On the heels of Australia’s Duel in the Pool having been cancelled due to coronavirus-related restrictions, the nation’s Short Course Swimming Championships have also now been called off.
Originally scheduled for Melbourne from September 23 – 26, the Australian Short Course Championships was set to determine the green and gold’s squad for this year’s World Short Course Championships.
Those championships are slated for December in Abu Dhabi and Australia’s participation was already in doubt due to the country’s international travel restrictions and subsequent mandatory quarantine requirements
Per Swimming Australia, World Short Course Championships eligibility criteria will now be based on those swimmers who have reached a FINA A standard (Long or Short Course) within the time period from 1 March 2019 – 28 November 2021 at an international competition or Swimming Australia FINA-approved competition (Australian Swimming Trials/Australian Swimming Championships). A maximum of 20 swimmers could fall into this category.
CEO Alex Baumann said of the Aussie Short Course Championships’ cancellation, “This is an unfortunate situation and again a decision we did not take lightly, but we needed to provide our swimming community with some certainty and with the borders being so unstable and regular lockdowns still occurring we feel this is the right decision.
Regarding no official team being sent, Baumann stated, “With limited options to return to Australia, the quarantine requirements following competition falling over the Christmas and New Year period and many of our athletes just undertaken more than 10 weeks away from home, we felt sending a team to the event was not viable.
“For those athletes that still wish to attend and meet the selection criteria, we will provide a level of support to assist in travel and accommodation for the meet.”
At the 2018 edition of the World Short Course Championships in Hangzhou, China, Australia finished 7th in the overall medal table, amassing 12 medals, including 2 gold. The golds came from Ariarne Titmus as she topped the 200m and 400m free podiums.
The 2021 edition of the SC Worlds is set to see a 50% increase in prize money for individual medalists. The announced $2.8 million USD prize pool is well above the $2.07 million up for grabs at the previous SC Worlds.