As the countdown to the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games continues, the Australian swim team arrived in Cairns this week, eager to begin its pre-departure camp before flying to Japan.
The 34-strong team consisting of 15 female and 19 male athletes, along with team coaches and officials, will spend the next two weeks at the Tobruk Memorial Pool in their final training push before they take to the blocks in the sport’s pinnacle event.
Broken up into mini squads for the duration of the camp, the swimmers will focus on fine tuning their skills, processes, race plans and capturing positive momentum.
Set to make his second appearance at the Paralympic Games, Marion athlete Jesse Aungles – who will compete in the 100m backstroke (S8), 100m butterfly (S8) and the 200m IM (SM8) – said he couldn’t wait to start training in Cairns and reunite with his teammates.
“This camp provides us with such a valuable opportunity to train as a group and really push ourselves to improve our techniques and times heading into Tokyo,” Aungles said.
“The extra motivation and boost you get from training alongside your teammates really makes you work as hard as you can, and of course, there’s always that ingrained mentality to beat the lane next to you.”
Para Head Coach Brendan Burkett said he was excited to be back in Cairns as the team focusses on competing on the world’s biggest stage.
“We absolutely love travelling to Cairns – the community always embraces us, and we can feel their support. The facilities at the Tobruk Pool are also fantastic, and the environment has become very familiar over the years,” Burkett said.
“The lead up to this Games has been like nothing we’ve experienced before, so to have this camp and just a hint of familiarity in our preparation before we depart will be extremely valuable.
“During our time here the athletes will maximise this last training push so when they stand on the blocks, they know they’ve done everything they can to get the best performance out of themselves.
“This Games has been a long time coming and I’m proud of all the athletes and coaches who have persevered, adapted and shown resilience this past year. We know how lucky we are that we’re here now, ready to go, on the cusp of heading to Tokyo to represent our country.”
To keep up to date on all the latest information on the Australian Paralympic swim team, following Swimming Australia’s social media accounts, as well as Paralympics Australia.