Swimming Australia has today announced a partnership with the recently formed private business Australian Swimming League to establish and operate a new domestic swimming competition to fill the between big global events and aid the development of the country’s emerging stars.
Seemingly designed as a domestic rival to Konstantin Grigorishin’s International Swimming League, the new competition, to be known as the Australian Swimming League, is backed by a group of private investors.
Set to commence with a trial event in October, testing the market for a full competition in the last quarter of 2022, the new League will be an annual club-based competition that backers hope will provide a fuller calendar for the sport between major global events when it struggles for exposure and attention.
The League will operate under a license model where each team will be represented by a set number of swimmers, split evenly between male and female athletes including multi-class and juniors. To ensure close competition, it will feature an annual draft that delivers an equal spread of talent across the League.
It will take place over several weeks at venues across Australia involving a set amount of competition days and featuring an event program showcasing all strokes.
Announcing the new elite competition, Swimming Australia Chief Executive, Alex Baumann advised “swimming is an integral part of Australian culture and leading recreational activity, not to mention the success our Olympic and Paralympic athletes have achieved in the sport.
“For generations, Australian swimmers have been some of the best in the world and are household names both at home and abroad. Outside of major international events, it is important for Swimming Australia to create a high-profile domestic platform to showcase our current and future stars which also supports our vision of delivering greater opportunities for Australia’s leading athletes.
“We are delighted to be working with the ASL to establish an annual, made for broadcast league, that will provide high level competition for our swimmers, while entertaining a broad audience in a way which excites and inspires.”
Created in December 2019 and registered for GST since July 2020, Australian Swimming League Pty Ltd is headed by Chief Executive Stuart Coventry who joined the business in June this year.
It will run the competition with the support of Swimming Australia.
Coventry explained “it will be an exciting format that delivers a fast-paced event program that pits individuals and teams against one another in an elite competition with plenty of action in and out of the water.
“This competition will capture the imagination of a diverse audience through our fast-paced, action-packed, highly entertaining and family focused product. We look forward to sharing more details about the league over the coming months ahead of the inaugural series commencing in summer 2022.”
Beyond October’s test event, the League is understood to be still working on a broadcast deal.
With both world swimming governing body FINA and Swimming Australia having initially tried to block swimmers competing in the International Swimming League prior to its launch in 2019, the new competition will see Swimming Australia maintain a significantly higher level of control over events.
Unlike the international equivalent, the Australian version will also include multi-class and junior swimmers, which Swimming Australia National Head Coach, Rohan Taylor says will fast track the development of emerging stars, adding “from a coaching perspective, an annual professional league will offer regular elite competition to drive performance outcomes and provide a vital opportunity for Australia’s best emerging talent to compete against our finest swimmers.
“With prize money on the line as part of this new professional league, I anticipate every round will be hotly contested.”
Images: Courtesy of Zoggs (top) and venues such as the SA Aquatic and Leisure Centre are likely to want to host the Australian Swimming League (below).
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