Gold Coast locals and swimming fans will be treated to a star-studded preview of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018) as Swimming Australia announce the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre (GCAC) as the host venue for the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials.
Just five weeks before the Games kick off the swimmers will put on a curtain raiser like no other at the newly refurbished GCAC.
From February 28 to March 3, the Gold Coast will play host to the best swimmers from across the country as they race for the chance to represent Australia on home soil at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Olympic gold medallists Mack Horton and Kyle Chalmers will be on show with Chalmers taking on hometown hero Cameron McEvoy in the edge-of-your-seat sprint events, and Horton racing the clock in one of Australia’s favourite events, the men’s 1500m freestyle.
World record holders in the 4x100m freestyle relay; Cate and Bronte Campbell, Emma McKeon and Brittany Elmslie will be fighting for an individual spot in the women’s 100m free while in the backstroke events both Emily Seebohm and Mitch Larkin will be looking to reign supreme.
The Commonwealth Games is also one of the only international events that allows our Para and able bodied athletes to compete together, and the 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials will be no different.
Paralympic stars Daniel Fox, Ellie Cole, Brendan Hall, Madi Scott, Timothy Disken and Matt Levy, will all be on show.
Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said the GCAC was the ideal location for the Swimming trials.
“The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is a state of the art location and will no doubt be a fantastic backdrop for the athletes as they race at the biggest domestic event on the swimming calendar,” Anderson said.
“I would like to extend my thanks to GOLDOC, Tourism and Events Queensland and Commonwealth Games Australia for their support in bringing this event to the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, and the ongoing support of our principal partners Optus and Hancock Prospecting, this is a great result for swimming.”
The last night of competition will feature the announcement of the Commonwealth Games Swim Team and Anderson said the Trials were a great opportunity for those that missed out on Commonwealth Games tickets to still be a part of the action.
“We are fortunate in that Swimming tickets at the Commonwealth Games were in high demand and so to have the Swimming trials at the same venue as the Commonwealth Games, and just five weeks prior, will be a great opportunity for anyone that missed out on tickets to be a part of the experience.
“The 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials will provide our swimmers with and ideal opportunity to perform in the venue just five weeks prior to the Commonwealth Games in front of a home audience.
“It will provide spectators with a wonderful opportunity to see the Aussies race live before they take on some of the strongest swimming nations in the world and, we are pleased that our broadcast partner Channel 7 will be broadcasting this event live to sports and swimming fans right around Australia,” Anderson said.
Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation Chairman, Peter Beattie AC said the event would provide key learnings for the organisation ahead of GC2018.
“These trials will provide a great lead-in to GC2018 for both Swimming Australia and GOLDOC and will set the scene for what will be the biggest sporting event in Australia this decade,” he said.
“The event will act as a key operational trial ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, with major involvement from GOLDOC staff in the planning and operational delivery of the event.”
The 2018 Hancock Prospecting Australian Swimming Trials is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It’s Live! in Queensland major events calendar.
The Acting Minister for Education, Tourism, Major Events and the Commonwealth Games, Grace Grace said securing this event is wonderful news for Queensland and promotes the Gold Coast as a world-class sporting events destination ahead of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
“We look forward to welcoming swimming athletes from around the country, their supporters and fans to the state-of-the-art Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, and invite all to stay on and holiday on the Gold Coast,” Grace said.
Commonwealth Games Australia CEO Craig Phillips said he welcomed the opportunity for Australia’s leading swimmers to take to the water on the Gold Coast in preparation for the Commonwealth Games.
“Commonwealth Games Australia has worked closely with Swimming Australia on a program that best suits athlete preparation for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” Phillips said.
We hope that these trials, contested close to the Games and at the Games pool, will ensure our swimmers are prepared for success at the Commonwealth Games.”
The event is set to transform the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre with the hugely popular Centre Lane; food and entertainment precinct, returning for 2018 adding an exciting element to an already entertaining sporting event.
Centre Lane will be the one-stop-shop for food, drinks, entertainment, and sponsor merchandise including activations from Optus, arena, the classic COON cheese toastie truck plus many more.
Paralympic silver medallist and local Gold Coast resident Monique Murphy said she is excited to be able to race in front of a home crowd.
“A lot of my family live in Brisbane so I’m excited to have the chance to race in front of them,” Murphy said.
“I am lucky enough to call the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre my home pool! It is a fantastic facility and training and racing in the Queensland sun never fails to motivate me.
“Although I’ve only been on the Gold Coast a short time, the sense of community and support is powerful and I am looking forward to showing everyone what I’m capable of,” Murphy said.
Fellow Gold Coaster and dual Olympian James Roberts echoed Murphy’s sentiments.
“I am so excited to race trials and potentially compete at a home Commonwealth Games here on the Gold Coast,” Roberts said.
“It will be different to race in an open-air pool, but I think it will have a relaxed, Gold Coast feel and provide a great atmosphere behind the blocks.
“It will be amazing to see a full stadium cheering us on and will no doubt give everyone that little boost that can make a huge difference on the day.”
There will also be a strong community connection in the event with volunteer roles and opportunities open to locals young and old, including basket handling, volunteering, club relays, Optus Junior Dolphin carnivals and Junior Excellence clinics.
Those lucky enough to be involved in club relays will even get the chance to race in the same pool as the stars of the Commonwealth Games, just weeks before the event.