A large portion of the Australian National Team will be in Tokyo this weekend to compete at the 2015 Japan Open. In March, Swimming Australia announced they were re-branding their National Team as the Dolphins, a moniker that was used in the past, but dropped in 2009. The Dolphins team will be 20 strong in Japan and will feature nine members of their 2015 World Championship team.
The Japan Open Championships will pit some of the best swimmers in the world against each other, and has the potential to dramatically shake up the world rankings.
Press Release Courtesy of Swimming Ausralia:
Queensland-based siblings David and Emma McKeon will headline a 20-strong Australian Swim Team for this week’s 2015 Japan Open at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Complex from Friday 22 May to Sunday 24 May.
Emma, who collected an impressive total of seven international medals from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships, will be looking to fine tune her race skills in Japan before heading to Russia with the 38-member Dolphins team later this year for the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan. Currently ranked third in the world for 2015 in both the 100m butterfly and 200m freestyle events, Emma will use the Japan Open to gain experience in racing against quality international competition.
Emma’s older brother, London Olympian David, who is also making waves internationally with a total of three medals to his name from the 2014 Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific Championships, will also use the Japan Open as race practice and to gauge his current form in his pet 200 and 400m freestyle events.
The Vince Raleigh coached swimmer who trains at the Chandler Podium Performance Centre in Brisbane is currently ranked third in the world for 2015 in the 400m freestyle and eighth for the 200m freestyle.
Swimming alongside the McKeons will be their World Championship teammates; Jessica Ashwood, Madeline Groves, Ashley Delaney, Kurt Herzog, Joshua Beaver, David Morgan and Keryn McMaster.
Ashwood, who trains with David at the Chandler Podium Performance Centre, will test her race fitness in Tokyo, following a tough weekend of racing at the Canberra Grand Prix.
As the current Australian record holder in the 800m freestyle, Ashwood boasts impressive domestic results and will no doubt be looking to transfer those results to the world stage this year.
In total, nine members of the Dolphins Team for Kazan will race in Japan this weekend.
Swimming Australia Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren said the meet would provide strong competition for the athletes ahead of the World Championships.
“With both Australia and Japan striving for excellence in international swimming, the Grand Prix and the Japan Open will see athletes from both nations benefit from and share the strengths of each other’s programs,” Verhaeren said.
“Japan is a great competition base because our swimmers can race against world class athletes without having to travel too far or change time zones dramatically.”
Joining the senior athletes in Japan are a host of youth transition athletes looking to gain valuable international race experience.
Breaststrokers Jessica Hansen, Georgia Bohl and Tommy Sucipto, who all impressed at the 2015 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Championships, will race in Japan along with former Australian Swim Team members Ned McKendry, Ami Matsuo, Matson Lawson and Travis Mahoney.
Verhaeren said providing the athletes with valuable racing experience was vital to their development pathway and future success in the sport.
“The younger swimmers have already shown great potential and giving them the opportunity to compete at the Japan Open will really benefit their racing, skills and techniques in the long run. Hopefully we will see some of these swimmers raise the bar and challenge for a spot on the Dolphins Team next year,” Verhaeren said.
The heats will commence at 10:00am AEST (9:00am Tokyo time) with finals from 4:00pm AEST (3:00pm Tokyo time)
Australian Dolphins Swim Team, 2015 Japan Open, Tokyo, May 22-24:
Women: Jessica Ashwood (QLD), Georgia Bohl (QLD), Jessica Hansen (VIC), Ami Matsuo (NSW), Emma McKeon (QLD), Madeline Groves (QLD), Keryn McMaster (QLD), Holly Brettle (VIC).
Men: Josh Beaver (VIC), Nicholas Brown (WA), Ashley Delaney (VIC), Kurt Herzog (NSW), Regan Leong (QLD), David McKeon (QLD), Tommy Sucipto (WA), David Morgan (QLD), Ned McKendry (QLD), Travis Mahoney (VIC), Matson Lawson (VIC), Tyson Dobrunz (VIC).
Coaches: Brant Best (SOPAC Podium Centre), Vince Raleigh (Chandler Podium Centre), Rohan Taylor (Nunawading Podium Centre), Ben Hiddlestone (Casey TigerSharks).