Swimming Australia Cancels Short Course Nationals; Will Not Send Official Squad to Short Course Worlds

Aug 1, 2021; Tokyo, Japan; Australia relay team of Kaylee McKeown (AUS), Chelsea Hodges (AUS), Emma McKeon (AUS) and Cate Campbell (AUS) during the medals ceremony for the women's 4x100m medley relay during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games at Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports
Australia's Kaylee McKeown, Chelsea Hodges, Emma McKeon and Cate Campbell captured Olympic gold in the women's 400 medley relay -- Photo Courtesy: Rob Schumacher/USA Today Sports

Swimming Australia Cancels Short Course Nationals; Will Not Send Official Squad to Short Course Worlds

Swimming Australia has announced that it will cancel its Short Course National Championships scheduled for late September in Melbourne and that it will not send a representative team to the FINA Short Course World Championships, due to take place December 15-20 in Abu Dhabi. The decision was made as a result of strict travel and quarantine restrictions in Australia resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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. However, the organization said it would support swimmers interested in attending if they had met the qualification standards and assist in travel and accomodations. Up to 20 Australians would be allowed to attend the meet.

Swimming Australia CEO Alex Baumann said in a press release: “This is an unfortunate situation and again a decision we did not take lightly, but we needed to provide our swimming community with some certainty and with the borders being so unstable and regular lockdowns still occurring we feel this is the right decision.”

Currently, Australia’s entire Olympic team remains in quarantine after returning from the Tokyo Olympics. Because of COVID-19 concerns, every traveler entering Australia is required to isolate for 14 days, regardless of vaccination status or test results. Australia has had lowers COVID-19 case and death numbers than most countries during the pandemic, but recent spikes in virus cases have been cause for concern.

Australia is coming off an extremely impressive performance at the Tokyo Olympics. The country won nine gold medals and 21 total medals in swimming, after capturing just 10 medals at each of the last two Olympics and only four gold medals combined. Emma McKeon won seven medals, the most of any female swimmer in a single Olympics, and she joined teammates Ariarne Titmus and Kaylee McKeown in winning two individual gold medals each.

Read the full press release from Swimming Australia below.

Swimming Australia has today confirmed the cancellation of the 2021 Australian Short Course Swimming Championships, that were due to be held in Melbourne from 23-26 September.

Unfortunately, with the competition scheduled to take place in less than six weeks, the ongoing effects of COVID in many states and the uncertainty regarding border closures throughout the country, resulted in the difficult decision to cancel the event.

CEO Alex Baumann said this was a disappointing outcome but the right one considering current circumstances.

“This is an unfortunate situation and again a decision we did not take lightly, but we needed to provide our swimming community with some certainty and with the borders being so unstable and regular lockdowns still occurring we feel this is the right decision,” he said.

“We would like to thank the Victorian Government and Melbourne Sports Centres – MSAC for their understanding and support during this time.”

In addition, due to the updated Federal Government policies on international travel restrictions and subsequent mandatory quarantine requirements, this has impacted Swimming Australia’s participation at the 2021 FINA World Short Course in Abu Dhabi (15-20 Dec 2021).

Swimming Australia will facilitate entries to World Short Course (WSC) under a revised WSC selection criteria for targeted athletes but will not be sending an official Australian team to the event.

Baumann said the current international travel restrictions in place made it very difficult to support sending a team to Abu Dhabi.

“With limited options to return to Australia, the quarantine requirements following competition falling over the Christmas and New Year period and many of our athletes just undertaken more than 10 weeks away from home, we felt sending a team to the event was not viable,” he said.

“For those athletes that still wish to attend and meet the selection criteria, we will provide a level of support to assist in travel and accommodation for the meet.”

Eligibility criteria will be based on those swimmers who have reached a FINA A standard (Long or Short Course) within the time period from 1 March 2019 – 28 November 2021 at an international competition or Swimming Australia FINA approved competition (Australian Swimming Trials/Australian Swimming Championships).

Swimming Australia will work with coaches and athletes to gauge interest on participation at WSC over the following weeks, with a maximum of 20 athletes nominated for entry.

1 comment

  1. avatar
    Verram

    So does that mean those swimmers who are currently competing in ISL can still post qualifying times and attend WSC if they tick all the boxes