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Melbourne Australia

The 16th FINA World Swimming Championships were held in Melbourne, Australia last December (2022)

One of the best parts about being on the National Team is being able to travel the world and see some of the most beautiful places that I would either not think of visiting or have the opportunity to travel to on my own. Australia is almost the furthest point to travel to from North America but has some of the fastest and most talented swimmers in the world. Because of their remote location, they don’t often host many sporting events, but when they do, they know how to make it a spectacle.

Flying to Australia from Toronto was on my top 5 list of longest travel days I’ve had for swimming. The path was Toronto to Vancouver, Vancouver to Sydney, then Sydney to Melbourne, totalling to a huge 32 hours. I was just glad all my luggage survived the flights too.

We arrived in Melbourne just less than a week before the competition started, on the 8th of December. The meet was 7 days long, and I was swimming the 400 Individual Medley, which was scheduled for the 17th. The competition was held at the Melbourne Sports Centre (MSAC) and it was absolutely stunning. There were two pools - an indoor training pool, and the competition pool was outdoors.

The weather was surprisingly much colder than I was expecting, and most days it rained the whole day! On some days when I was not swimming or resting in the hotel, I went for walks to explore the city. Our hotel was almost right downtown, so it was very easy to get around and see the surroundings. The city was gorgeous and felt very inviting. Downtown Melbourne had a good balance of high-rise buildings and interesting architecture with large green spaces, trees, and even a huge river, the Yarra River which runs through the whole city. There were lots of special places you could escape the hustle of a large city without having to leave. I loved it.

Another awesome local treasure within Melbourne’s downtown is the South Melbourne Market. You can find anything from small shops showcasing artisan craftsmen with handcrafted goods to any type of food, both street style and gourmet. The hotel and nearby restaurant workers all recommended that we check out this market, and it did not disappoint. The place was bustling, both on weekdays and weekends.

After the swimming competition was done, some of us took the afternoon off and wanted to make the most of one of the only sunny days we got and ventured to Brighton Beach. This beach is famous for its bright coloured bathing boxes that line the top of the beach. The beach was stunning, you listened to the small waves crashing while looking at the city skyline in the background. As this beach is one of the most popular tourist attractions and weekend getaway spots for locals, the city has to ensure the safety of its beach.

Australia has the 7th largest coastline in the world, so coastal erosion is a leading environmental concern. Last year the city of Brighton introduced a restoration project to replenish the sand on the coastline. This project is designed to not only protect the state of the iconic boxes and their foundations from possible damage or being washed away from storm activity, but it also targets the natural vegetation, landscape, and wildlife that depend on a healthy and resilient shoreline.

As always, there is never enough time to experience everything a place has to offer. Australia is definitely a beautiful destination I want to visit again.

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