BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-Western Kentucky University swimming and diving head coach Bruce Marchionda and former WKU swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Claire Donahue left the United States to take on the field at the 2012 FINA Short Course World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, on December 12-16.
Marchionda was named an assistant coach for the women's team in early October.
"I'm very excited to be a part of the USA Swimming staff to take the World Championship team over to Turkey," said Marchionda. "It's an opportunity that I have to grow in my profession and also an opportunity for Claire to reach her goals and help other athletes along the way too that will be in my training group that I am directly responsible for at the championships. It will be a great opportunity and great learning experience, not just for me, but for Claire as well, and to represent WKU because everybody knows where you are from and what program you are coming from, so all those add up to a positive twist to the trip."
Donahue is coming off of a busy summer, as she won a gold medal with the 4x100 medley relay in 2012 Olympic Games in London. Marchionda noted that Donahue would swim in the 50 and 100 fly individually with hopes to be a part of the women's 400 medley relay if she does well in her individual events.
"It is kind of a weird time of the year," said Marchionda. "Just coming off of the Olympics, a lot of the Olympians, like Claire, took a bit of break, maybe a little bit too long of a break, so it should be an interesting scenario. I know a lot of the other countries like China, who after the Olympics still had their national championships and Asian Games, didn't really have a break, so we will see how that plays out.
"Obviously our goal is to medal, to be on the award stand in her individual events. It could be a great, exciting trip for her, so hopefully we have prepared her well. Like I said, she is just coming off that long break with all her appearances and everything, but she has done a real nice job of handling that so I expect her to do very well."
The event in Istanbul will be the 11th FINA Short Course World Championships, an event which has been held every two years since the inaugural Championships in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1993. The event in Istanbul will take place at the Sinan Erdem Dome, which is a multi-purpose indoor arena that is located on the European side of Istanbul, Turkey.For more information on the competition, visit wscistanbul2012.com. For a schedule of events, click here.