Swimming Australia has announced that it is making an institutional commitment to the 2011 FINA/Arena World Cup that is set to begin October 8th in Dubai, UAE.
The Aussies will send one group of elite swimmers to the three European stops, and another group to the three Asian stops that will conclude the 7-meet series.
Eight swimmers will make the European trip that stops in Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; and Berling, Germany. The leaders of this group will be former World Record holder in the 100 free Eamon Sullivan, who has battled a freak-string of injuries in the last year but should be back to full health, and Geoff Huegill, who is the 33-year old comeback king who recently announced that he would become a father.
Following that, the big show will come on the Asian stretch in Singapore, Beijing, and Tokyo. There, the new-look Thorpe will make his debut in his first official competition since 2006. We already got a glimpse of Trickett at the Australian relay trials and the Australian Short Course Championships, but she was not quite back to full-strength yet at those meets, and these will be her first international races since her return.
Thorpe’s coach in Switzerland, Guennadi Touretski, has said that Thorpe will focus on more than just the 100 and 200 freestyles that he will be focusing on for the Olympics. Still, most will be interested in seeing his times in those two events, and for reference, his career-best times in those races in short course are 47.82/1:41.10.
The World Cup is not only a great opportunity to gain valuable racing experience, but it is a great opportunity for professional swimmers to earn prize money. Each meet will feature $102,000 in prizes distributed with $1.500 for each event winner, $1,000 for the runner-up, and $500 for 3rd place. The top three swimmers in the series overall, on the men’s and women’s swide, will split $360,000 in prize money. Last year’s big winners were Thiago Pereira of Brazil and Therese Alshammar, who each took home $100,000 for their series victories in addition to their event prizes. Australia’s Eamon Sullivan, who seems committed to at least 6 of the 7 meets, should be a top contender for the big money in this year’s series.
Australia is choosing not to send a big contingent to the series-opening Dubai meet. It’s likely that this will be a common theme for the opener, as there is a lot of resentment towards the UAE Swimming Federation within the swimming community right now – many have blamed poor organization by that federation as a contributing factor in Fran Crippen’s death, and they pulled out of their hosting duties for the 2013 World Championships at the last minute.
Full Meet Schedule
Dubai (UAE) 07 – 08 October 2011
Stockholm (SWE) 15 – 16 October 2011
Moscow (RUS) 18 – 19 October 2011
Berlin (GER) 22 – 23 October 2011
Singapore (SIN) 04 – 05 November 2011
Beijing (CHN) 08 – 09 November 2011
Tokyo (JPN) 12 – 13 November 2011