Local News

Australian swim team dives into life in Mackay


Olympic swimming hopefuls are calling Mackay home this month with the national coach praising the town as having the "best facilities" in regional Australia. 

Annual plans for the national swim team to train in Thailand were scrapped due to the threat of COVID-19.

Twenty-two elite swimmers - which include 2016 Olympians Mitch Larkin and Jacob Hansford - are now using Mackay's Aquatic and Recreation Complex (ARC) to train for the upcoming Tokoyo Olympic trials.

Australian Coach of the Year Dean Boxall says the facilities are not only up to scratch, but the best he has seen in a regional town.

"I'm very surprised about how good this facility is, but not just the facility, how good Mackay is," Mr Boxall says. 

Covid-safe plans

The athletes here as part of the St Peter’s Western Swim Club training camp, and organisational services director Kylie Lamb says they're taking the COVID-safe requirements seriously.

“The team are adhering to Mackay ARC’s COVID Safe requirements such as QR code entry sign-ins, social distancing and sanitation practices,” Ms Lamb says.

Swimmers who have been in Greater Brisbane since January 2 are also following guidelines triggered by the Hotel Grand Chancellor cluster.

Making a splash

Mayor Greg Williamson says he couldn't be prouder to show off the world-class facilities, and he hopes the training sessions will be the first of many.

“This is the first national-level swim team we’ve hosted at the ARC, and their positive feedback so far has been music to our ears," Mr Williamson says.

“Ideally, this training camp will be the first of many to be hosted at the facility."

The public is invited to open training sessions on January 21 and January 28, both at 4:30pm.