Why Aussie swimming’s darkest days are gone

This week marks the start of a short but intense period for our swimmers, who return to international competition still on a high from the remarkable performances at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Tokyo was a high-water mark for the Australian team, who picked up nine gold medals, second only to the United States.

The Dolpins return to the pool in Hungary for the FINA World Championships, closely followed by the Commonwealth Games three weeks later in Birmingham.

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Watch the FINA World Championships swimming live and free on 9Gem plus stream every event live on 9Now.

Tokyo gold medallist Kaylee McKeown and returning star Shayna Jack lead the women’s team in Budapest, while Zak Stubblety-Cook will have the chance to add to his OIympic gold medal.

A number of stars have chosen to take a break and skip the World Championships, but leading commentator Giaan Rooney is still expecting big things from the Dolphins.

“The team is so strong, and the depth is so incredible, if you’re on the Australian team you’re in with a chance in Hungary,” she told Wide World of Sports.

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“Just making the team is a huge deal, but the depth we saw last year, especially in the relays, and the next generation coming through, excites me so much.”

From the lows of the London Olympics in 2012, when Australia won just a single gold medal in the pool, to the highs of Tokyo, the team has undergone a remarkable transformation in the last decade.

“Australia has always played such a big role in the landscape of world swimming,” Rooney explained.

“We’ve always beaten well above our population weight and been quite revered on the pool deck.

“We might have had a few lean years, but that attitude towards Australia never changed.

“The individual nature of swimming means the national rivalry isn’t so big, apart from the relay events, and I feel that with our depth we’re well placed in the relays once again this year.”

Rooney noted that the resurgence has come at the perfect time to inspire the next generation who will represent Australia at the Brisbane Olympics in 2032.

“That age group of 10-15, it’s that really hard age when the kids might want to try other sports, because swimming is hard, and it’s a bit anti-social given you’re in the pool all the time,” she remarked .

“Keeping that age group motivated is key, and seeing what the team did last year and potentially this year, all of a sudden those kids think about the possibility of swimming at a home Olympics in Brisbane, it’s that next level of motivation. It’s incredible .”

FINA World Championships dates and venue

This year’s FINA World Championships will be held in Budapest, Hungary. The swimming events will be held from June 18-June 25.

How to watch the FINA World Championships in Australia

You can catch all the action on 9GEM and 9NOW. The heats will take place from approximately 5pm-8pm AEST, with the finals being held from approximately 1:30am-4:15am each day.

FINA World Championships Swimming Schedule

June 18

Men’s 400m freestyle (Heats + Final)

Men’s 100m breaststroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 50m butterfly (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 400m individual medley (Heats + Final)

Men’s 4x100m freestyle relay (Heats + Final)

Women’s 400m freestyle (Heats + Final)

Women’s 100m butterfly (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 200m individual medley (Heats + Semi-finals)

Women’s 4x100m freestyle relay (Heats + Final)

June 19

Men’s 200m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 100m backstroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 100m Breakstroke (Final)

Men’s 50m butterfly (Final)

Women’s 1500m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 100m backstroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 100m breaststroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 100m butterfly (Final)

Women’s 200m individual medley (Final)

June 20

Men’s 200m freestyle (Final)

Men’s 800m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 100m backstroke (Final)

Men’s 50m breakstroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 200m butterfly (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 200m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 1500m freestyle (Final)

Women’s 100m backstroke (Final)

Women’s 100m breaststroke (Final)

June 21

Men’s 100m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 800m freestyle (Final)

Men’s 50m breaststroke (Final)

Men’s 200m butterfly (Final)

Men’s 200m individual medley (Heats + Semi-finals)

Women’s 200m freestyle (Final)

Women’s 50m backstroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 200m butterfly (Heats + Semi finals)

Mixed 4x100m medley relay (Heats + Final)

June 22

Men’s 100m freestyle (Final)

Men’s 200m backstroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 200m breaststroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 200m individual medley (Final)

Women’s 100m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 50m backstroke (Final)

Women’s 200m breaststroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 200m butterfly (Final)

Women’s 4x200m freestyle relay (Heats + Final)

June 23

Men’s 50m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 200m backstroke (Final)

Men’s 200m breaststroke (Final)

Men’s 100m butterfly (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 4×200 freestyle relay (Heats + Final)

Women’s 100m freestyle (Final)

Women’s 800m freestyle (Heats)

Women’s 200m backstroke (Heats + Semi-finals)

Women’s 200m breaststroke (Final)

Women’s 50m butterfly (Heats + Semi finals)

June 24

Men’s 50m freestyle (Final)

Men’s 1500m freestyle (Heats)

Men’s 50m backstroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Men’s 100m butterfly (Final)

Women’s 50m freestyle (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 800m freestyle (Final)

Women’s 200m backstroke (Final)

Women’s 50m breaststroke (Heats + Semi finals)

Women’s 50m butterfly (Final)

Mixed 4x100m freestyle relay (Heats + Final)

June 25

Men’s 1500m freestyle (Final)

Men’s 50m backstroke (Final)

Men’s 4×100 medley relay (Heats + Final)

Women’s 50m freestyle (Final)

Women’s 50m breaststroke (Final)

Women’s 400m individual medley (Heats + Final)

Women’s 4x100m medley relay (Heats + Final)

Who will be swimming at the World Championships?

The Australian team features Shayna Jack, Kaylee McKeown, Madison Wilson and Abbey Harkin, while on the men’s side Kyle Chalmers, Zac Stubblety-Cook, Mack Horton and Mitch Larkin will all be in action.

American superstars Katie Ledecky and Caeleb Dressel will also be in Hungary.

Future comings

2023 – Fukuoka, Japan

2024 – Doha, Qatar

2025 – Kazan, Russia

2027 – Budapest, Hungary

All-time medal tally

This is the 19th edition of the FINA World Championships. The United States leads the way 268 gold medals, China has won 146, Russia 105 and Australia is fourth with 89 gold medals.

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