Club backs Poort's Olympic dream
FORMER Buderim swimmer Jarrod Poort missed the automatic qualifying time for this year's Olympics but his club is so confident he will be added to the Australian squad it is organising a celebration for him.
Poort won the national 1500m title in a time of 15:13.38 but was outside the A-qualifying mark of 15:11.83.
But the 17-year-old, who moved from the Sunshine Coast to New South Wales two years ago, appears likely to be included in the national squad anyway.
"Everybody is very confident he'll actually be accepted into the team on June 26," Wests Illawarra Swim Club president John Gullick said.
"We're organising a bit of a celebration for Jarrod and David (McKeon) for making the Olympic team.
"We're hoping it's not a commiserations event, like a you-got-so-close sort of thing. But I think his coach (1980 and 1984 Games representative Ron McKeon) and Swimming Australia are confident that his B-qualifying time, which is so close to the A-qualifying time, will be enough to be accepted."
If there are not enough A-qualifiers entered in the Games, it's likely that FINA and IOC officials will look to B-qualifiers to fill the spots.
Poort is training as though he will make it to London and is with squad members at a high-altitude camp in Mexico.
It's believed Poort might be provided with a chance to swim under the A-qualifying time at a time trial event, to be held at sea level after the camp.
"If he does an A qualifier in the time trial I'm sure they'll put something in there to get him automatically accepted," Gullick said. "If he still doesn't make the time, they're still confident his B qualifying time will get him into the field.
"I think Swimming Australia is investing in him just as much as it would have if he made it into the team in the first place. That's how confident I believe they are."
Gullick is so sure the teenager will earn a berth at London that he said: "I'm pretty sure he's probably been measured up for all of his uniforms and things."
And he expected Poort to be quicker than ever by July.
"They (officials) can see that he's improving just about every time he is at a meet," he said.