From left: Thierry Payet, Damien Payet and Simon Bachman are among the swimmers in Doha. (Seychelles Nation)
Seven swimmers from Seychelles are participating in the World Aquatics Championships 2024 in Doha, Qatar, the last Olympic Games qualifying event from February 2-18.
Seychelles is being represented by Aaliyah Palestrini in the women’s 50m freestyle and 50m backstroke, and Angelina Smythe in the women’s 100m backstroke and 100m freestyle.
Simon Bachmann will compete in the men’s 200m individual medley and 200m butterfly as well as Adam Moncherry in the men’s 50m freestyle and 50m butterfly.
Three swimmers will be participating in the open water events: Dorianne Bristol in women’s 5km, and Damien Payet and Thierry Payet in men’s 5km.
The swimmers are accompanied by coach Robert Suzette and will be joined by the chairperson of the Seychelles Aquatic Federation (SAF), Muriel Morgan, who will be attending a meeting during the event.
The event is the last opportunity for the Seychellois swimmers to get a spot in the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, France from July 26 to August 11.
To date, no Seychellois athlete has qualified for the Games in Paris.
The last Seychellois swimmer to qualify for the Olympic Games held in Japan in 2021 was Felicity Passon who finished first in her heat for the 200m backstroke in 2 minutes 13.94 seconds Grand Prix swim meet in Durban, South Africa.
Around 2,600 competitors from 201 nations, including the World Aquatics Refugee team, compete in the 75-medal event, making it the competition with the most athletes compared to prior editions.
Only seven of the 22 individual gold medalists from the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka are participating in the tournament to try and retain their championships from the previous year, showing a significant absence of many elite swimmers.