Courtesy: Funky Trunks & Funkita, a SwimSwam partner.
The FINA World Championships kick off on tomorrow and the first athletes to put their skills to the test will be the divers. Aussie swimwear brand Funkita, proud sponsors of Diving Australia, have 5 of their top divers set to represent 4 different countries at Gwangju.
Olympians Melissa Wu and Anabelle Smith earned their spot on the Australian diving team after gold medal finishes in the Women’s Platform and Women’s 3m Synchro respectively. Qualifications took place at the Australian Diving Open Nationals with Wu and Smith being part of the 12 strong team competing at Worlds.
Having had difficulties with injuries in the past Wu is feeling strong going into Gwangju, telling Funkita “I’ve been working hard in the gym and on my physio exercises to prevent injuries and have the best physical preparation possible for World Champs.”
Wu had planned to compete with fellow Funkita athlete Smith in the synchro event, but injury has meant that Wu is now partnered with Emily Chinnock. This late change has meant some intensive training for Wu over the last couple of weeks both in Australia and at the Australian diving camp in Tokyo. Overall Wu is staying positive and really looking forward to travelling to Korea for the first time.
Krysta Palmer, a former University of Nevada diver, cemented her position on Team USA when she won gold at the Team USA Champions Series in the Women’s 3m Synchro. Heading into her second World Champs Krysta is most excited to compete with her synchro partner, Alison Gibson.
“It’s always a special experience competing side by side and sharing the experience with someone else. I’ve been training with my partner for 2 years now and this will be our highest level of competition together. I’m looking forward to our World Championships debut.”
In the lead up to the event Krysta has been spending a lot of time in the weight room “working specifically on strength training and the precision of movements.” Something that will no doubt serve her well in Gwangju.
Lizzie Cui image – by Aimee Wilson courtesy of Funkita
New Zealand Olympian Elizabeth Cui is set to make Gwangju her third World Championships. Cui’s success stems largely from having made the move to the USA back in 2016 to train with Louisiana State University. Under the guidance of her coach Doug Shaffer at LSU Cui has qualified for the 2016 Olympics, 2018 Commonwealth Games and two World Championships and has her eyes on Tokyo 2020.
Cui is now excited to compete in South Korea for New Zealand, her first major international event since signing with Funkita in April, and the opportunity to travel and experience new cultures again.
Leong Mun Yee image – by Gabriel Gilbert Daim, courtesy of Funkita
One of the most experienced divers competing at Gwangju is Malaysia’s Leong Mun Yee. This event will be Leong’s eighth World Championships, her first one being back in 2005 in Montreal.
Worlds mean a lot to Leong who says her greatest sporting achievement was her bronze medal from the 2009 World Championships in Rome, the first ever World Championships medal won for Malaysia.
With a diving career that has spanned well over a decade and still qualifying for national teams at age 35, Leong will be one to watch at Gwangju. She has just finished up a training camp with the Malaysian team in China ahead of the event.