Due to the effects of COVID 19 and the restrictions currently in place in Victoria, the Hancock Prospecting Australian Short Course Swimming Championships will not be staged in its current format in Melbourne and will instead be replaced by a virtual Hancock Prospecting Australian Short Course event where athletes will compete over the weekend of 27-29 November.
Held as close to simultaneously as possible, the virtual competition – swum as four sessions of timed finals – will take place in Brisbane (Chandler), Sydney (Warringah Aquatic Centre), Hobart (Hobart Aquatic Centre), Perth (Venues West) and Melbourne (MSAC subject to COVID restrictions).
Based on the Victorian Government roadmap, it is likely the Melbourne event will be delivered for open national qualifiers only and may operate in a staged environment to safely manage numbers due to the restrictions on the number of people allowed in a venue. Swimming Australia will work closely with Swimming Victoria to manage the event as government information continues to be updated in the coming weeks.
In working with SwimmingSA, it was determined that as there are currently very limited travel restrictions for residents of South Australia, qualified athletes are able to travel to another state to compete. Should this change, an event will be staged in Adelaide.
Swimming Australia Chief Strategist Alex Baumann said the decision to not award Australian championship titles in 2020 was the correct call.
“Given the challenges Victoria is currently facing regarding pools re-opening and restrictions on event gatherings we don’t feel it is fair to hold an Australian Championships when not all athletes may be able to compete,” he said.
“It has been incredibly tough for all Victorians, in particular club swimmers in Melbourne, but we are hopeful we may be able to hold some racing for a select group of athletes during the virtual competition, though this of course will be subject COVID restrictions and guidelines.”
Baumann also acknowledged the challenges still faced with many state borders still closed and did not feel moving the event to one location was a viable option.
“We understand many states are still restricted by border closures which will prevent travel to a single event, but we felt strongly about providing meaningful racing opportunities for our athletes in this calendar year and have worked closely with our State and Territory associations to produce these events in different cities,” he said.
“2020 has been a year like no other so it is fantastic to be able to pull together as a swimming community to deliver some high-quality racing in a virtual setting for our swimmers.”
At the end of each session, results will be sent to a centralised platform which will then rank the swimmers competing across the country with final national results to be communicated via Swimming Australia’s digital channels.
Swimming Australia has worked with the State Member Organisations to ensure the qualifying times are fair to allow swimmers an opportunity to compete in their home city.
For more information on the program of events, or qualifying times in each state visit – swimming.org.au
Entries will open for these events on 19 October – see swimming.org.au for more information.