Australian Dolphins Swim Team and Swimming Australia
As athletes, coaches and staff at Swimming Australia, are closely following the developments and impact of the COVID-19 situation around the world and in Australia. We want to express our concern and send our support to everyone impacted and recognise the gravity of the situation we are all experiencing. We appreciate this is a large scale, evolving and complex global health crisis which transcends sport.
We also want to specifically reach out to our peers and colleagues in every sport around the world, and particularly those in highly affected areas, where training and competing is impossible at the moment due to lockdowns and restrictions at training facilities and pools – we know athlete preparation is being severely compromised. Friendship and solidarity are important Olympic and Paralympic values and we stand with you in this time of uncertainty.
We all share the dream in sport, and that is, to strive for excellence and to compete with each other. At this current time in Australia, and as long as the situation allows us to, we are still preparing for the Olympics and Paralympics to the best of our ability. But we absolutely understand that for a lot of our peers and colleagues this isn’t the reality anymore, as it may not be for us soon. As much as we hope to see you all in Tokyo in a world that is in a much better position than it is now, we do recognise the challenges that everyone is facing at the moment.
We hope the IOC and IPC are considering everything they can to ensure that there is a level playing field, with athletes being able to perform in healthy conditions.
We do understand that decisions about the Olympics and Paralympics are extremely difficult to make, and that it would be devastating to all involved if cancelling or postponing becomes the outcome. At the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic competition is the notion of fair play – a value we hold very close, and we do not want that to be compromised.
In our preparation we have been, and will continue to work, in close collaboration with the AOC, PA and our medical experts. To achieve our goal of being at our best, we need to keep training and working hard. However, we are mindful of the potential risks, also beyond ourselves, associated with this. We love to compete, but the health and safety of everyone and the notion of fair competition should always be paramount.
To all of our peers and the world, we wish you all the best in good health.
Only together we can do this.
The Australian Dolphins swim team
Jacco Verhaeren, National Head Coach
Brendan Burkett, Para Head Coach
Leigh Russell, CEO, Swimming Australia