Members of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team training in Cairns will soon swap the pool for the coral covered ocean as they explore the outer Reef on a Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef expedition on Saturday July 21.
Led by Olympic gold-medallist Mack Horton, the group will include members of the 33-strong team selected for the upcoming Pan Pacific Championships in Tokyo who will all be at a pre-event staging camp in Cairns.
The expedition is part of a Reef-wide effort to raise awareness of the health of the Great Barrier Reef and the ways it is being impacted by issues like climate change and plastic pollution.
The idea for the expedition to the outer Reef was conceived following a conversation between GQ Australia Editor Michael Christensen, Mack Horton and Citizens CEO Andy Ridley at the inaugural GQ Gentlemen's Ball in Melbourne earlier this year.
Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is a Cairns-based non-profit spearheaded by Earth Hour founder Andy Ridley. Launched in 2017, Citizens is building a global movement to engage the world in the future of the Reef. By becoming a citizen you can connect with people and projects happening on the Reef, and take real action for the Reef from wherever you are in the world.
Citizens recently launched a campaign to eliminate single-use plastics along the entire Great Barrier Reef.
“The Great Barrier Reef is the barometer for the health of the planet, and plastic waste has become a symbol of our wasteful society,” Andy Ridley said. “To tackle climate change, the greatest threat to the Reef, we must change the way we do things.”
The world of sport is not immune to the problem of plastic pollution, from the mountains of stadium and arena waste, to the increasing presence of marine pollution in the waterways athletes compete in.
Just last month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced plans to eradicate single-use plastics from the organisation and its events around the world as part of the UN Environment Clean Seas campaign.
The Dolphins hope to highlight this issue during their visit to the Reef.
Swimming Australia CEO Leigh Russell welcomed the opportunity for the Australian Dolphins Swim Team to be involved.
“I know our Dolphins are excited to be part of this Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef expedition and we look forward to the team being able to play its part in increasing awareness all over the world of the everyday products and actions that can spoil one of the great wonders of the world.
“As a sport that revolves around water, the conservation and protection of our oceans and their assets like the Reef and marine life is a cause close to our hearts,” Russell said.
“We’re so excited to bring the Dolphins to the Reef.” Andy Ridley said. “We hope they will be inspired by its beauty and share our message of hope and positive action with their supporters.”
With thanks to Swimming Australia, Ocean Freedom, Cairns Regional Council and Tourism & Events Queensland who are supporting this event.