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Swimmer Emma McKeon issues plea after hometown hit by Australia fires

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Australian Olympic swimmer Emma McKeon‘s family was reportedly evacuated from an area affected by the country’s wildfires that are causing states of disaster.

“Sadly our home town in Lake Conjola was hit very badly, and we were extremely lucky to be safe where we were,” was posted on McKeon’s Instagram. “But our heart goes to the victims who lost so much, and to the place many call home.”

McKeon, 25, earned an Australia-leading four medals at the Rio Olympics, including gold as part of the 4x100m freestyle. Her father, Ron, and brother, David, also swam for Australia at the Olympics.

The McKeon family was evacuated Friday, according to Swimming World.

At least 17 people have died since the fires broke out, and almost twice the land of New Jersey has been scorched, according to NBC News.

It is so hard to truly understand the level of devastation and suffering happening right now across the country from these fires,” was posted on McKeon’s Instagram. “I am so grateful to the relentless work and sacrifice from the firies, most of who are volunteers, saving thousands of people’s homes and lives, and still continuing.

“From being down at Lake Conjola over the last week, you can feel the way the community has come together to support eachother. Everyone across Australia can come together as a country and support from afar aswell by donating to those who have sadly lost their homes and everything in them, and to the fire fighters and volunteers who are risking their lives daily.”

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It is so hard to truly understand the level of devastation and suffering happening right now across the country from these fires. I am so grateful to the relentless work and sacrifice from the firies, most of who are volunteers, saving thousands of people’s homes and lives, and still continuing. From being down at Lake Conjola over the last week, you can feel the way the community has come together to support eachother. Everyone across Australia can come together as a country and support from afar aswell by donating to those who have sadly lost their homes and everything in them, and to the fire fighters and volunteers who are risking their lives daily. We can often feel helpless from far away but we can do the best we can by donating to those who have lost so much. Sadly our home town in Lake Conjola was hit very badly, and we were extremely lucky to be safe where we were. But our heart goes to the victims who lost so much, and to the place many call home. To help the victims from Lake Conjola’s recent bush fires of New Years follow the link in my bio 🔗 Some other suggestions are: *Australian Red Cross Disaster Recovery and Relief (just google it) You can also support our brave volunteer fire fighters: *NSW RFS Donations Page Those still in the areas, please be safe, we are thinking of you, and to those fighting these devastating fires, THANKYOU, SO SO MUCH🙏🏽

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Gregorio Paltrinieri swims second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history

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Olympic champion Gregorio Paltrinieri swam the second-fastest 1500m freestyle in history, clocking 14:33.10 in his native Italy on Thursday.

Paltrinieri, 25, missed Chinese Sun Yang‘s world record from the 2012 Olympics by 2.08 seconds.

The Italian now owns the second- and third-fastest times in history, including his 14:34.10 from the 2016 European Championships, also held at the 2012 Olympic pool in London.

Paltrinieri is a versatile distance swimmer. At last year’s world championships, he finished sixth in the open-water 10km to qualify for the Olympics, then won the 800m free in the pool in a European record time and finished with 1500m bronze, just missing a third straight world title in that event.

German Florian Wellbrock won the 1500m in 14:36.54 at worlds, with Paltrinieri finishing 2.21 seconds back.

Sun, 28, was in February banned eight years stemming from destroying a drug-test sample with a hammer in September 2018. Sun, who focused more on the 200m and 400m frees in recent years, did not race the 1500m at the 2017 or 2019 Worlds.

Top-level swim meets in the U.S. are scheduled to resume in November with the Tyr Pro Series.

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Bianca Andreescu to miss U.S. Open

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Bianca Andreescu withdrew from the U.S. Open, citing “unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic” compromising her ability to prepare to defend her Grand Slam title.

“I have taken this step in order to focus on my match fitness and ensure that I return ready to play at my highest level,” Andreescu, a 20-year-old Canadian, posted on social media. “The US Open victory last year has been the high point of my career thus far and I will miss not being there. However, I realize that the unforeseen challenges, including the Covid pandemic, have compromised my ability to prepare and compete to the degree necessary to play at my highest level.”

Andreescu’s absence means the U.S. Open, the first Grand Slam tournament since tennis resumed amid the coronavirus pandemic, will be without both 2019 male and female singles champions.

Rafael Nadal previously announced he would not defend his title, saying he would rather not travel given the global situation. Roger Federer is also out after knee surgery. Women’s No. 1 Ash Barty didn’t enter, either, citing travel concerns.

Last year, Andreescu made her U.S. Open title run as the 15th seed, sweeping Serena Williams in the final. Ranked 208th a year earlier, she became the first player born in the 2000s to win a Slam and the first teen Slam winner since Maria Sharapova at the 2006 U.S. Open.

Andreescu then missed the Australian Open in January due to rehab from a knee injury that forced her to retire during a match at the WTA Finals on Oct. 30. She also missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2019 following a rotator cuff tear.

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