Focus on Paris as Australia plan small swim team for world championships

Powerhouse Australia expect to take a team of fewer than 20 to the World Swimming Championships in Doha in February with the Paris Olympics the focus next year.

Coach Rohan Taylor said the squad would be half the size of the one that collected 25 medals at the worlds in Fukuoka this year, including 13 golds.

It was the first time since 2001 that a nation other than the United States won the most golds, but some of those swimmers appear unlikely to defend their titles.

“We have up to 20 spots we can fill, I don’t think we will get there, I think we will fall short,” Taylor told broadcaster  ABC.

“But that is because people may not value going there as part of their (Olympic) preparation.”

Australia’s 400m freestyle world record holder Ariarne Titmus has already indicated she will bypass Doha.

Australia has busy lead-up to the Olympics, with the national championships on the Gold Coast in April and Olympic swimming trials confirmed Friday for Brisbane on June 10-15.

Taylor said it could be tougher to make the Olympic team than win a medal in Paris, given the depth Australia have, particularly among their world-beating women’s freestylers.

Each country can only enter a maximum of two competitors per event at the Olympics.

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