Kyle Chalmers and Holly Barratt The Lone Australian Dolphins For World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi

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SPLASH AND CASH: Kyle Chalmers after his world record breaking swim in Kazan...more incentives on the line in Abu Dhabi. Photo Courtesy Fina.

Kyle Chalmers and Holly Barratt The Lone Australian Dolphins For World Short Course Championships in Abu Dhabi

Latest world record holder Kyle Chalmers and defending two-time medallist Holly Barratt will be Australia’s lone representatives in next month’s US$2.8 million FINA Short Course World Championships, in Abu Dhabi (December 15-20).

Australian Head Coach Rohan Taylor confirmed to Swimming World that both Chalmers and Barratt would be the only two Dolphins lining up in the six-day event post the ISL final in Eindhoven.

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CHEQUE THIS OUT: Kyle Chalmers with 10,000 reasons to smile. Photo Courtesy: Fina.

And it could well net a record catch for Chalmers – the man they call “the Big Tuna” – with Fina putting up a $US50,000 bonus for any world records at the meet.

The WR bonuses will come on top of record individual medal prize money in international swimming’s richest ever meet.

Chalmers earned a $US10, 000 WR bonus from Fina for his 44.84 WR time in the final World Cup meet in Kazan last week.

Chalmers and Barratt will now prepare to spearhead the London Roar and Aqua Centurians respectively in the rich International Swimming League (ISL) when the play-offs start in Eindhoven this week.

Barratt, who turns 34 on January 1, has been a valued member of the Aqua Centurians during the ISL season and has also been one of the most consistent swimmers in the World Cups – with eight podium finishes, including gold in the 50m butterfly in Kazan.

At the last Fina World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou in 2018, Barratt won silver and bronze in the 50m butterfly and 50m backstroke respectively.

Her successes in the World Cups earned her $US32, 400 while Chalmers remained unbeaten in the 100m freestyle with his 10 medals – five of them gold earning the Tokyo Olympic 100m silver medallist $US47, 900.

For Chalmers, who admits he has only just got serious about short course swimming, has never swum at a Fina World Short Course Championships.

Holly Barratt, who became Australia's oldest ever champion swimmer when she won the 50m butterfly on the Gold Coast on Sunday. Picture by Nic Ellis The West Australian

MEDAL BLOCK: Holly Barratt will join Kyle Chalmers in the World SC medal chase in Abu Dhabi. Photo Courtesy: Nic Ellis (West Australian).

Chalmers and Barratt will represent Australia’s smallest ever contingent at a World Championship meet since Long Course Championships were first swum in Belgrade in 1973 and the inaugural Short Course Championships in Palma de Majorca in 1993.

Australia has also been the second most successful nation in Fina World Short Course history behind the US winning 241 medals – 79 of them gold.

Chalmers could potentially swim four events in Abu Dhabi, the 50, 100 and 200m freestyle and the 50m butterfly.

Ashley Callus (Moscow 2002) is the only Australian to ever win the 100m freestyle at a SC Worlds while Ian Thorpe (Hong Kong 1999) and Kenrick Monk (Manchester 2008) both won the 200m.

In August Swimming Australia Swimming Australia announced the cancellation of September’s Short Course National Championships and that it would not send a representative team to the FINA Short Course World Championships.

It was a decision was made as a result of strict travel and quarantine restrictions in Australia resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Holly Barratt backstroke start

ARCHWAY TO THE PODIUM: Holly Barratt launching her way to backstroke medals at the World Championships. Photo Courtesy: Nic Ellis (West Australian).

However, the organisation said it would support swimmers interested in attending if they had met the qualification standards and would assist in travel and accomodation.

It said that: “Swimmers traveling to Abu Dhabi would have to quarantine in Australia upon returning to the country, and that would cover the entire Christmas and New Years’ period, so Swimming Australia decided against sending a representative team.”

It remains to be seen just what those restrictions will look like next month as Australia’s borders slowly but surely open up for international travellers but with any luck, Chalmers (into Adelaide) and Barratt (into Perth) will both more than likely be home in time to celebrate Christmas and their successes.

The ISL play offs start on November 11 at the Pieter van den Hoogenband pool – concluding on November 28 before the final on December 3 after which swimmers will head to Abu Dhabi.

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