Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Continuing The Great Australian Freestyle History

Australia has a wonderful history of great freestyle swimmers, both in the open water (Des Redford, Susie Maroney, Shelley Taylor-Smith, Melissa Cunningham) and pool (Murray Rose, Dawn Fraser, Shane Gould, Kieren Perkins, Ian Thorpe and Grant Hackett).

The expectations and the experience in maintaining this proud history is something that continues - and the Australians work at it...hard.

Australia’s promising young core of great distance freestyle swimmers are training together on the Gold Coast this week for a seven-day camp led by two of Australia's leading coaches: Denis Cotterell and Mark Regan.

19 swimmers, including several who do open water, will train 75K during 11 pool workouts in 7 days, focusing on keep Australia on top of the medal podium at the Olympics and world championships. "We’ve got the best up-and-coming young distance swimmers here," said national team coach Alan Thompson. "There is a lot of experience still to be gained and that’s why we’ve brought our best distance coaches together with our best distance swimmers."

In a similar strategy to the very successful British team, Australia is bringing together proven young stars from the pool and open water into the one program in a conscious effort to encourage swimmers to try both disciplines. Alan explains, "We've combined the distance pool events with the open water events as one program and it’s a trend we are seeing around the world with pool and open water swimmers swimming in both events. We've seen it ourselves with swimmers like Grant Hackett, Ky Hurst and Melissa Gorman (shown above) who have transitioned quite well between the two disciplines with Melissa now representing Australia in both the pool and open water at the Olympic Games and World Championships where she won gold in the 5K."

The athletes in attendance include Wally Eggleton (16 years old), Loui Friess (17), Robert Hurley (20), Rhys Mainstone (19), Ned McKendry (17), Ryan Napoleon (19), Daniel Smith (18), Eugene Tee (15), Matthew Terry (19), Jessica Ashwood (16), Danielle De Francesco (17), Blair Evans (18), Ellen Fullerton (16), Katie Goldman (16), Stacey Hansford (19), Bonnie MacDonald (13), Kelly Marquenie (17), Rachael McLean (19) and Brooke Wilson (16).

Interested coaches, fans and teammates can follow the Australian national team via Twitter here.

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