6 selected in Swimming Australia teams

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Newly appointed SUSF & NSWIS Swimming Program of Excellence coaches Grant Stoelwinder and Scott Talbot haven’t taken long in putting their stamp on Sydney University’s best swimmers, after six of their squad members were today confirmed as being named in Australia’s various swim teams.

Sydney University, who finished in sixth position overall on the club points table (first for clubs in NSW) at the Swimming Championships in Adelaide just a couple of weeks ago, have contributed six swimmers – Matt Abood, Sarah Rose, Sarah Hilt, Hayley White, Andrew Abood and Keiran Qaium – to Australia’s 2013 World Championships, Australia A and World University Games teams that will compete in the coming months in meets around the globe.  

Following on from the disappointment of failing to qualify for last year’s London Olympics, SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Matt Abood secured a seat on the flight to Barcelona (July 26 to Aug 4) for the 2013 FINA World Championships after finishing second behind James Magnussen in the 50m freestyle.

”It’s been a very interesting 12 months since this time last year, explained a relieved Abood. “I’ve done a lot of work outside the pool, planning a wedding and starting a career for life outside sport.”

Abood, who has been working a couple of days a week, said he had come to realise his narrow miss last year was just part of swimming and had assisted him in understanding there was more to his life than swimming.

”At the time, it was the end of the world as far as I was concerned but I’ve since learnt there are other things than swimming.”

Abood’s coach Grant Stoelwinder was full of praise for his 26 year old sprinter and the balance he has struck in and out of the pool. “He has been training very well, but he has a bit more balance in his life,” said Stoelwinder. “He is studying and working part-time whilst also swimming. He is well liked and respected in the Australian team and everyone was really pleased that he made the team.”

Abood has also qualified for the 4x100m freestyle relay squad that will compete in Barcelona after finishing sixth in the 100m event earlier in the meet.  

Three time Paralympian Sarah Rose has been selected to compete at the 2013 Paralympic Preparation Program Australia A team and will swim in three events at this month’sGerman Nationals (May 18-27). She will be joined by team mate Sarah Hilt, who also qualified for three events.

Sydney University will send three swimmers to Kazan in Russia to compete at the 2013 World University Games which run from July 6-17. The swimming will officially get underway on July 10 at the Aquatics Palace located on the bank of the Kazanka River, with Sydney University swimmers Hayley White, Andrew Abood (White and Abood are both SUSF EAP scholarship holders) and Keiran Qaium all successfully qualifying for the meet.

Fellow Sydney University swimmer Sam McConnell narrowly missed selection on the team after swimming a fast enough qualifying time for the 100m butterfly at the National Championships. Unfortunately for McConnell it wasn’t enough after two other swimmers swam slightly faster times than him to qualify in his place. 

23 year old backstroke specialist Hayley White was ecstatic and slightly surprised after swimming a host of personal bests in Adelaide and qualifying for the 200m backstroke event in Russia next month. “My goal was to make the team, but I obviously I had to execute the right race plan during the Championships and thankfully I did that,” explained White. “I’ve been on the new SUSF & NSWIS swimming program since Scott (Talbot) arrived in January and after playing around with a number of different race plans my times in the 200m backstroke have dropped from a 2:15 to a 2:10. All the hard work at training has paid off.”

White wasn’t the only swimmer in the team who lowered their best times as Sydney University swimmers came away from Adelaide with 62% personal best times.  Sydney University coaches Talbot and Stoelwinder were very pleased with the individual and team results achieved by all of their swimmers in Adelaide and not just those that qualified for the national teams.  

“Our goal was to be top 10 in the clubs point score and we finished sixth,” said Talbot, the programs Senior Coach and middle distance specialist. “Everyone (squad of 19) was expected to contribute and they did, which was fantastic.”

“We worked really hard on creating a team and improve the culture of the team,” explained Stoelwinder, who holds the position of Head Coach and is specifically in charge of the sprint group. “You improve performance by improving culture. Every session we had all of our swimmers cheering in the stands and supporting each other. The way the team conducted themselves was first class.”

Stoelwinder and Talbot were also rewarded for their team’s impressive results at the National Championships, after being named as coaches for the Australian World University Games team. The team will be led by Beijing and London Olympic coach Stoelwinder and depart Australia on June 29 for a staging camp in Doha before competition commences in Kazan on July 10. Talbot, a New Zealand coach at last year’s Olympics, will assist Stoelwinder as one of his team coaches.