By Sharon Robb
MELBOURNE, Australia, December 12, 2022—Julio Horrego is among a world-class field as the FINA Short Course World Championships began Tuesday at the Melbourne Sports and Aquatics Centre.
The meet prelims already got under way at 7 p.m. EST since it is already Tuesday in Australia. The finals each day are 3:30 a.m. EST. Melbourne is 16 hours ahead of South Florida.
Horrego, a 2020 Honduran Olympian, will compete in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke events.
The men’s breaststroke field is loaded with talent. It is the first time that Brit Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Adam Peaty, sidelined and out of the pool for six weeks, is not the favorite for the breaststroke races.
After dominating the World Cup circuit by going 9-for-9 across the 50, 100 and 200 breaststroke, American Nic Fink is favored in all three events.
Fink is one of the U.S. team captains for the meet. The others are Bolles alum Ryan Murphy, Natalie Hinds and Leah Smith.
The roster features 16 Olympians including Murphy, Torri Huske, Michael Andrew, Hali Flickinger, Kate Douglass and Smith.
Last year’s U.S. roster led the medal count with nine gold, nine silver and 12 bronze for 30 total medals.
American backstroker Rhyan White was forced to drop out of the meet because of illness.
Making their senior level debuts in a FINA international competition are David Curtiss, David Johnston, Jake Foster, Erin Gemmell and Jillian Cox.
This year’s team will be coached by head coach Braden Holloway (N.C. State) and assistant coaches Bruce Gemmell (Nation’s Capital Swim Club), Whitney Hite (University of Florida ), Ashley Jahn (University of Tennessee ) and Eddie Reese (Longhorn Aquatics).
Azura Florida Aquatics will have three current swimmers and eleven Azura alumni at worlds. Yeziel Morales will represent Puerto Rico; Leon Seaton will swim for Guyana and Esteban Nunez Del Prado will compete for Bolivia.
Azura alumni swimmers entered are Noah Mascoll-Gomes, Antigua & Barbuda; Sirena Rowe, Colombia; Celina Marquez, El Salvador; Julimar Avila, Honduras; Rashed Altarmoom, Kuwait; Matheo Mateos, Paraguay; Maria Fe Munoz, Peru; Joaquin Vargas, Peru; Steven Aimable, Senegal; Pedro Chiancone, Uruguay and Nicole Frank, Uruguay.
UANA President Maureen Croes of Aruba is also attending worlds in her official capacity. She is the mother of former local swimmers Jordy and Patrick Groters. Former SOFLO swimmer Alia Atkinson is also at worlds serving as chair of FINA’s Athletes Committee.
Russian and Belarus athletes have been banned from the competition based on FINA’s independent risk assessment.
FINA maintains its strongest condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. FINA also wishes to reiterate its commitment to supporting the Ukraine Swimming, Diving and Artistic Swimming Federation as they prepare for upcoming competitions,” the organization said.
FINA has also re-branded itself to World Aquatics. FINA, the Fédération Internationale de Natation, has become World Aquatics following a vote at the Extraordinary General Congress on the eve of the World Swimming Championships.
Over its 114-year history, FINA and its 209 member federations have maintained responsibility for swimmers, artistic swimmers, divers, high divers, open water swimmers and water polo players.
The launch of the World Aquatics brand arrives after a series of major reforms that sees a modern organization ready to lead and serve athletes united by water, with a broader scope and increased engagement with participants and audiences. The new World Aquatics visual identity will be rolled-out at the first events of 2023.
“Everyone in our community is proud of what FINA achieved in developing our sports. As we look to the future, World Aquatics will see all aquatics athletes united for the first time under one brand. The identity of our organization now focuses on our shared vision: a world united by water, for health, life and sport,” said World Aquatics President Husain Al-Musallam.
The meet is being live streamed on FINA’s YouTube channel.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org