Tokyo is calling for two of our best open water technical officials, as they head to Japan ready to officiate the marathon swimming events at the Olympic Games.
Bill Ford and Lori Chaplin are beloved and experienced members of the Australian Open Water swimming scene, and the pair are extremely proud to be officiating at the biggest event for the sport.
“It’s really exciting, it’s the pinnacle of the sport and we see the top 25 athletes in the world contesting in one event for Olympic championships,” Ford said.
Ford is a member of the Nepean Aquatic Centre Swim Club and holds a spot on the FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee.
“I’m a member of Swimming Australia’s Technical Committee, and for this year, I’m very excited because I’m off to Tokyo for the 2020 Olympic Games; I’m the chief referee for the men’s 10km event.”
Like many TOs, Ford began his officiating journey in 1986 while looking for new opportunities when his son was competing, wanting to give back to the sport as well as obtaining hands on experience with “all facets of life”.
“My son was actually an open water swimmer, he used to swim when we were doing the 8km and 15km, he used to swim those by himself because ‘dad’ was on the water paddling the kayak refereeing the event,” he said.
“That was my gift back to the sport, to be an administrator or TO, both actually; whatever time they had in the sport, we decided that we would put that in at the other end.”
Much like Ford’s introduction into open water officiating, Lori Chaplin was influenced by her children taking part in the sport and couldn’t be more excited when she found out she would be officiating her maiden Olympic Games in marathon swimming.
Chaplin recently received her 10-year pin for national meets.
“I’m representing Australia, New Zealand and Oceania in the 2020 Olympics for the Open Water Championship,” she said.
“I started when my children were swimming, and then they leave and we stay – as usual,” she joked.
“I’m very honoured, who would think you’d get to the 2020 Olympics.”
The Open Water marathon events will take place at the Odaiba Marine Park in Japan on 4-5 August.
Kai Edwards and Kareena Lee are set to don the green and gold, representing Australia in the men’s and women’s 10km race.
Good luck, Bill and Lori!