Tommaso D’Orsogna: The Case For Short Course Worlds

Olympian Tommaso D’Orsogna of Australia may be laying low on the international swimming scene as of late, keeping to domestic meets such as this year’s Western Australia States in January. But the 27-year-old very much has his pulse on the world of swimming.

Over the course of his career, D’Orsogna was a part of every national team from the 2009 World Championships until 2016 when he narrowly missed selection for that year’s Olympic Games in Rio. The fly and freestyle sprinter wound up representing Australia across 4 World Championships, 4 Short Course World Championships, 2 Pan Pacific Championships, 2 Commonwealth Games, as well as the 2012 Olympics where he earned bronze as a member of the men’s 4x100m medley relay.

The 27-year-old, now in his 2nd year of medical school at Notre Dam University in Fremantle, keeps a blog on the official Swimming WA website, with his latest post carrying the title, ‘Short Course, Short Changed.’ Within it, D’Orsogna makes his case for why Short Course World Championships, a competition skipped by some of the world’s best swimmers, should still be thought of in high esteem.

“Swimming Australia doesn’t tend to put much emphasis on short course, let alone the World Short Course Championships, so high-profile Australian and even international swimmers tend to give these championships a miss,” says D’Orsogna. “But with high-level international racing so sparse here in Australia, is that really the best decision?”

Powerhouse Australia, who brought 31 swimmers to the 2017 Long Course World Championships, is bringing its characteristically smaller 20-person roster to Hangzhou for next week’s SC Worlds. Although Olympians Cameron McEvoy and Emily Seebohm are among those competing, notables such as Kyle Chalmers, Jack McLoughlin, Lani Pallister, Elijah Winnington, Matthew Willson, Emma McKeon, Laura Taylor, Cate Campbell, Maddie Groves and Bronte Campbell made themselves unavailable for selection.

But more than the fact Aussies would be up against top talent from around the world such as South Africa’s Chad Le Clos, Netherlands’ Ranomi Kromowidjojo, along with the American squad, the fact that the championships offer just another opportunity to race period, outside their island nation, is value in itself.

“Australian swimmers often only get one major international swimming competition a year, making the opportunity to compete at another major international competition even more valuable. We spend so much time training to improve ourselves in competition that we often overlook the importance of actually competing. Short course racing rewards those that have worked hard on perfecting core skills such as starts, turns and dolphin kicking. It provides an opportunity to perfect these skills beyond what is normally possible in long course racing. It’s no surprise the USA excel in all these areas given their heavy reliance on short course yards racing, an even shorter course.”

American Record holders Caeleb Dressel and Kelsi Worrell hold national standards across both yards and meters formats and will be competing in Hangzhou.

D’Orsogna also makes a solid point that the experience earned outside the pool, including travel, managing one’s thoughts and emotions, and taking care of one’s body during a competition, are also ‘essential skills that are only perfect with practice.’

You can read the aspiring doctor’s blog post in its entirety here,  as the veteran concludes, “for all the swimmers out there, turn it up and give short course a fair go. You never know how things might turnout for you.”

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mike in dallas
1 year ago

The good doctor-to-be has absolutely hit the proverbial nail on the head!
Esp. in OZ, the need for more international competition has been painfully apparent in the last 3 Olympic cycles.

Reply to  mike in dallas
1 year ago

But Cate Campbell told me the USA was put on notice now

mike in dallas
Reply to  Pvdh
1 year ago

Ms. Campbell is, indeed, a formidable swimmer, with the WR’s to prove it.
However, Rio 2016 was not kind to her, either in the 100 m free or the 50 m free; relays were lovely!
Yes, Tokyo is a possibly redemptive year for her — but, as we say in Texas “Y’all stay tuned!”

Reply to  mike in dallas
1 year ago

Exactly right, we Aussies produces some great swimmers, but we do not produce the depth that the Americans do. We need more international competition, not less. I visit this website & see the Americans are always racing LC, SC, metres, yards.
This has shown out especially in the last 3 Olympics, Americans are much better racers then the Aussies.

Reply to  Robbos
1 year ago

we can wish that Australia swimming really makes those necessary changes .

Scott Morgan
1 year ago

I wish we could see Ms. Ledecky take on some sc WRS!!

1 year ago

I don’t see why Kyle Chalmers made himself unavailable for the championships .. too busy enjoying life I suppose ..

Old Man Chalmers
Reply to  Verram
1 year ago

He said he was targeting energy for swim, which was cancelled.

Reply to  Old Man Chalmers
1 year ago

He should have rejoined the team .. at least the relay would have been more competitive with him and McEvoy in it .. would have been good practise racing for next year especially since his skills need further honing

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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