Alabama’s Auburn University to be base for Australian swimmers prior to Rio 2016
Australian swimmers will hold their staging camps in the build-up to the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games at Auburn University, Alabama, in the United States.
Making the announcement, Swimming Australia chief executive Mark Anderson claimed a number of options had been examined and considered for the camps over the past year before a deal was struck with the Auburn University Athletic Department.
“To have these plans finalised more than two years out from the Games gives our coaches, staff and athletes a clear direction of what we are planning for Rio, and we are looking forward to working with the University over the next couple of years to ensure the camps are a success,” added Anderson.
Auburn has just a two-hour time difference from Rio and the Olympic swimmers will be based there for around three weeks before the start of the Games on August 5, while the Paralympic swimmers will spend a similar amount of time there prior to the start of the Paralympic Games on September 7.
Swimming Australia performance director Michael Scott claimed the facilities at the University are “world-class” and will be an “ideal environment to complete our preparations for the Olympics and Paralympics”.
The University boasts two 50 metre pools and a state-of-the-art gym on campus.
The link-up has no doubt been made possible due to the fact that former Australian Olympic swimmer Brett Hawke is currently the head coach of the Auburn University swimming programme.
Hawke, a two-time World Championship and Commonwealth Games silver medallist, was a former student at Auburn University from 1996 to 1999, helping it to two National Collegiate Athletic Association titles, while he also claimed nine individual titles in the pool.
“Auburn University is excited to host the Australian Swim Team as they prepare for the 2016 Rio Games,” said the 39-year-old.
“Anytime we can offer our facilities to world-class athletes and showcase our programme to others, we jump at the opportunity.
“We believe that the James E Martin Aquatics Centre is one of the top facilities in the United States and we’re excited to partner with Swimming Australia to finish up their preparations for Rio.”
Swimming Australia held its staging camp for London 2012 in Spain, but a disappointing performance saw a return of just one Olympic gold medal, while its Paralympic swimmers claimed 18 gold medals.
This article first appeared in Inside the Games and has been reproduced with permission. The original article can be viewed by clicking here.