School’s Out For Summer: Australia Fed Harnesses Hancock To The Dolphins “Brand”

Fast and fascinating creatures: swimmers take tips on how to take a bite out of the opposition - l-r: Mel gorman, Bronte and Cate Campbell, Christian Sprenger [Courtesy of Swimming Australia]

There was never a time in the past quarter century when we didn’t use the name – not brand – ‘Dolphins’ when referring to the Australia swim team but now the moniker is official once more, the federation Down Under today harnessed Hancock Prospecting, its new sponsor, to the porpoise its team became synonymous with long ago

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There was never a time in the past quarter century when we didn’t use the name – not brand – ‘Dolphins’ when referring to the Australia swim team but now the moniker is official once more, the federation Down Under today harnessed Hancock Prospecting, its new sponsor, to the porpoise its team became synonymous with long ago



Just a quick note about Australian Championships – Alicia Coutts is not entered to swim 200m IM. She has entered 50m back, fly and free events and 100m fly and free. A bit of a shock to the system.

Craig Lord

Thanks petriasfan… interesting to see where that will go.


Coutts’ best bet for World Championship team selection would definitely have been the 200m IM.
Firstly, the 50m back and fly events are non selection events. So I gather she has entered them for a bit of fun.
Next, with no DQs in heats, semis and finals, the Campbell sisters are a lock in for the 50m free.
Six swimmers will be selected from the 100m free – two individual (Campbell sisters again) and 4 extra relay members (McKeon, Wright, Elmslie – are the next 3 in form swimmers. 6th spot is pretty much open and up for grabs. But Coutts will need to fight off the likes of Madison Wilson, Emily Seebohm and Ami Matsuo).
Coutts has been our number 1 100m flyer since 2010, but her 2014 form makes me question if she is still number 1. McKeon had a great year last year on fly, as did Madeline Groves (especially during the state championships in early 2014). Britt Elmslie is a strong contender too.
However, when you look at the field for the 200m IM, not one of the swimmers (eg: Seebohm, McMaster, Ngawati, McKeown etc) have come close to the times that Coutts has posted. IMO, her “slow” times from Comm Games and Pan Pacs would be good enough to earn a spot on this years team.

Lawrie Cox

Just a couple of quick notes of history (it appears some just don’t know). The Dolphin brand was in fact owned by the commercial sponsor at the time; this is why SAL avoided the moniker for a period as there was doubt on the ownership. Great to see its return as we all have referred both name at some time in history.
In respect to the big sponsor deal i note no figure has been actually disclosed but a misconception to the sponsor deal through Hope Foundation of $10 mil is direct to swimmers and not controlled by SAL as was requested by Ms Hancock and agreed by SAL. What would be nice is to see how many extra dollars actually bought in and how this will be distributed to grassroots development? Simple questions really be nice if our mainstream media in Aus would actually ask rather than accept the spoonfeed.

Craig Lord

Many thanks for that explanation Lawrie – and for the info about who controls the funds … the lack of questions and that last issue you raid is complex … two main things it reflects: swimming’s status in decline in the run of sports coverage in main media (go back 15 years and not only did the actual swimming get more coverage in mainstream media in many key swim nations but there was coverage, too, of doping issues, sports politics and over parallel issues – hardly happens these days); and, as a consequence, a lack of interest in uncovering bad practice or asking for the detail of deals and arrangements (the smaller the coverage a sport gets, the more the eyes of editors glaze over when issues are raised beyond the live swim result and the odd swimmer feature from time to time).
You’d need an essay to explain that but in a nutshell, despite more swimming activity than ever before right now, there is less attention o i in the mainstream media (in part a reflection of the growth of community niche websites and so forth – services that fill the void in some ways but are fan bases that fall woefully shy of the journalism you seek in your wish.


The problem with Ms. Coutts’ program for the last few years has been that the 200 m individual medley and the 100 m butterfly are both in the same day (at least in the Australian Nationals and in international competitions). And in multiple occasions she’s had to swim a freestyle relay that same day. So I’m not too surprised that she’s chosen to race on only one of the events. Whether 100m butterfly is a better choice than the individual medley I don’t know. But at the international level the medley relay is an extremely contested race, and physically she does not appear as strong as some of her competitors. While qualifying for the 100 butterfly will be difficult, that would allow her to be the butterfly leg in the medley relay. And he’s always been an important part of that relay: particularly memorable was her race in London, when she brought Australia from 4th to 2th. I don’t think Ms. Coutts was under 57s in the 100 butterfly in 2014. But has Emma McKeon, Madeline Groves, or Brittany Elmslie ever been under 57s?


Coutts skipping the 200IM does leave a major hole in the team as Seebohm is the only other one near intl class in this event. Seebohm HAS been below 2.10 but that was a one-off and 4-5 years ago; since then she’s been a 2.10-2.11 performer and this event is clearly a lower priority than both 100 % 200 back.

CAN Coutts get back to sub 57 for 100fly; open to speculation but sub 57.5 may be all it takes to qualify. Groves’ fast times from 2014 were all prior to Trials and she was nowhere at CG & PP. Elmslie has yet to break 58 and, whilst McKeon may be a long term answer in 100FLY, her FS is currently at a much higher level than her fly. For’s comment re the medley relay is pertinent; even if she’s off medal pace in the individual event the 56high legs she swam last year would only be giving away ground to DEN amongst the major contenders.

The final 4×100 relay slot could be interesting. Will Seebohm put her hand up/enter it at trials ? Would favour Wilson above Matsuo but certainly the opening is there for Coutts if she can get down into the lower 54s


Coutts always has a huge workload, so dropping her longest event that crams into her schedule maybe a good move at this point towards the end of her career.
It must be physically and mentally taxing sometimes doing 3 events in a finals session- and relay responsibilities as the last one as well.

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