Huegill to carry Australian flag in Dubai
Fourteen years after making his debut on a senior Australian Swim Team, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Geoff Huegill will carry the Australian flag at tonight’s opening ceremony of the 2010 FINA World Short Course Championships in Dubai.
The 31-year-old, who first represented Australia at the 1997 World Short Course Championships in Gottenburg, will continue his sensational comeback to international swimming as a senior member of the 27-strong Telstra Dolphins team competing in Dubai over the next five days.
The butterfly specialist will line up alongside breaststroke champions Leisel Jones and Brenton Rickard and short course specialists Marieke Guehrer and Felicity Galvez as the Telstra Dolphins look to compete with a record number of 830 competitors.
“It’s a great honour to represent Australia, something I certainly didn’t think I’d get the chance to do again, and to carry the flag into such an incredible venue will be something I’ll remember for a long time,” said Huegill.
At the start of the year, Huegill had penciled this meet in as his last on the international scene, but after a gold medal in Delhi in the 100m fly he has postponed any talk of a second retirement until the New Year.
“For now I just want to focus on the next five days of swimming and then enjoy a break over Christmas. There’s no rush to make a decision about my future, the plan is to swim well this week and enjoy what will be my third World Short Course Championships, then have a break as it has been a big year.”
The five-day meet will be held in arguably the best purpose built stadium in the world and will be the most competitive World Short Course Championships on record, with China’s team of 47 the largest, and New Zealand sending just one athlete, backstroker Sophia Batchelor.
Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent says the competition will be tough and that could well produce the first world records of this new era of swimming.
“The pool is pretty much smack bang in the middle of the dessert and there will be some very hot swimming here this week,” said Nugent.
“We have some experienced athletes here, and some inexperienced ones, and for those who have been here before it’s about continuing their progression as world class competitors, while for the new ones it’s about getting as much experience as they can.”
Heats for the 2010 FINA World Short Course Championships will commence at 10am local time today (5pm AST) with finals from 7.30pm (2.30am AST).
For more information go to www.dubaiswimming2010.ae
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