Future swimming stars have descended on the capital as Swimming Australia looks to discover the next Ian Thorpe or Libby Trickett ahead of the world junior championships in August.
Twenty-two athletes have travelled from all over the country to spend the week learning from Olympic athletes experiencing the best sports technology the AIS has to offer as part of the NextGEN Australian Commonwealth Games camp.
Olympic bronze medallist Matt Abood will be on hand to mentor the group as they are exposed the rising stars to the most innovative technology at the AIS, including 3D motion capture technology and underwater cameras.
Even the national swimming team hasn’t used some of the technology before but Swimming Australia’s high performance pathway manager Jamie Salter isn’t heaping pressure on the next generation.
“We don’t put any expectation on medal targets,” Salter said.
“We are also looking at 3D motion capture whilst we do get all the video footage it just provides us with deeper analysis of whats going on in the stroke.”
Ranging from 13 to 18 years old, the aspiring athletes were selected to be part of the week-long trip following their performances at the Australian age championships in April.
The pathway system has enjoyed plenty of success over the past four years, with over 80 medals won from youth teams – over 40 percent of those being gold – at major events.
The success didn’t stop at a youth level however, with 30 swimmers from the squad moving on to represent Australia in major international teams including Rio gold medallist Kyle Chalmers.
The young group hasn’t been exposed to the high tech world of modern sports before and Salter says the experience will enable them to become better in the pool.
“They haven’t been exposed to too much of this sports phsycology and nutrition before,” Salter said.
“It’s just giving them an awareness on how phycology and additional support can help them and how they can build on it.”
Despite having world class technology at their disposal, the program isn’t aiming to improve times – it aims to build the devolving athlete’s resilience.
“It’s not that they are swimming fast, it’s the manner that they are swimming,” Salter said.
“It’s the resilience that they show and their ability to put in a performance when it counts.”
With the world at their feet and Australia’s best resources in front of them, Australian swimming is at an exciting cross roads.
With the young group still bonding a growing as a team, it is still a long road until Tokyo 2020 but the future looks bright for Australian swimming.
“That’s the bit that excites me the most, it’s the passion that they bring to the pool every day even though we are still eight weeks away from the junior world championship,” Salter said.
“For me its a very very exciting journey we are starting on.”