National swim team learn about Great Barrier Reef status

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Dolphins team members Jenna Strauch and Brianna Throssell on the Great Barrier Reef. Image: Tim Wong.
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Yesterday, members of the Australian Dolphins Swim Team swapped the pool for Flynn Reef for a Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef expedition.

Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef is a network of individuals, organisations and businesses working to conserve the Great Barrier Reef and inspire people around the world to protect it.

Led by Commonwealth Games gold-medalist, world record holder, and Citizens Ambassador Shayna Jack, the group comprised members of the 27-strong squad selected for the upcoming World Swimming Championships in South Korea.

“We saw such diversity of marine life and different corals, it was incredible,” Ms Jack said.

“It’s great to see the Reef looking so healthy and to learn what we can do as a team can help keep it that way.”

Andy Ridley, Citizens CEO, said taking the Dolphins out to the reef was a wonderful experience.

“It’s been brilliant to take some of Australia’s most talented athletes out on the Reef again this year,” he said.

“We hope the team have been inspired by what they’ve seen out on Flynn Reef today, share it with their supporters and encourage them all to help protect this precious place.”

The Dolphins also learned about the unique cultural heritage of the region from Dreamtime Dive and Snorkel’s largely Indigenous crew.

Consisting of rangers from the four tribes found along the stretch of coastline from Port Douglas to the Frankland Islands - Gimuy Walubara Yidinji, Gunggandji, Mandingalbay Yidinji and Yirrganydji tribes – as well as Torres Strait Islanders.

“To learn about the creation stories of the Great Barrier Reef and the crew’s connection to Sea Country added a whole new element to the trip today,” Alex Graham said.

Members of the team will also took part in a pilot survey for the Great Reef Census, a collaborative citizen science project which aims to establish a broad snapshot of the Reef’s status.

Citizens are working with a diverse range of partners on the project including the Reef & Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC), Uber, Nickelodeon, Superyacht Group Great Barrier Reef and GBRMPA.

“It’s exciting to see the Dolphins swim team engaged in testing the methods for next year’s Great Reef Census alongside Citizens and RRRC,” said Sheridan Morris, Managing Director RRRC.

Four lucky students and two teachers from Cairns State High School and Trinity Bay State High School joined the team on board, getting in the water with the Dolphins and learning more about how their schools can support a healthy reef.

“The Reef is still an incredibly vibrant ecosystem,” Andy Ridley said.

“Working with the Dolphins swim team helps us engage Australia and the world in keeping it that way.”

With thanks to Swimming Australia, Dreamtime Dive & Snorkel and Biopixel who are supporting this event.


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