Queensland swimmers unite for Tokyo Olympic push

Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Innovation and Minister for Sport The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) swimmers are making a splash on the Gold Coast at Swimming Australia National Event Camps until Saturday to fine-tune training for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics.

Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe this week met with QAS sports science and medical experts in-camp with elite athletes at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre including 49 Queensland swimmers.

“Closing in on the final laps of a 10-day camp, this is the first time since 2019 members of the Australian Dolphins Olympic squad have been able to unite and train as a team ahead of the Tokyo Olympics,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“It’s because of the hard work of Queenslanders against the global pandemic that the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is providing a world-class, COVID-safe venue for training our best Olympic medal hopes.

“Queenslanders are always a force to be reckoned with in the pool at the Olympics and Paralympics and to watch them in action today has been truly inspiring.

“The competition will be tough, but Queensland’s elite and their coaches are shaping up to deliver the goods at Tokyo in July.

“As key GC2018 Commonwealth Games legacy infrastructure, it’s fantastic to see the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre playing a critical role in preparing our elite swimmers for the ultimate Olympic gold prize.

“Training Australia’s Tokyo Olympic medal prospects supports local jobs and the Gold Coast’s COVID-19 economic recovery.”

QAS Chief Executive Chelsea Warr said hundreds of elite athletes across a wide range of Olympic and Paralympic sports are in full training for Tokyo 2021, confident the Games will go ahead despite the pandemic.

“The Swimming Australia National Event Camp is one of many pre-Olympic and Paralympic warm-up camps unfolding right across Queensland, placing us centre stage in the lead up to Tokyo,” said Ms Warr.

“These camps also ensure our athletes, coaches and QAS expert service providers are best prepared for what will be a highly unusual Games, but one that will draw the eyes of the world to the power of sport to overcome adversity given the challenges of COVID‑19.

“Queenslanders taking part in the camp include Emma McKeon, Jack McLoughlin, Taylor McKeown, Jake Packard, David Morgan, Mitch Larkin, James Roberts and rising distance star Lani Pallister.

“This camp is a chance for the whole team, including our QAS expert practitioners to fine-tune the swimmers’ final preparations and ensure no stone is left unturned in their ambitions to deliver medal-winning performances that inspire the state and importantly the next generation of champions.”

Queensland coaches attending the camp include Vince Raleigh (Brisbane Aquatic Centre High Performance Coach), Glenn Baker (Southport) and Michael Bohl (Griffith University).

National Head Coach Rohan Taylor said the camp plays an important role in reconnecting the entire team, while also creating an environment conducive to success.

“These National Event Camps are the first opportunity in more than a year for our elite athletes, leading coaches and world-class performance support personnel to come together as a team,” Mr Taylor said.

“With the challenges we had to overcome in 2020 and the months of separation between all of us, we decided to change the format this year and have all the camps in one location so we could reconnect, which is crucial leading into the Olympics.

“Bringing together the best of the best – including some of the country’s top sport scientists, including our QAS service providers– will enable us to create a high intensity training environment that will ultimately lift performance and unlock that one percent which will be vital for success in Tokyo.”

Nine different high-intensity camps have been held at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Bond University and Palm Beach Aquatic Centre including freestyle, the National Relay Project and form stroke.

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