The national short course swimming championships due to be staged in Melbourne this year 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).
Several swimming athletes from the NSW Institute of Sport are expected to compete in the event, which offers rare competition for Australian swimmers.
Swimming Australia Chief Strategist Alex Baumann acknowledged the challenges still faced across the country and felt having the event in one location wasn’t 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.
Entries will open for these events on 19 October – see swimming.org.au for more information.