World Aquatics and Bond University announced a partnership Thursday that will see swimmers from developing countries train out of the Australian hub for the Paris Olympics and beyond.
Bond, located on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, will be the home of a new World Aquatics Development Centre, where athletes from various developing nations can train in a program that has produced Olympic gold medalists and world champions.
Swimmers from the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Cook Islands, etc.) will be the primary pool of athletes headed to the center, where they’ll have the opportunity train under head coach Chris Mooney, who took over the program in the summer of 2021.
Mooney said he’ll initially be training athletes for the Paris Games next year before looking into the future and eventually, Brisbane 2032.
“Beyond (Paris) we’ll be working towards World Aquatics Championships, Los Angeles 2028 and ultimately the Brisbane Games,” he said.
“Having the Olympics in their backyard in 2032 is going to be huge for all Pacific nations and the Development Centre will ensure they can make the most of a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
World Aquatics will nominate athletes for the swimming scholarships in consultation with their national federations.
“The raw talent is undoubtedly out there but if you don’t have access to an Olympic-size swimming pool, never mind the coaching expertise, it’s incredibly difficult to reach the elite level,” said Bond University Director of Swimming Kyle Samuelson.
“This partnership between Bond and World Aquatics will prepare swimmers to compete at the highest level and perhaps one day stand on the dais at a World Championships or Olympics.”
World Aquatics now has established Development Centres in five continents, with three in Europe, two in North America, one in Asia and one in Africa to go along with this new addition in Oceania.
It’s worth noting that World Aquatics doesn’t include either the Kazan or Dakar centers in its release on Thursday.
World Aquatics Development Centres
- Thanyapura, Thailand
- Dakar, Senegal
- Kazan, Russia
- Budapest, Hungary
- Antibes, France
- Toronto, Canada
- Davie, Florida (USA)
- Gold Coast, Queensland (AUS)
The center currently is home to the likes of 2023 World Championship medalists Flynn Southam and Alex Graham, along with Tokyo Olympic finalist Maddy Gough. Elijah Winnington, a former Bond student who now trains out of St. Peters Western, joins Southam, Graham and Gough as one of the swimmers currently receiving Hancock Prospecting Swimming Excellence Scholarships through the school.
Bond University currently has 50-meter and 25-meter pools, along with an altitude and heat training chamber, hot and cold recovery plunge pools. There’s also a 25-meter indoor pool at the Bond Insitute of Health & Sport, which is set to open a $45 million expansion later this year.