Swimming Australia Calls For ‘Level Playing Field’ At Olympic Games

Swimming Australia published a formal statement addressing the impact of the worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

As both sport and life in general around the globe are changing by the minute, head coach Jacco Verhaearen, Para head coach Brendan Burkett and Swimming Austrlaia CEO Leigh Russell offering a message of support and positivity.

Reading the between the lines, the message conveys support of the possibility of a postponed or altered Olympics, as the organization states, “We hope the IOC and IPC are considering everything they can to ensure that there is a level playing field, with athletes being able to perform in healthy conditions.”

Further, “We do understand that decisions about the Olympics and Paralympics are extremely difficult to make, and that it would be devastating to all involved if cancelling or postponing becomes the outcome. At the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic competition is the notion of fair play – a value we hold very close, and we do not want that to be compromised.

“We love to compete, but the health and safety of everyone and the notion of fair competition should always be paramount.”

The 2020 Swimming Australia National Championships originally slated for April were cancelled, while the Olympic Trials on the docket for June are still on schedule for now.

Of note, Verhaeren is leaving Swimming Australia after the 2020 Olympic Games. If these were to be postponed to, say, 2021, would Verhaeren remain at his post? We’ll keep that in mind.

Below is the full Swimming Australia statement:

As athletes, coaches and staff at Swimming Australia, we are closely following the developments and impact of the COVID-19 situation around the world and in Australia. We want to express our concern and send our support to everyone impacted and recognise the gravity of the situation we are all experiencing. We appreciate this is a large scale, evolving and complex global health crisis which transcends sport.
 
We also want to specifically reach out to our peers and colleagues in every sport around the world, and particularly those in highly affected areas, where training and competing is impossible at the moment due to lockdowns and restrictions at training facilities and pools – we know athlete preparation is being severely compromised. Friendship and solidarity are important Olympic and Paralympic values and we stand with you in this time of uncertainty.
 
We all share the dream in sport, and that is, to strive for excellence and to compete with each other. At this current time in Australia, and as long as the situation allows us to, we are still preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics to the best of our ability. But we absolutely understand that for a lot of our peers and colleagues this isn’t the reality anymore, as it may not be for us soon. As much as we hope to see you all in Tokyo in a world that is in a much better position than it is now, we do recognise the challenges that everyone is facing at the moment.
 
We hope the IOC and IPC are considering everything they can to ensure that there is a level playing field, with athletes being able to perform in healthy conditions.
 
We do understand that decisions about the Olympics and Paralympics are extremely difficult to make, and that it would be devastating to all involved if cancelling or postponing becomes the outcome. At the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic competition is the notion of fair play – a value we hold very close, and we do not want that to be compromised.
 
In our preparation we have been, and will continue to work, in close collaboration with the AOC, PA and our medical experts. To achieve our goal of being at our best, we need to keep training and working hard. However, we are mindful of the potential risks, also beyond ourselves, associated with this. We love to compete, but the health and safety of everyone and the notion of fair competition should always be paramount.

To all of our peers and the world, we wish you all the best in good health.
 
Only together we can do this.
 
Take care.
 
The Australian Dolphins swim team
Jacco Verhaeren, National Head Coach
Brendan Burkett, Para Head Coach
Leigh Russell, CEO, Swimming Australia

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Troyy

As far as I’m aware the Australian high performance squads still have access to pools that are now closed to the public so their training has been uninterrupted so far. Can anyone confirm?

skip

US spartans pool is still open to their squad and hih performance athletes- closed to the public and other students/staff

Dude

What? Say what you’re gonna say

Taa

Written by public relations people

Brad Cooper

SAL’s letter is another dose of corporate fluff from an organisation run by semi-literate careerists. Its last line – “Only together we can do this” is typical of its usual butchering of language and idiom. SAL cares even less for fair and safe competition than it does for communication. It still turns a blind eye to many practices which enable young athletes to flirt with harmful ergogenic substances via regulatory slackness. It makes no effort, for example, to vigorously dissuade swimmers from sourcing WADA Monitored drugs. It voices no objections to athletes being able to miss two WADA random drug tests with impunity – evasions which could buy time to ingest and purge a doping regimen. It has never lobbied… Read more »

Samesame

Isn’t the ASADA training online and in person quite strict and strongly worded about what they should not be taking ? Just curious. I think they have to do the training twice a year ?

About Retta Race

Retta Race

After 16 years at a Fortune 1000 financial company, long-time swimmer Retta Race decided to change lanes and pursue her sporting passion. She currently is Coach for the Northern KY Swordfish Masters, a team she started up in December 2013, while also offering private coaching. Retta is also an MBA …

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