TASMANIA will make a splash in the world of finswimming when the Australian masters team will travel to Italy in June to compete in the World Masters Finswimming Championships.
Tasmania will be represented in the Australian team by Sabina Lane, Brett Stephenson and David Wigger, with Helen Lane acting as coach.
They will be joined by competitors from Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.
Coach Helen Lane said Tasmania had performed well for Australia at previous competitions.
“There’s around 65 teams from around the world that compete and last time we finished seventh, which is great for Australia,” she said.
“Sabina Lane, who won four bronze medals at the last World Masters competition, and Brett Stephenson, who won two bronze medals, will be our best medal hopes this year.”
Ms Lane said the Tasmanian swimmers had been training at the Doone Kennedy Aquatic Centre and were keen to improve upon their times after finishing second at the National Championships in Brisbane.
“It’s an all over fitness sport, which means you use everything from your fingertips to your toes, whereas conventional swimming is mainly just all shoulder work,” she said.
Sabina Lane has been finswimming since her early 20s and had competed in six World Championships.
“I initially started it for fitness and strength, but then we got monofins into Australia and I started competing with them,” she said.
“It’s a really smooth, easy feeling because you’re not using your arms and you can feel the water rushing past all the way down your whole body – it’s amazing.
“Last World Championship we really surprised ourselves and I got four bronze medals, so hopefully I can make it a different colour this time.
“We’ve been doing three sessions a week, as well as public swimming where we can, and I personally do a couple of gym session for strength and fitness.”
For David Wigger, this will be his first World Championships and he will be the first Australian to compete in the bi-fins category.
“I’m definitely looking forward to the challenges that it’s going to present and putting myself under pressure,” he said.
“The comradery is awesome, it’s a great team to work with.”
Having done conventional swimming, free diving and snorkelling for many years, Mr Wigger encouraged more people to take up finswimming.
Despite making the qualifying time for the Australian team, Australian record holder Muriel Morillon was unable to make herself available to go away.
Tasmanian world record holder Glenn Hoppitt had also been preparing for the event before suffering a mild heart attack.
However, he will still travel with the team as team manager.
The World Masters Finswimming Championships will be held in Lignano-Sabbiadoro, Italy from 12 to 14 June.
Caption: From left, Tasmanian finswimmers Sabina Lane, Muriel Morillon, David Wigger and Brett Stephenson.