Trio of Olympians Lead “Australia Swims” Movement

Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

With the iconic Sydney Harbour as backdrop, Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson, joined by Optus Managing Director for Marketing and Product, Ben White, Optus Ambassador and Australia’s greatest Olympian Ian Thorpe, four-time Olympian Leisel Jones and World Champion and dual Olympian Bronte Campbell, this morning announced the official launch of Australia Swims.

From January 20-28 Swimming Australia, together with Optus, are excited to bring to life a nine-day celebration of the country’s love of swimming and water, AustraliaSwims, with opportunities for everyone across the country to get involved – from swimming in their backyard pool or local beach, challenging themselves in an event or getting off the beaten track to explore a hidden swimming hole or river.

The launch coincided with the first day of Summer and saw peak hour in Sydney CBD transformed as a group of everyday Australians ditched their usual work attire in favour of their swimwear for the morning commute to highlight Australia’s swimming culture.

Swimming Australia President John Bertrand AO said Australia Swims aims to re-energise and capture Australia’s passion for swimming and the water.

“Summer in Australia is synonymous with swimming, it is a favourite pastime across the country with so many personal memories and moments centred at the beach or the pool. Together with Optus, we want to encourage all Australians to come together this January and go for a swim and celebrate a quintessential part of the Australian way of life.

“At australiaswims.com.au we have brought together a vast array of swimming experiences, everything from FREE DJ pool parties to challenging open water swims. Experiences that are suitable for all ages and all swimming abilities, right across the country.

“This of course would not be possible without the support of Optus who recognise the importance of swimming to our Country and that swimming is in our DNA; part of what makes us Australian,” Bertrand said.

Optus Managing Director of Marketing and Product, Ben White said, “Together with Swimming Australia, Optus has made a commitment to work to increase participation in swimming – for its wide range of benefits including health and fitness, water safety, community and above all fun.”

“We want to create swimming experiences that make people feel connected, excited and more alive – and that is what Australia Swims is all about,” Mr White said.

Optus Ambassador and one of Australia’s most iconic swimmers, Ian Thorpe said everyone’s swimming journey is unique but it is something that also brings us together.

“Throughout my swimming career I worked incredibly hard to reach the elite level however, I also ensured I had fun along the way. Swimming remains a huge part of my life and I really enjoy working with Optus and Swimming Australia to share my knowledge and experience with people of all ages,” Mr Thorpe said.

“Australia Swims is a great movement to bring the country together, encouraging the next generation to have fun and be safe around the water and I really hope a lot of Australians will take part.”

Current Australian Dolphin Bronte Campbell said, “I started out swimming for fun, living in South Africa, exploring water holes and lakes, and then once I moved to Australia water was everywhere so my parents enrolled Cate and I in swimming lessons.”

“Now, although I take my swimming more seriously, I still have so much fun racing to compete on the world stage.

“Next year is going to be such a big year for the sport of swimming and Australia Swims is such a great way to kick things off and get everyone involved in the sport before cheering us on at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.”

Four-time Olympian Leisel Jones said, “When I was growing up being around water brought so much joy to my life and it’s so important we encourage everyone to give swimming a go, not just at the elite level, but for fun – who knows one day they might end up representing the Country!”

“I’ll be at the Optus Swims Sydney Harbour here on January 20 and I can’t wait to see the event bring people from all walks of life together, connected through our love of the water.”

Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson added that, “As of December 1, Australiaswims.com.au already features over 500 swimming experiences, from an open water swim at Kingston Beach Tasmania, to one of Australia’s northern-most pools; Nightcliff in Darwin.”

“Australia Swims is uniting the swimming industry, from local swimming clubs, to community pools, to privately run open water events, surf lifesaving Australia and other aquatic sports like triathlon and water polo.

“Australia Swims is about connecting everyone from the grass roots to the green and gold and everyone in between, there is truly something for everybody.” Anderson said.

With safety in and around water a key theme for Australia Swims we have enlisted the support of Surf Life Saving Australia, to provide a guide to Australia’s patrolled beaches on our website. We encourage beach goers to always swim between the red and yellow flags.

We will be encouraging all Australians to get involved and share their swimming experiences using #AustraliaSwims and be following @SwimmingAustralia on Instagram and Facebook for all the ways to be part of the movement.

Press release courtesy of Swimming Australia. 

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Author: Diana Pimer

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Diana Pimer was a breaststroke/IMer at Keene State College and is the NEISDA Conference record holder in the 200 IM. She is currently an Age Group Coach at AGUA in New York City and has covered major competitions for Swimming World including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2015 and 2017 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming Nationals and more.

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