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Facilities hosting elite swimmers to benefit from new Federal technology funding

Facilities hosting elite swimmers to benefit from new Federal technology funding
June 15, 2020

The Australian Government’s announcement of new funding for high performance athletes is to include $725,000 for Swimming Australia to equip at least one pool in each state with the latest technology, including cameras and instrumented turning plates.

Items to be installed include underwater cameras, new starting blocks and cutting-edge analysis software designed to help Australia’s swimmers optimise their performance.

The funding has been welcomed by current multiple world record holder and dual Olympic gold medal winner, Cate Campbell who yesterday told Sydney’s The Sunday Telegraph “for us to have any extra bit of technology that gives your coach eyes underwater, it’s really an advantage because you’re looking to make any gain anywhere because our sport has such small margins.”

Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre is understood to be one of the facilities in which the high-performance equipment is installed.

The performance funding announcement is in contact to Swimming Australia’s current financial state.

While the sporting has not laid off staff as a result of the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, Swimming Australia Chief Executive, Leigh Russell told the Sunday Tasmanian last week “we haven’t had to lay people off yet but like every other sport, the next financial year looks ominous so we’re making some really prudent financial choices to make sure that we can keep our team of staff together as much as possible.

“The challenge for us is we’ve got the Olympics and we don’t want to compromise our performance and to do that, we’ve got to have a number of things behind the scenes.

“It’s a delicate balancing act so we’re trying to do out modelling for the next financial year from pretty optimistic to ‘this is Armageddon.’”

In common with many sporting organisations around the world, Swimming Australia is facing difficult decisions driven by financial choices forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. And while staff have not been made redundant, they have been placed on reduced hours and pay.

While the high-performance funding of Australia’s elite swimmers has been ring-fenced on the way to the Tokyo Games other Swimming Australia programs have been put on hold, including a global recruitment search for a new national head coach after Dutchman Jacco Verhaeren announced he was returning to Europe in September.

The Federal Government’s newly announced funding includes $3.9 million for supporting technology and innovation through key sporting infrastructure, including projects for Australia’s swimmers, paddle and winter sport athletes, along with an infrastructure funding pool, managed by the Australian Institute of Sport and enabling a wide range of smaller sports to access appropriate sports technology.

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