Non-High-Performance Victorians Shut Out Of Aussie Trials Due To Travel Rules

Late last month we reported how Olympic champion Mack Horton was among athletes fleeing the Australian state of Victoria before a new lockdown was put in place due to a coronavirus outbreak. As an elite swimmer, Horton was among the high-performance programs situated in Victoria that were moved by Swimming Australia to Queensland as a preemptive move.

As of Thursday, May 27th, Victoria, Australia’s second-most populous with around 6.7 million residents, instituted a seven-day lockdown that has since been extended. It is currently set to end on June 10th. With the Australian Olympic Trials are set to begin on Saturday, June 12th, this leaves little wiggle room to travel cross-country to arrive in South Australia for the nation’s biggest swimming event.

As such, a group of Victorian athletes was granted exemptions by the South Australian government to travel interstate for the competition. However, these swimmers are reportedly being denied access to the Trials event due to meet organizers being unable to implement the required COVID-19-safe management restrictions for interstate travelers, as recommended by the health department

According to a Daily Mail report, the South Australian Health department stated, “The [Trials] event organisers were unable to implement changes suggested by SA Health for the event which has resulted in 12 Victorian swimmers unable to participate.

“When we have to restrict movement from other jurisdictions into South Australia because of a serious Covid outbreak, first and foremost, we prioritise the health and wellbeing of the South Australian community.

“Any Covid Management Plan event is developed in partnership with the organiser to ensure associated exemption applications can be safely approved, particularly when there is a Covid-19 outbreak in another jurisdiction.” (Daily Mail)

Swimming Australia Chief Executive Alex Baumann commented, “SA Health requires that those people operate within a sterile corridor and not come into direct contact with any other athletes, coaches, staff and spectators, which cannot be implemented due to the nature of our sport.”

“We empathise with the athletes who are unable to compete in Adelaide at the 2021 Australian Swimming trials due to the South Australian Government’s Covid restrictions.

However, the report indicates that the same measures were successfully adopted by the AFL last weekend when Collingwood players travelled to South Australia.

Today, June 10th, Swimming Victoria posted the following statement on its organization’s website:

With multiple lockdowns, months out of the water, cancelled competitions and disruptions to life in general, it certainly hasn’t been easy for our Victorian athletes.

So for the near 90 strong group of Victorian athletes that qualified for the 2021 Australian Swimming Trials, we want to acknowledge what you have achieved.

Unfortunately, current border restrictions have prevented a number of our athletes from attending the Trials in Adelaide. Whether you are competing or not, we want you to know that we are proud of you. Qualifying for Olympic Trials is an amazing achievement.

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10 days ago

This is absolute madness. What outbreak? The 7 day case average has not been above 25 since Sept/Oct of last year FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY.

Justin Michael Sabourin
Reply to  WestCoastRefugee
10 days ago

I feel so bad for Australia and the swimmers there. Canada is or well was a hot mess with covid numbers. Even where I live we are average 30 cases a day and that’s for 1.5million people.

Reply to  Justin Michael Sabourin
10 days ago

Very much still is a hot mess.

10 days ago

Australia is such a mess rn. Our government is almost as totalitarian as a communist state.

Mr Piano
Reply to  Megbert
10 days ago

A communist state is an oxymoron

You Don’t Say
Reply to  Mr Piano
10 days ago

The piano has fallen on those swimmers…

The unoriginal Tim
10 days ago

Can anyone highlight who is missing out here?Any potential breakout performers or top 15-20 seeds hit by this?

They should do a time trial in their home pools at the same time as the finals and see how close they could have been. Post it on Youtube as well.

Reply to  The unoriginal Tim
9 days ago

I know some of Nunawading’s older swimmers camped up in Queensland for the lockdown and as such can swim trials but I haven’t heard about their young stars so I suggest they will be out of trials and a number of these young stars are certainly top 15 or 20. 16yo Petric is 6th ranked in 400IM as an example of who may be missing. There are some very talented swimmers that will not be at trials as a result of travel restrictions and it is such a shame for both the athletes and the sport.

Reply to  SHRKB8
9 days ago

I really wanted to see Petric at trials. 🙁

Last edited 9 days ago by Troyy
Reply to  Troyy
9 days ago

Yes, both Petric and his training partner Chee are both super exciting, talented young swimmers. I am only guessing as to their participation so I hope they have found a way to make it to Adelaide and swim, but odds are against them.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Swim analyst, businesswoman.

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