After originally being left off of the start-studded line-up selected by FINA for its Champions Series, Australian Olympic medalist Bronte Campbell has now been asked to join the fold. Per The Daily Telegraph ($), the 2015 double world champion and multiple Olympic gold medalist was recently asked by FINA to now be a part of the 3-leg moneymaker after originally not receiving a call-up.
When the bulk of the roster was announced by FINA earlier this month, some tongues wagged as controversial swimmers such as China’s Sun Yang and Russia’s Yuliya Efimova were offered invites, yet one of Australia’s most successful champions in recent years, C2, was left off. Most down under called the omission ‘a snub,’ though FINA hasn’t defined its criteria well enough publicly to know if it truly was or not.
The omission was especially notable as FINA itself described the invite-only list as including “Rio 2016 Olympic medalists, Budapest 2017 World Championships’ medalists, World Record holders, and leaders of the 2018 FINA World Swimming Rankings.” Campbell is a World Record holder as part of an Australian 400 free relay, and won 2 relay medals at the Olympics, but has never won an individual Olympic medal, and hasn’t won an individual Worlds medal since 2015 (gold in the 50 and 100 free).
The Champions Series will be swum in long course with athletes participating on an invite-only basis and will include a team scoring format. It was announced in December amid FINA’s attempt to block the International Swim League, which has a similar format. The three-leg series has stops Hangzhou April 27-28, Budapest May 11-12, and Indianapolis May 31-June 1. The series will offer appearance fees and over $4 million in prize money.
We previously reported that Olympic silver medalist Maddie Groves told Aussie media she will not be participating in the Championships Series, while Bronte’s sister Cate Campbell makes her racing in the series doubtful as well.
For Australian swimmers, the timing of the FINA Champions Series couldn’t be worse. 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.