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SC season kicks off for SA and WA F-Teamers

21 July 2020

Short Course season
Swimmers in South and Western Australia are a few strokes ahead of other states when it comes to racing

All eyes will be focused on South Australia and Western Australia as they lead the way back to competitive racing with the season openers of their short course seasons set to kick off on July 25th. The first of South Australia's 'Diving Back In' meets will take place on July 25th at The South Australia Aquatic and Leisure Centre, also known as the State Aquatic Centre. Saturday's meet is the start of a revised 2020 short course competitions calendar which has been deemed by Swimming SA a reward to all of the swimmers who have abided by the social guidelines put in place by the association and its clubs. Swimming WA is hoping Saturday's 2020 Short Course Season Opener will provide athletes with a "sense of familiarity during these uncertain times."

Swim meets will look a whole lot different with ongoing Health and Government restrictions in place at both venues. Some changes include capacity limits which will apply to all Swimming SA events. Swimmers will be limited to a select number of races per session at the Diving Back In series. Only 1 parent will be allowed to attend and social distancing will apply to both swimmers, coaches and spectators at all times. Seating, pathways and movement throughout the centre will also be restricted and reconfigured. It's not an easy undertaking to hold a meet during these complicated times.

We chatted with two of our South Australian F-Teamers who can't wait to pull on their APEX race suits this weekend. James McKechnie has been one of the lucky high performance South Australian swimmers who has had access to the pool from early on in the lockdown. Marion's Tom Lightfoot is confident that he's put in enough training over the past few months to give it a good crack on Saturday.

As a high-performance swimmer in South Australia, James McKechnie has had access to pools for a few months already.

How are you feeling about getting back into racing?

James - I'm very excited. It feels like forever since the last time I raced at a competition.

Tom - Super excited! It has been too long since the buzzer has gone off. Although the break has been welcomed, I am just itching to squeeze into a suit to dive off the blocks again.

How many races are you entering?

James - I'm looking forward to racing in the 50m and 100m Breaststroke.

Tom - Going hard for the first meet, the big 5 200s are on the cards.

Is it going to hurt?

James - I think the 100m Breaststroke probably will. We were lucky to get back into the water very quickly and have had a good few training blocks since. So hopefully it won't burn too much.

Tom - No doubt, racing fit hurts enough let alone going in with decreased training. I'm sure the backend will hurt that little bit harder than what I remember but that's all part of the fun.

Tom Lightfoot
Tom Lightfoot is itching to dive off the blocks and get racing again

How are you planning on using these Diving Back In meets?

James - I have personally made a few technique changes. It will be a good chance for me to see how the changes I made during these last few months has impacted my performance.

Tom - Our squad are using the meets just as a bit of fun and working on the skills such as those small skills often missed in high stakes meets. It has been almost 6 months since our last race so it will be great to use some stored energy around the rest of the state.

You're one of the first states to get racing again. Are you comfortable with this given the current COVID-19 situation?

James - I am definitely comfortable. Swimming SA have followed all the government health recommendations so as long as all those involve follow the rules set by Swimming SA and the South Australian government it should be fine.

Tom - I think we are all ready to get out there and enjoy ourselves. We are lucky enough at the South Australian Aquatics and Leisure Centre as it is huge with lots of room to fit everyone. These meets will be a great opportunity for all South Aussies to just loosen up and blast it out. At distance of course!

What are you going to be focusing on/using these races for?

Tom - Our squad has been working hard in breathing patterns and fly kicks, so it will be a great opportunity to show off our new skills. I have a feeling that the underwater may tail off at the end of the 200 Butterfly, but it's going to be great to have a crack!

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