International Swimming League Solidarity Camp Heading For Australian Gold Coast, Swimmers Told

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ISL Solidarity Program - A helping hand, Cate Campbell and London Roar head coach Mel Marshall - Photo Courtesy: International Swimming League

The International Swimming League Solidarity Camp is heading to Australia’s Gold Coast this October and November, swimmers have been told ahead of formal agreements being finalised.

Back in April when the ISL threw an $11m lifeline to elite swimmers locked out of their sport, Australia was identified by ISL founder and funder Konstantin Grigorishin as one of several possible hosts of a pioneering six-week camp that will bring more than 300 of the world’s top swimmers together for training, reality TV-style challenges, pro-sports education and League competition. The concept, including the first fixed monthly wages for swimmers at the start of the new dawn of professional swimming, was warmly welcomed by athletes.

At the time ISL announced the Solidarity Camp, Grigorishin told Swimming World that Australia, Japan, Hungary and the USA were all possible destinations for the Solidarity Camp. There is no official confirmation of a Gold Coast camp but League swimmers have been told that Australia is likely to host the revival of global swimming if the COVID-19 pandemic allows that to take place by Southern spring and Northern autumn in what will largely be a competition-free year.

As things stand, borders are closed and travel is seriously curtailed the world over. The only kind of plans and agreements that can be made are those that reflect the flexibility the situation demands, including going ahead if possible, retracting if the world is not yet ready.

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Gold Coast Aquatics Centre – Photo Courtesy: Gold Coast Aquatic Center

Swimming World’s Oceania Correspondent Ian Hanson explained why the 2018 Commonwealth Games venues and locations would make an ideal place  for the Solidarity Camp in a year that has seen a virus wipe out the swimming season: the Olympic Games has been moved forward one year to July 2021, while all global and continental events have also been shuffled into the future.

Today in the Italian media, Marco Orsi, who will race for Katinka Hosszu‘s Team Iron in the League, reveals that he has returned to his long-term coach Roberto Odaldi to prepare for his last season as a Twentysomething.

Alessandro Gallo, of Il Resto del Carlino newspaper, reports Orsi and Odaldi “at the end of October, will fly to Australia, to the Gold Coast to participate, as protagonists, in the only international competition of a sports year, 2020, blown up by Covid-19 and the fear of contagion”.

Swimmer and coach are reported to have spoke in tandem when cited as saying:

“Konstantin Grigorishin is a Ukrainian tycoon with a passion for swimming. So he decided to create a real ‘Champions Cup’ under the name of Isl2, or International Swimming League2 “.

They confirm that they have been told to prepare for camp in Australia from late October through November. The date has not yet been specified for obvious reasons: the course of the pandemic and the shifting protocols and changing dimensions of the spread of a virus not yet done with the world.

International Swimming League Solidarity Camp – Lifeline for 2021

Adam Peaty, the Olympic 100m breaststroke champion, said of the Solidarity Camp: “It’s an uncertain time for us all at the moment so this much welcomed financial grant will assist swimmers as everyone prepares for 2021.”

His support for the league in the face of FINA resistance has served as a powerful catalyst for change alongside the voices of world-class peers such as Hosszu, Tom Shields, Michael Andrew, Cate Campbell, Chad le Clos, Sarah Sjostrom, Federica Pellegrini, Katie Ledecky, Florent Manaudou and many others. The participation in the League of all of those and the likes of Caeleb Dressel, Ranomi Kromowidjojo and a wave of other pace-setters of the pool made the 2019 League season a huge turning point in swimming history.

Peaty described the ISL’s financial lifeline for swimmers as “huge for the sport”, one that had “not changed much in decades and still has the same formats and focus as it had back in the 1970s”, said the World record holder.

The ISL Solidarity Programme will pay a minimum of $1500 a month to more than 300 athletes from September 2020 until July 2021, taking swimmers all the way through to the Olympic Games next year.

Grigorishin explained his motivation for the Camp when he said:

“After the postponement of the Olympics some swimmers came to us and said they would now probably retire because they could not afford another year, so this is why we decided to take action. We aren’t talking about the wages of soccer or basketball players but for these swimmers we hope it will make a real difference and allow them to continue in the sport.”

5 comments

    • Sharon Brian

      Swimming World sadly I live in another state and they won’t even let us in 😢

  1. Dave Crampton

    Australia’s borders are likely to stay closed until 2021. Even state teams champs in October is cancelled.

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