t it? Spin.

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