The Dolphins have hit the water for their first main training session at the Manchester Aquatics Centre in preparation for the World Para Swimming Championships, which begins in London on Monday 9 September.
The team arrived in the United Kingdom on Saturday afternoon and will use the week-long staging camp to acclimatise to the conditions, fine tune race plans and work out relay combinations.
Para Head Coach Brendan Burkett said he was pleased with how the athletes handled the extensive travel and their attitude to maximise this opportunity.
“The first session was really good, obviously the travel knocks people around and the key thing is to get in the water and get your body adjusted to the new time zone, and they did that really well today,” he said post training.
“The mood last night was comfortable but tired, which is to be expected when you’ve been travelling for 24 hours, but this morning you could notice higher body position in the water and a bit more skilful technique as they were moving along, so you can see they’ve already started to recover since yesterday.”
One of those athletes is 19-year-old Liam Schluter who hails from Kawana Waters Swim Club in Queensland. After representing Australia at the 2016 Rio Paralympics and 2018 Commonwealth Games and Para Pan Pacs, this marks his first World Para Championships campaign.
“This morning’s session was good, it’s a bit chillier than back home but it was very nice and good to train as a whole team again,” he said.
“I’m training under Harley Connolly on team with Brenden Hall, Lakiesha Patterson and Monique Murphy.
“I’ve had Harley as a team coach since the 2016 Paralympic Games and he’s a great coach and knows what to do to get us to where we need to be,” he added.
The Para Pan Pacs gold medallist will be competing in five S14 classification events at the world para champs, including the 200m freestyle, 200m individual medley, 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke and a potential swim in the 4x100m relay.
Relay work and the makeup of combinations will be a focus during the camp, as Burkett explains how the week will unfold in Manchester.
“Within the camp we’ll run two to three different components in that,” he said.
“The first phase is what we’re in now, which is getting your body and mind into this new time zone, not worrying to much about fitness and speed, then we’ll start to sharpen up our skills and then we’ll work on a bit more race preparation and relay components, so that will be the back end of the staging camp.
“Then when all those things are complete, it gears you up perfectly for the world championships in London.”
The 34-strong Dolphins team will compete at the World Para Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre, which runs between 9-15 September.
The Dolphins first training session also fell on Father's Day, check out below some classic snaps of our Dolphins and their dads.