The image of Australian swimmers marking their mark on the world stage is something we have all grown up with. And who hasn’t cheered out loud in their lounge room as one of our swimming stars touched the finishing wall first? From the World Para Championships to the Olympic Games and the Open Water Championships, the success of our swimmers is legendary.
But no one watching at home, or from the grandstands, sees the early morning starts, the long hours and the stiff muscles – and that’s just their travel schedules! As the travel management partner of Swimming Australia, Stage and Screen knows a lot about their demanding schedules. Travel for the athletes, coaches and support staff is as much a part of their daily lives, as chlorine and split times.
Swimming Australia is the country’s peak body for swimming with nearly 1,100 clubs and approximately 100,000 registered members nationally - including swimmers, coaches, officials, administrators and volunteers. With offices in Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra, the organisation is committed to managing and developing the sport - from the elite national team, to the high performance pathway program, national and international events and at the grass roots participation level.
While swimming is often a very solo, individual sport – when Swimming Australia is moving athletes to and from training camps and competitions they travel en masse. For the upcoming State Championships, some 300 athletes are descending on Canberra from their various home states. While this year’s World Championships in South Korea involved flights for a group of 26 athletes and 20 support staff and coaches, four different airlines, coach transfers, accommodation and training camps on the way in Cairns and Japan.
Understanding that athlete wellbeing is always paramount, Stage and Screen harnesses its relationship with travel partners to deliver everything from special hotel menus, to excess luggage allowances for teams. To ensure high protein diets can be catered for, Stage and Screen liaises directly with the hotels on the swimmers’ menu requirements in conjunction with the Swimming Australia dietician. While for the recent World Para Championships in London, accessible accommodation was required for visually impaired athletes and those requiring a wheelchair. With excess luggage including wheelchairs, special apparatus, massage tables and even an ice bath.
To ensure the swimmers arrive relaxed and ready to perform at their peak, the key is preparation and planning well ahead. In the case of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, that means booking now. Working closely with Swimming Australia’s preferred suppliers, Stage and Screen is already holding bulk flight bookings for the Games themselves - and also dozens of national training camps in the lead up. So all the swimmers need to concentrate on is smashing out a personal best.
Stage and Screen is very excited to be part of the latest win for Swimming Australia – a $5,000 Qantas Travel Voucher which they won by flying with Qantas as part of a recent client competition.
Photographs courtesy of Delly Carr.