Another international swimming competition is headed Down Under, as the next edition of the Junior Pan Pacific Championships is headed to the Australian capital of Canberra in August 2024.
The 2024 Junior Pan Pacs will be staged at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) on August 21-24, 2024, Swimming Australia announced Thursday, with the competition set to return to a biannual (once every two years) schedule moving forward.
The last edition of Junior Pan Pacs, held last summer in Honolulu, marked the first edition of the competition in four years, with the 2020 version canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since its inception in 2005, Hawaii has hosted the vast majority of Junior Pan Pacs, with five editions being held in Maui and two in Honolulu, while Guam (2009) and Fiji (2018) have also hosted in the past. Next year will mark the first time the event will be held in Australia.
Along with charter nations USA, Australia, Japan and Canada, the junior and senior Pan Pacs are open to other non-European nations, with Singapore and New Zealand among the regular participants.
The 2022 Junior Pan Pacs featured Singapore, New Zealand, Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia and Samoa along with the four charter nations.
“The athletes coming through the junior ranks now are incredibly fortunate that Australia is hosting Commonwealth and Olympic Games within the next 10 years,” Swimming Australia High Performance Director Tamara Sheppard said.
“Holding the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Canberra next year provides yet another opportunity for our Junior Dolphins to compete against high quality athletes at home.
“The American team coming out will of course be strong, and we know Canada and Japan will also send talented squads so the standard of the event will be really high.
“Australia has always considered Junior Pan Pacs to be an important event in the development of our young swimmers and there’s no doubt many of the athletes who get the opportunity to swim in Canberra next year will progress onto senior teams in the future.”
Australian Sports Commission CEO Kieren Perkins spoke about how crucial an international competition like Junior Pan Pacs is for developing swimmers.
“Racing opportunities like this are critical for our young developing athletes and the ability to host this meet in Australia will provide great benefit,” said Perkins, who won seven gold medals at the senior Pan Pacific Championships during his illustrious career that also included two Olympic gold medals.
“We look forward to hosting some of the region’s most promising athletes at the AIS Campus in 2024.”
After a multi-year stretch that saw very little international competition in Australia, primarily due to the pandemic, things are back in one of swimming’s hotbeds. Australia hosted the Duel In The Pool in Sydney and the Short Course World Championships in Melbourne last year.
Although this will be the first time Australia is hosting Junior Pan Pacs, the nation has held the senior edition three times, doing so in Brisbane (1987), Sydney (1999) and on the Gold Coast (2014).
At the 2022 Junior Pan Pacs in Honolulu, the United States topped the medal table with 19 gold and 46 total medals, while Japan was second (29 medals) and Australia third (25) in the rankings.
Among the Australian swimmers who thrived at the 2022 edition included Flynn Southam and Joshua Staples, who both won four gold medals on the boys’ side, while Milla Jansen and Jamie Perkins both claimed five medals for the girls.
Swimmers aged 18 and under are eligible to compete at Junior Pan Pacs, which aligns with the new rules in place for World Juniors and Euro Juniors.
World Juniors is 14 years to 18 years for both males and females.
That’s great news.. any updates on the senior pan pacs though?
They’re not until 2026 in Toronto.
Australia’s hosting Jr Pan Pacs next year, Comm Games 2026 and Olympics 2032, after having Short Course Worlds last year. Hopefully this creates some strong interest for up and comers!
I think it’s of particular help in that it follows on the Paris 2024 Games where swimming ends on Aug. 4, and so it should be a real boost to the younger set of swimmers who are realistically looking toward Los Angeles in 2028.