On the back of 2017 World Champion Anton Chupkov of Russia announcing he would swim all three stages of the just introduced FINA Champions Swim Series, it appears as though the Australian contingency will be lacking much of their own star power.
As a refresher, the Champions Series is a long course, 3-leg competition with athletes participating on an invite-only basis, and will include a team scoring format. The first leg will be in Hangzhou, China, April 27 to 28, 2019. The second meet is scheduled for two weeks later, May 11-12, in Budapest, Hungary. The third meet will be in the United States, scheduled for May 31-June 1 in Indianapolis at the IUPUI Natatorium.
Invitations have been sent to 45 male swimmers from 15 different countries and 37 female swimmers from 17 different countries. Although the list of names has not been made public, some Aussies are making their affiliation known, speaking up about the inconvenient timing for the event as it pertains to their own domestic racing priorities.
For instance, the 2019 Australian National Championships take place in April, right alongside the first Champions Series stop in Hangzhou. Then, the nation’s actual World Championships Qualifying Trials fall in June, which is also the month of the 3rd Series stop on the other side of the world in Indianapolis.
C1 told The Sydney Morning Herald this week, “It’s a little bit awkward, the timing. We have selection trials in June and these comps are being held in April and May. Getting to Europe is a long way to go so I’m unsure it will work, it seems like it’s putting a lot of comps in a now a very busy time of year for swimming globally.
“In Australia the depth of talent means we have to re-qualify for the national team every year and we have one chance to do that, in the selection trials.
“First and foremost that is what I strive for every year, because representing my country is always the driving force behind what I’m doing.”
As for the International Swim League (ISL) series of meets, both Campbell and Groves hope to be a part of the evolving alternative to FINA competitions.
“I intend to be a part of it, yes,” Groves said. “My main goal is to hopefully get a good base down over the next 18 months of training and competitions. There’s world championships this year in South Korea but my next big goal is Aussie trials, then hopefully worlds and then, hopefully the ISL.”