The temperature’s rising and the Australian Dolphin’s Swim Team is relishing the hot Auburn summer in Alabama in the countdown to the up-coming Rio Olympics.
Many of the squads have taken to the University of Auburn’s enticing outdoor facilities and for many of the Queenslanders it is “just like home” at The Valley in Brisbane at Miami on the Gold Coast or the University Sunshine Coast.
Shirts off fop the coaches and sunscreen on for the swimmers and support staff as the team laps up the daily 30 plus degree heat wave conditions.
For Australia’s southern groups, like Victorians, Craig Jackson’s Melbourne Vicentre squad and Rohan Taylor’s Nunawading team, the chance to get away from Melbourne’s inclement winter weather has allowed them to enjoy the American summer and an uninterrupted preparation.
Taylor and Sunshine Coast coach Chris Mooney spent two weeks together with their squads in San Diego at Cardiff “By the Sea” before moving into Auburn while Jackson took his charges –distance star Mack Horton and rising individual medley star Koti Ngawati to Townsville before coming into Auburn a week ago.
“We’ve been here two weeks, we came in a little bit earlier than the rest of the team, which think for us was a good decision. We get away from, you know, the nice chilly weather in Melbourne,” Jackson said.
Jackson said that both Horton and Ngawati were settling in well and he was over the moon to have Ngawati finally break through on to the Olympic team.
“Yeah that’s one close to my heart, it’s been a big year for her and she has done so well coping with everything and it was just a good one to get over the line. She’s had a number of struggles through the years just to stay in the water and you know, she’s been on teams and off teams, missing worlds a year ago was a tough one but she bounced back.”
As for Horton, keeping healthy and fit leading in to Rio is his main priority and Jackson was pleased with the way he and turned things around post-Kazan World Championships.
“Well you know I think he’s great in terms of learning from experiences and one of the quotes we use is, ‘I either win or a learn’. Obviously it was a bit of a disappointment not being well at worlds and it took us a good three months off the back of that to actually get him back to full health and training. Since then he’s been really good in terms of his attention to both what he is doing in and out of the water,” Jackson said.
Australia’s 37-strong swim squad will leave Auburn on Sunday to fly into Rio, arriving late in the evening.
They will have their first look at the Rio pool next Monday morning.