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Top coach to lead high-performance swim program

USC has appointed one of Australia’s top swimming coaches Chris Mooney to lead an impressive high-performance swim program.

Mooney, who has previously assisted coaching legend Denis Cotterell on the Gold Coast and worked in similar roles at the University of Hawaii and at Indooroopilly Swimming, dived right in to his new role at USC today.

He has brought with him most of his stable from Indooroopilly including four swimmers – Taylor McKeown, Jake Packard, Leah Neale and Kylie Palmer – who were recently selected to represent Australia at the 2015 FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, in July.

Other big names in Mooney’s training squad are Sunshine Coast sensation Chelsea Gillett and international champions Jennie Johansson of Sweden and Julian Layton of New Zealand.

Pictured (left to right): Kylie Palmer, Jake Packard, Leah Neale, Julian Layton of New Zealand, Taylor McKeown and coach Chris Mooney.

Mooney, whose success at the recent Australian titles has earned him a place on the Australian coaching team for Kazan, said USC offered an ideal environment with great facilities.

These include the Olympic-standard swimming pool, ready access to a gymnasium and sporting fields, underwater swim analysis equipment and the expertise of USC Professor of Sport Science Brendan Burkett and Paralympic high-performance squad coach Jan Cameron.

“The facilities here are second to none,” he said. “It’s a credit to Brendan Burkett and the powers that be at USC who have created all this.

“The gym is fantastic, the pool is fantastic and the equipment is fantastic. It is certainly a drawcard to come up here. A big part of it was also Brendan Burkett and the partnership he has with the QAS (Queensland Academy of Sport).

“We’ll be providing the opportunity here for athletes to have a high-performance experience, with high-performance coaching and support to achieve their ultimate success like an Olympics podium finish.

“This environment and the opportunity to be a full-time athlete will give them that little bit extra when it comes to race day.”

Each week, the USC Swimming squad will complete nine pool sessions, three gym sessions and two dry land workouts that involve core muscle activation exercises.

“To have all these facilities in the one place at USC means we don’t have to drive through traffic between venues,” Mooney said. “The swimmers were spending about five hours a week driving around Brisbane. This will give them more down time and recovery time instead of driving to and fro.”

Mooney said many of his athletes were planning to enrol as students at USC, particularly in its popular Sport and Exercise Science program.

Professor Burkett – a four-time Paralympic swimmer who was the Australian Paralympic Swim team sport science coordinator at Beijing and London – warmly welcomed Mooney and his squad to USC.

“USC has been developing its high performance sport culture for over 15 years, starting in 1999 with the Sunshine Coast’s first tartan athletics track, followed by the University’s national AIS sport science accreditation and many other national and international sports research projects,” he said.

“It’s great to continue this culture for staff and students with the appointment of Chris Mooney as the high-performance swim coach. This will complement and extend USC’s current high-performance Paralympic swimming program.”

— Terry Walsh

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