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.”