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Partnership with World Aquatics an Australian first

Chris Mooney
Chris Mooney at work on the pool deck

Bond University will prepare swimmers from developing nations for the Paris Olympics and beyond under an agreement to establish a World Aquatics Development Centre.

The partnership will enable athletes to train at the Gold Coast university in a swimming program that has produced World Championship gold medallists.

The athletes will be mentored by Bond Swimming Head Coach Chris Mooney who has a track record of coaching swimmers to Olympic medals. 

World Aquatics, formerly FINA, will nominate athletes for the swimming scholarships in consultation with their national federations.

Bond University Director of Swimming Kyle Samuelson said the initiative would help unlock the potential of swimmers from developing nations, including the Pacific Islands.

“The raw talent is undoubtably out there but if you don’t have access to an Olympic-size swimming pool, never mind the coaching expertise, it’s incredibly difficult to reach the elite level,” Samuelson said.

“This partnership between Bond and World Aquatics will prepare swimmers to compete at the highest level and perhaps one day stand on the dais at a World Championships or Olympics.” 

Head Coach Mooney said he would initially prepare swimmers for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Beyond that we’ll be working towards World Aquatics Championships, Los Angeles 2028 and ultimately the Brisbane Games,” he said.

“Having the Olympics in their backyard in 2032 is going to be huge for all Pacific nations and the Development Centre will ensure they can make the most of a once in a generation opportunity.”

Bond University Vice Chancellor and President Tim Brailsford said he was proud to formalise the partnership with World Aquatics.

“We have had strong relations over several years mainly driven by our excellent coaching team which has ultimately led to the recognition by the governing body of world swimming of Bond as a world-class destination for its facilities and personnel,” Professor Brailsford said.

“We look forward to welcoming many international swimmers from around the globe and assisting them to realise their Olympic dream while cementing life-long friendships with our swimmers and coaches.

“With Brisbane 2032 Olympics now less than 10 years away, Bond University is humbled that the peak body for world swimming has chosen to partner with us.”

Other World Aquatics development centres are located in Thanyapura (Thailand), Budapest (Hungary), Antibes (France), Toronto (Canada) and Davie (US).

The Bond University Aquatic Centre includes 50m and 25m pools, and athletes have access to an altitude and heat training chamber, hot and cold recovery plunge pools and a 25m heated indoor pool at the nearby Bond Institute of Health & Sport (BIHS) and its High Performance Training Centre. Later this year the university will open a $45 million expansion of BIHS.

Bond offers Hancock Prospecting Swimming Excellence Scholarships to elite swimmers. Current scholars include Alex Graham, Elijah Winnington, Flynn Southam and Maddy Gough who represented Australia at the latest World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan.


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