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Brains & Brawn: Aussie F-Teamers set to race at World Uni...

13 May 2019

Jacob Hansford
Olympian Jacob Hansford is looking to use World Uni Games as good prep for Tokyo 2020.

Italy, the home of pizza, pasta and soon the 30th Summer Universiade (World Uni Games for the uninitiated). With Tokyo 2020 around the corner this will be a key meet for those vying for Olympic team spots with the added perk of being a massive multi-sport event, much like the Olympics themselves.

We talked to our two Aussie F-Teamers, Sophie Caldwell (Deakin University) and Jacob Hansford (Australian College of Physical Education), who are heading to the event about the tough choice they had to make between vying for a spot on the World Uni Games team or the tougher task of a spot on the World Champs team.

Sophie Caldwell
Deakin Uni's Sophie Caldwell is preparing to smash it at World Uni Games this July.

1. Was it hard to choose between trialling for World Uni Games or for World Champs?

Jacob: Yes, for a lot of athletes it would have been difficult to choose, especially if they had a shot at making this year's World Champs. If you miss out on World Champs then you can't get international race experience this year unless you do the World Cup series, which often interrupts training. It's extremely important to get that international racing experience in ahead of the Olympic Games. World Uni Games is a great event, very similar set up to the Olympics, so it will be great to have that on the books ready for next year.

Sophie: At the start of the season my coach and I decided World Uni Games would be the best meet for me to trial for as if I qualified, I would have multiple swims and therefore more racing experience. Racing experience is definitely my focus at the moment, so it was the best thing for me in the long term.

2. What does training between now and July look like for you? Anything in particular you will be doing to help prepare?

J: I'm going on a training camp in Singapore with my club, St Peters Western, to help prepare. The camp is for anyone who qualified for World Uni Games or Junior Worlds as well as those hoping to make World Champs. It will be a bump up on training and the change in facilities makes it more exciting to go to training.

S: We went straight back to training after nationals and back into hard work in the pool and gym. There are 4 other swimmers in my squad that have made the team which makes training for the meet much better. I'll still be going to World Champs Trials in June, just to get some more racing under my belt and again more experience racing the best girls in the country.

3. What does competing at World Uni Games mean to you?

J: It's a great trampoline into next year. World Uni Games will help me prepare for the Olympic Trials as it did in 2015. It is also a really competitive event and I'll be able to get in and do a lot more races than I would usually do at an international event.

S: Competing at World Uni Games means so much to me. This will be my second time representing Australia and it's such an honour to be able to do that. I'm very blessed for the opportunity. World Uni Games is a multi-sport competition which reflects the Olympic Games so it'll be exciting to experience that as well.

4. What are you most looking forward to about the event?

J: I'm looking forward to racing. We have a great team going to Naples with a lot of depth and talent. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the Aussies can do at World Uni Games this year, and it's in Italy! Can't get much better than that.

S: Definitely the swimming competition! Apart from that, I love meeting new people and watching other sports. I'm really looking forward to meeting the other Australians on the team. Hopefully I'll get to meet some F-Teamers over there which would be pretty cool!

With 10 F-Teamers currently set to head to World Uni Games it's turning out to be a very funky event! We can't wait to see how well all of the F-Teamers do racing on the world stage in July.

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