Sydney Uni swimmers gear up for National Championships

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After nearly four months of competitive training as part of the new SUSF & NSWIS Swimming Program of Excellence, Sydney University’s swimmers will compete in the 2013 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships at the South Australian Aquatic & Leisure Centre.

19 Sydney University swimmers will line up on the blocks to compete in over 70 events across Australia’s premier seven day swimming meet that begins on Friday April 26.

Some of Sydney University’s best swimmers, including Matt Abood, Andrew Abood, Sam McConnell and Hayley White will take on 2012 London Olympic medallists Cate Campbell, Alicia Coutts, Melanie Schlanger, Brittany Elmslie, James Magnussen, Christian Sprenger, Emily Seebohm and Bronte Barratt in one of the most staked Championships in recent times.  

Also representing Sydney University will be three time Paralympian Sarah Rose, who will compete in four events, including her favoured 50m butterfly S6 event.   

The Championships act as selection trials for the FINA World Championships in Barcelona (July 26 to Aug 4) and the IPC World Championships in Montreal (Aug 12-18). Two further national squads will be selected based on the performances of Australia’s best swimmers during the week – an Australia A squad will compete at the 2013 US Open Swimming Championships in August, while Swimming Australia will also send a squad of 24 athletes to this year’s World Universiade Games in Kazan in July.

SUSF & NSWIS Swimming Program of Excellence coaches Grant Stoelwinder and Scott Talbot, both appointed to positions late last year, are confident that their team of swimmers are primed to perform at their best at the week-long meet.

“We’ve become a lot more specific with our training,” explains Stoelwinder, who holds the position of Head Coach and is specifically in charge of the sprint group. “We’ve been going through their race models and making adjustments as we go. They are now psychologically switched on and race ready.”

Part of the process involved in getting their athletes race ready is utilising time trials, which are an effective way of simulating race situations. Over the past couple of weeks Stoelwinder and Talbot have travelled with some of their swimmers to the AIS in Canberra and SOPAC in Sydney for this very purpose.   

“After the NSW State Championships (mid-March) we’ve been doing a fair bit of time trialling and the results so far have been positive.”

Another area that Stoelwinder and Talbot have identified, and worked hard on over the last few months, is team culture.

“We’ve been working on improving our team culture,” explains Talbot, the programs Senior Coach and middle distance specialist. “We’ve been bringing them in together and making sure that they understand that we are going to be looked at as a team as well as individuals. But the team is more important. If we perform well as a team then the individual results will take care of themselves.”

While both coaches are keen to point out that these Championships are just the beginning of a four year plan for Sydney University’s most talented swimmers, they have identified some key athletes who are sure to make a splash in Adelaide.

Matt Abood
“After the disappointments of missing the Olympic team last year, this is a big meet for him. He’s been training well and been under 50 seconds for the 100m freestyle three times. He should go in to this meet with a fair bit of confidence. He didn’t break 50 seconds last time leading into the London trials. He can do it.”
Individual events:
Men 50 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 2
Men 100 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 6

Andrew Abood
“Andrew actually beat James Magnusson and Matt Abood at the State Championships in March in the 50m freestyle, so he’s tracking really well and we are looking for some good results from him.”  
Individual events:
Men 50 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 7
Men 100 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 12

Sam McConnell
“Sam clocked some personal best times in our recent time trials. We are definitely impressed by the way he is travelling and we are looking for some good results.”
Individual events:
Men 50 LC Metre Butterfly – ranked 7
Men 100 LC Metre Butterfly – ranked 11
Men 100 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 42

Hayley White
“She’s young, but it’s the right time for her to make a little step up and put herself into contention to either be on a team or putting herself up amongst some really high rankings in the world. The women’s backstroke event in Australia is very strong. But if Hayley can maybe put herself on the Australian Uni Games team then we would be really happy with that.”
Individual events:
Women 100 LC Backstroke – ranked 7
Women 200 LC Metre Backstroke – ranked 8
Women 50 LC Metre Backstroke – ranked 10

TeHaumi Maxwell
“TeHaumi is a young kid, who is still in high school and completing his HSC, but he is certainly one to watch. He’s an emerging talent and still breaking into the open level. He made the 50m freestyle   short course final this year and let’s see if he can match that in this open level. If he could make a semi-final that would be a great effort.”
Individual events:
Men 50 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 10
Men 100 LC Metre Freestyle – ranked 17

Kieran Qaium
“Keiran could go well. He made the semi-finals last year. We are hoping that he could either make a semi-final again or even a final.”
Individual events:
Men 200 LC Metre Butterfly – ranked 14
Men 100 LC Metre Butterfly – ranked 29
Men 50 LC Metre Butterfly – ranked 40

Matt Kan
“He is great trainer. Matt took some time off to go back to the Philippines recently, but we are looking for some personal bests from Matt and hopefully he can do that, especially in the 50m breaststroke.”
Individual events:
Men 50 LC Metre Breaststroke – ranked 43
Men 100 LC Metre Breaststroke – ranked 69

571 swimmers will take part in the 2013 EnergyAustralia Swimming Championships which start on Friday 26 April and finish on Friday 3 May. Heats are from 10.00am local time and finals from 7.30pm.

The Championships can be viewed on ONE. The competition airs nightly from 9.30pm – 11:00pm from Friday April 26 to May 3.

Full reports from each day’s action can be found on the SUSF website.