The 2023 Australian Swimming Championships delivered one of its biggest events on record at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, with more than 3,200 swimmers taking part across the 13 days of Age and Open competition.
Surpassing pre-pandemic participation levels, the 2023 Australian Swimming Championships had the greatest number of competitors since 2018, with participants aged from 12 years old through to elite Olympic and Paralympic swimmers taking part.
More than 35,000 spectators across 13 days turned out to see both the Australian Dolphins and next generation of stars battle across some 1,800 races.
Swimming Australia President, Dr Michelle Gallen, said the 2023 Australian Swimming Championships was a great way to cap off a summer of competition.
“The Australian Swimming Championships is our opportunity to bring our swimming community together from right across the country and this year we were pleased to see an increase of more than 1,000 swimmers from last year take part,” said Dr Gallen.
“Across 13 days of competition, our two marquee events saw more than 3,200 athletes take part, offering our junior competitors the opportunity to compete in the same environment and in some cases alongside, our Olympic, Paralympic and Commonwealth Games athletes.
“Thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland and Major Events Gold Coast, we were able to deliver the 2023 Australian Swimming Championships at a world class facility that provided our 35,000+ spectators the opportunity to see the best swimmers in action.
“This year we also welcomed our new broadcast partner Nine, who streamed almost
150 hours of both the Age and Opens competition live & free on 9Now with more than 14 million minutes viewed on the streaming platform.
“For some competitors it was more than just the Australian title that was on the line, with Australian team selection for the 2023 Para World Swimming Championships and 2023 World Junior Championships teams also named. In the coming days, Swimming Australia selectors will name our Commonwealth Games Youth Team.
“A special thanks to the technical officials, the staff of the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre and our event volunteers, whom without, we couldn’t deliver such an incredible event,” she said.
The thrilling performances in the pool gave fans much to get excited about, including incredible world record breaking results from dual Paralympian Tim Hodge.
In the 200m individual medley multi-class, Hodge broke his own world record not once, but twice in the same day. Hodge won four gold medals at the Australian Championships and booked his spot on the Australian Dolphins team for the World Championships later this year where he’ll compete in five individual and potentially two relay teams.
Teenage sensations Flynn Southam (17yo) and Olivia Wunsch (16yo) were two of the stand out competitors from the Age Championships, signaling their names as one’s to watch in the future.
Bond’s Southam backed up his impressive performance from the 2022 Australian Age Championships with a number of standout results, including producing an anchor relay split of 22.26 with a comparable legal time of 22.40 to win the 17 years 50m freestyle – just 0.25 outside Olympic champion Kyle Chalmers 2015 Australian Age record time of 22.15.
Hailing from Sydney’s Carlile Club, Wunsch was equally as impressive winning the 16 years 50m freestyle in 24.85 – just 0.17 outside triple Olympic gold medallist Cate Campbell’s 2009 Australian All-Comers mark of 24.68 – her first time under 25 seconds.
Australia’s elite swimmers will now turn their attention to the World Championships Trials in Melbourne, where they will battle it out for an elusive position on the Australian Dolphins team.