Australian Dolphins | 19 December 2022


The Australian Dolphins have capped off a massive international year of racing with their most successful FINA Short Course Championships ever in front of a home crowd of over 20,000 at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

The team took home a record 13 Gold Medals on their way to a 25-medal haul that also included 7 Silver and 5 Bronze medals.

Following six days of competition highlighted by 14 World Records, the event concluded with one of the most exciting moments in history with Australia and the USA tying for the World Record in the Men’s 4x100m Medley Relay at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.

More than 560 athletes from 160 countries across six continents competed in 48 events – including the debuts of the Women’s 1500m Freestyle and the Men’s 800m Freestyle – for an overall prize purse of US $2.54 million.

It was also a chance for over 20,000 Aussies to cheer on their record-breaking Dolphins after a huge 18 months that has included the Tokyo Olympic Games, Budapest FINA World Championships, World Para Championships and Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

Millions of Australians also tuned in to Channel Nine’s coverage, with a reach of 3.8million people. The coverage proved very popular with the younger demographic with over 1.16million 25-54 year olds and nearly 450,000 16-39 year olds watching. The broadcast performed competitively over the 6 days and nights, often winning its timeslot against tough competition.

Brent Williams, Nine’s Director of Sport said “Nine has a proud and rich history with swimming and we were thrilled to reunite the partnership with the recent World Swimming Championships in Melbourne. Congratulations to everyone involved in such an incredible event, especially the Australian Dolphins who provided so many unforgettable moments and great memories for viewers all across the country.”

The Broadcast was also streamed to over 150 countries and territories with over 36 hours of live free to air action. This brought unparalled exposure to Swimming in Australia.

Eugénie Buckley, CEO Swimming Australia said “The success of this event comes off the back of a significant year for the sport that included the return of Duel in the Pool against the USA, the launch of a modernised brand and state of the art website to engage the swimming community, the launch of the inaugural Hall of Fame to celebrate our Dolphin alumni, and a strong increase in female national representation in coaching.

These initiatives have been key to ensuring the sport is well placed after the launch of the strategic plan late last year, ‘Swimming 2032: A Decade of Opportunity’, and sets the sport up to consolidate on the achievements of 2022.  The increase in profile and a strong events calendar will underpin a broader plan to generate interest in all areas of the sport across participation, sponsorship and fandom.”

Visit Victoria CEO Brendan McClements said “Hosting the World Short Course Championships in Melbourne has given us a great opportunity to welcome the Dolphins and swimmers from around the world for the first FINA event in Australia in 15 years.

“The event has brought thousands of participants, support crew and visitors to Melbourne while also showcasing our city to viewers around the country and around the world.”

With the FINA World Championships now wrapped up, Australian athletes have been able to reflect on some of the iconic moments, including Lani Pallister pulling her godmother and swimming icon Dawn Fraser onto the podium, with the duo then singing the Australian national anthem together.

“I pulled Dawn onto the podium with me for the last medal ceremony. I don’t know if she was planning to do that Medal Ceremony the whole time, but I was so surprised when I burst out of the little box and saw Dawn,” Pallister recalled. “To have my family in the crowd and to be able to turn around and look at them after I swim, not for approval, but to say, ‘Look what we’ve done as one big family’ was so beautiful.”

Added Pallister: “I am incredibly grateful to Swimming Australia and World Aquatics for taking this on and putting this event in Melbourne so us Australian athletes can have an international meet here and swim in front of a home crowd.”

World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam opened the final night of action from the pool by thanking the athletes, organisers and supporters that packed the stands in Melbourne.

“First, I must thank the athletes. Some of your performances here will never be forgotten,” President Al-Musallam said. “You have set new standards. Melbourne 2022 will be talked about for many years to come.

“I also want to give a very big thank you to the organisers. You have provided an excellent venue, where the athletes have been able to perform at such high standards, and the large crowds have enjoyed watching them,” President Al-Musallam added. “You agreed to host these World Championships at very short notice, and you have delivered a superb event.”

Swimming Australia President Michelle Gallen noted the lasting impact of Australia’s event hosting.

“I would like to thank the organising committee, led by Brenton Rickard, for all their hard work in delivering this event.  I would also like to thank Swimming Australia CEO, Eugénie Buckley, and her whole team for the incredible effort to bring a World Swimming Championship back to Australia and provide this opportunity for our swimmers to perform so well on home soil.”

Leading the local organising duties was Melbourne native Brenton Rickard, a world champion and Olympic medalist in swimming.

“The results across the board have been amazing, from unearthing new talent like Jordan Crooks from the Cayman Islands, to smashing World Records, the event has delivered in and outside the pool,” said Rickard.

“Events simply wouldn’t be possible without the support of major partners like Visit Victoria as well as a huge volunteer workforce,” Rickard noted. “With more than 300 volunteers on hand over six days, we were able to support the 160 nations in attendance.

“We have laid a great framework for the international events that Australia will host over the next decade, including the Victoria 2026 Commonwealth Games.”