It’s t-minus seven days until the 2019 FINA World Junior Swimming Championships commence in Budapest, and our Australian junior team are currently acclimatising in Slovakia at the X-Bionic Sphere.
The impressive sporting and wellness hub boasts a variety of recreational activities including a two-story gym, an outdoor 50m pool and indoor 25m pool, where the team will be spending most of their time during the final stages of their preparation.
General Manager of Performance Pathways at Swimming Australia, Jamie Salter, said the venue possess everything the team needs to adapt to the foreign conditions.
“We have identified this place (X-Bionic Sphere) as a trial for 2024 Olympic campaign for the senior team because of the excellent facilities this place has – there really is everything the team needs here for their preparation for the meet.”
The team of 50 – including athletes and staff – departed their home ports on Saturday evening to meet in Dubai, and then completed the remainder of the 30-hour transit as a group.
Landing in Budapest midday on Sunday, the team had a 2.5-hour bus ride before finally arriving in Slovakia at the X-Bionic Sphere Hotel.
Taking some time to adapt to the time zone and recover from the transit, they will now begin fine tuning their racing speed before heading back to Budapest on Saturday 17August with the competition starting on Tuesday 20 August.
“I’m impressed with how the athletes managed the travel, as well as the inconvenience of spending two hours standing in line for customs yesterday,” Salter added.
“It shows the education they have learnt on National Youth Camp in Canberra (last month) has clearly resonated for them. We are on the right track with the knowledge we are providing them with.”
Melbourne Vicentre-based swimmer and team leader, Oliver Nash, said he has settled into the camp seamlessly.
“We all settled in really well, the place we are staying is super nice. The trip, it was a long one, I think longer than most of us have done before,” he said.
“The last bus ride was tough, but we all bonded together and made it to the other side and it’s the business end now. The next couple of days is all about prep, getting used to my environment.”
This is Nash’s first World Junior Championships and he will be racing in the 200m Butterfly – a challenge that excites him.
“I’m looking forward to junior worlds and racing some of the best.”
The World Junior Swimming Championships begin on Tuesday 20 August and finish on Sunday 25 August at the Danu Arena in Budapest.
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