Although Swimming Australia is not sending an official roster to this year’s FINA Short Course World Championships, Kyle Chalmers and Holly Barratt will both be representing the green and gold in Abu Dhabi next month.
In August of this year, we reported how Swimming Australia would not be sending an official roster to the biannual event due to the country’s international travel restrictions and subsequent mandatory quarantine requirements related to the coronavirus. However, qualified swimmers able to travel on their own would still be able to race at the meet.
At the time then-Swimming Australia CEO Alex Baumann said, “For those athletes that still wish to attend and meet the selection criteria, we will provide a level of support to assist in travel and accommodation for the meet.”
According to Swimming World’s Ian Hanson, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Chalmers and national record holder Barratt will be the sole swimmers making the trek to Abu Dhabi.
Both Chalmers and Barratt are coming off of competing across the whole of the 4-stop FINA World Cup Series. Additionally, they both race for International Swimming League (ISL) squads about to enter the playoff stage for season 3. Chalmers is a key member of London Roar while Barratt is one of the Aqua Centurions’ weapons.
The fact that Chalmers will indeed be in Abu Dhabi is of extra significance in light of the fact the 23-year-old just broke the short course meters World Record in the men’s 100m freestyle.
At the final stop of the aforementioned World Cup, the multi-Olympic medalist busted out a time of 44.84 to break the longstanding record of 44.94 Frenchman Amaury Leveaux put on the books in 2008.
Although Chalmers will still have the likes of speedsters Zach Apple and Ryan Held of the United States with which to contend in the men’s 100m freestyle, his primary rival of Caeleb Dressel will not be in attendance. Dressel and Chalmers were separated by just .06 in the long course meters version of the men’s 100m freestyle in Tokyo, with the American taking gold.
At the 2018 edition of the World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China, Australia finished 7th in the overall medal table, amassing 12 medals, including 2 gold. The golds came from Ariarne Titmus as she topped the 200m and 400m free podiums.
The 2021 edition of the SC Worlds is set to see a 50% increase in prize money for individual medalists. The announced $2.8 million USD prize pool is well above the $2.07 million up for grabs at the previous SC Worlds.