The resulting impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues on, as yet another sizable international meet is forced to alter formats and protocol.
The Australian Short Course Swimming Championships were originally slated to be held next month in-person in Melbourne, Victoria. However, due to the coronavirus-related restrictions currently in place within the host state, as well as others, the elite competition will now be going virtual.
Swimmers will compete as close to simultaneously as possible across the following locations the weekend of November 27th-29th:
- Brisbane (Chandler)
- Sydney (Warringah Aquatic Centre)
- Hobart (Hobart Aquatic Centre)
- Perth (Venues West)
- Melbourne (MSAC subject to COVID restrictions)
Additionally, Swimming Australia says that, based on the Victorian government’s coronavirus reopening roadmap, the Melbourne-based portion will be delivered for open national qualifiers only and may operate in a staged environment to safely manage the number of individuals allowed in the venue at one time.
At the end of each session, results will be sent to a centralised platform which will then rank the swimmers competing across the country with final national results to be communicated via Swimming Australia’s digital channels.
Swimming Australia Chief Strategist Alex Baumann said the decision to not award Australian championship titles in 2020 was the correct call.
“Given the challenges Victoria is currently facing regarding pools re-opening and restrictions on event gatherings we don’t feel it is fair to hold an Australian Championships when not all athletes may be able to compete,” he said.
“It has been incredibly tough for all Victorians, in particular club swimmers in Melbourne, but we are hopeful we may be able to hold some racing for a select group of athletes during the virtual competition, though this of course will be subject COVID restrictions and guidelines.
“We understand many states are still restricted by border closures which will prevent travel to a single event, but we felt strongly about providing meaningful racing opportunities for our athletes in this calendar year and have worked closely with our State and Territory associations to produce these events in different cities,” he said.
“2020 has been a year like no other so it is fantastic to be able to pull together as a swimming community to deliver some high-quality racing in a virtual setting for our swimmers.”
Below is the latest data per Australian state and territory since January 2, 2020.
Specifically for Melbourne, effective September 27th, the following restrictions are in place for the metropolitan area:
- You can exercise outside with members of your household, or up to five people (including you) from a maximum of two households. You must be able to keep at least 1.5 metres distance between yourself and other people you do not live with.
- Exercise is limited to a maximum of two hours per day, which can be split over a maximum of two sessions.
- When exercising, you need to stay within 5km of your home or workplace (if you are a permitted worker and you are carrying your permitted worker permit).
- Indoor sports centres, including gyms, training facilities and pools are closed.
- Outdoor swimming pools are open, except for shared swimming pools in apartment complexes or shared residential properties.
- Community sport training and competition cannot occur