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Australian swimming makes a splash

Mitch Larkin
Mitch Larkin, who competed at the Swimming Australia Grand Prix at the AIS earlier this year, won gold in the 100m and 200m backstroke at the World Championships.

10 Aug 2015

Australian Sports Commission (ASC) Chair John Wylie AM has praised Australia’s swimmers for their performance at the World Championships and congratulated  Swimming Australia for the sport’s outstanding  progress over the past three years.

The Dolphins showed they are well positioned  for success at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games as Australia claimed 16 medals - including seven gold - at the World Swimming Championships in Kazan, Russia. Australia finished second only to the USA on the gold medal tally.

Australia’s swimmers performed brilliantly and Wylie said Swimming Australia deserved credit for providing the supportive system for its athletes to excel on the world stage and under pressure.

Wylie said Swimming Australia had embraced governance changes after a disappointing performance at the 2012 London Olympics and an independent review of the sport.

Wylie said  Swimming Australia, which receives more than $11million in annual funding from the ASC for high-performance and participation outcomes, had worked hard to re-establish itself as one of the leaders in Australian sport.

“Swimming has always been an iconic sport in Australia with our history of high-level participation and success on the world stage,” Wylie said.

“Australia’s swimmers were phenomenal in Kazan, led by multiple gold medallists Bronte Campbell, Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin, but there was so much to like about the entire team’s performance and the broad range of medallists.

“The depth of performances was outstanding, with  three silver and six bronze medals in very close finishes as well as the seven gold medals. The relay teams combined admirably and there were five Australian records broken over the course of the event, demonstrating a lot of depth.

“I congratulate Swimming Australia, under the leadership of President John Bertrand AM, chief executive officer Mark Anderson and head coach Jarko Verhaeren, for embracing the sport’s challenges after London. They have created a substantially improved culture and supportive platform in the sport for the athletes which augurs well for Rio.”

Australia’s Paralympic swim team claimed 30 medals at the IPC World Swimming Championships in Glasgow in July, including nine gold.

Australia has also had promising results in other aquatic sports recently. Australia’s women’s water polo team is considered a medal threat at Rio after losing a tense playoff for bronze in a penalty shoot-out at this month’s world championships; Australia’s divers claimed two bronze medals at their world championships; while Australia’s synchronised swimming team secured its Olympic spot for Rio.

ASC CEO Simon Hollingsworth  said the performances were a strong indication that the strategic game plan for sport, Australia’s Winning Edge 2012-22, was having a measurable impact.

“There is less than a year to the 2016 Rio Olympics where Australia’s swimmers will be among our first athletes off the blocks,” Hollingsworth said. “These recent world-class performances can fill us with confidence that Swimming Australia and their athletes will be preparing to give their very best and lead Australia by example at Rio.”

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