In what was a very difficult 2012-2013 season for Australian Swimming one of the brightest spots was the creation of the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series and the community outreach events that occurred because of it.
The January event kicked off the 2013 year and saw the Australians host teams from South African and China to compete in swimming events. There is also a water polo component to the competition that will involve Australia, China and Croatia.
The 2013 edition of the event saw swimmers such as Ye Shiwen, Jiao Liuyang, Liu Zige, Alicia Coutts, Christian Sprenger, James Magnussen, Cate Campbell and Belinda Hocking compete for the $100,000 of prize money that was awarded in the two day event that included 39 races.
The Australians ran away with the victory earning 26 gold, 23 silver and 12 bronze, the Chinese finished second with 12 gold, 12 silver and 15 bronze while the South Africans (who sent a very young team that did not include swimmers such as Chad le Clos or Cameron van der Burgh) finished third with 1 gold, 3 silver and 9 bronze.
This year’s event will once again be held in Perth and runs from January 31st-February 2nd with the pool events occurring on January 31st and February 1st and the open water event being held on February 2nd.
The format of the program is not expected to change with 39 events being held over two days.
The event is not only used to showcase some of the biggest stars in swimming and water polo, but the Australians have turned it into a tool to benefit the local communities and their grassroots programs. There will be clinics that will be run by elite athletes and coaches from both swimming and water polo as well as events that promote living a healthy and active lifestyle through the participation in the sports of water polo and swimming.
The Australian team has become involved in other initiatives promoting healthy lifestyle choices with the most recent being the “Be The Influence” campaign which is targets tackling the problem of binge drinking.