Russian swimming star Yulia Efimova announced last November the creation of a new professional swimming squad called ‘Team Efimova.’ The team would initially be coached by her father, Andrey Efimov, with fellow Russian Nikita Lobinstev as a fellow team member. Three months after inception, the newly-formed squad is on the move, having arrived in Bali for a weeks-long training camp before heading to Australia.
In its trip down under, Team Efimova reportedly has two tasks on its agenda. The first is to compete at the NSW State Championships set to be held March 3rd – 5th. The second purpose of the trip is to scout out a potential Australian coaching candidate to take the reins of the outfit. According to state-run news agency TASS, Efimova, will “talk to a number of experts on the subject of cooperation.”
Swimming Australia recently announced that its Podium Centre Program will be reduced from 14 to now 9 High Performance Centers, potentially opening up a few more possibilities for Efimova. Athletes having served doping suspensions are prevented from training at the High Performance Centers, so with the reduction, 4 more potential training locations have now opened up to Team Efimova. Doping-plagued athletes are not outright barred from training within the borders of Australia, as evidenced by Chinese World Champion Ning Zetao and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Park Tae Hwan both having trained down under after having been found guilty of doping offenses in their careers.
TASS indicates that Team Efimova will not move forward until after the 2017 World Championships in Budapest. To make it to that point, the athletes will first compete at the Russian Championships in mid-April.