US coup for Perth swim series
Top team to race
In a major coup for organisers, the all-conquering US swim team has agreed to compete in this summer’s BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series.
As a precursor to next year’s world swimming championships in Russia, the US will compete in the Perth event against teams from Australia, Japan and China.
With China's participation recently being announced, it will mean the two strongest swimming nations from the 2012 London Olympics and last year’s Barcelona world championships will be racing for cash prizes at HBF Stadium in Mt Claremont on January 30 and February 1.
It also means the 2015 Aquatic Super Series should be the most significant and competitive swim meet in Perth since the world championships were held in the same pool in 1998.
Though the US team has not yet been announced, it is expected to be packed with Olympic gold medallists and world record holders.
It could include 11-time Olympic medallist Ryan Lochte, four-time Olympic gold medallist Missy Franklin, 1500m and 800m world record holder Katie Ledecky and Nathan Adrian, who defeated Australia’s James Magnussen by one-hundredth of a second in the 100m freestyle at the London Olympics.
One person who will not be in the team is Michael Phelps — the most decorated Olympian of all time — after he was suspended for six months last month for drink-driving.
“The US is undoubtedly the strongest swimming nation of all time, having won more world championships and Olympic titles than any other country, ” acting Tourism Minister John Day said yesterday.
“Events such as the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series play an important role in the State Government’s strategy to grow the value of tourism to the economy to $12 billion by 2020.
“They help attract visitors, add vibrancy to the State and generate national and international media exposure for WA.”
The Aquatic Super Series festival will also include men’s and women’s water polo matches, an open water swim on the Swan River known as SwimTheSwan and a community engagement program featuring clinics held by past and present Olympians.
Swimming Australia president John Bertrand said Perth had a proud history of hosting successful international swim meets.
He said the Aquatic Super Series would also provide a great opportunity to “showcase the extraordinary experiences WA has to offer”.
The US water polo team will also compete in the Aquatic Super Series, with tickets availble at www.ticket master.com.au
© The West Australian
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