Courtesy: Swimming Australia
As the country’s peak open water swimming meet, male and female athletes aged 14 and above will compete for Australian titles in 14 events across two action-packed days, with distances ranging from 5km, to the pinnacle 10km open race.
After COVID-19 thwarted the Tokyo Olympic qualifying process for Australia’s male athletes in 2020, the Men’s 10km Open event will once again be hotly contested, with the top two placegetters progressing through to the Tokyo selection event on 30 May in Fukuoka, Japan. The highest ranked Australian in that race will likely join Noosa’s Kareena Lee on the Australian Olympic Team, after she secured the women’s spot following a top-ten finish in the Women’s 10km event at the 2019 World Swimming Championships.
Eight young athletes will also compete for selection to represent Australia on the open water junior world’s team. The team will consist of the top two male and female finishers in the 16-17 years 7.5km event and the 18-19 years 10km event.
Prize money will no doubt be an added incentive in the Men’s and Women’s 10km Open events, with Swimming Australia awarding a total of $20,000 across the two races for those who secure a top-ten finish. Competitors who land themselves on the podium will receive the highest amounts, with $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place and $1,500 for third place – all the way down to $100 for tenth.
Swimming Australia’s Open Water Performance Manager, Greg Shaw, said he was looking forward to watching the country’s best open water talent go head-to-head.
“It’s been a while since these athletes have had the chance to come together and race, so I’m anticipating some intense competition among all the age categories – especially those fighting for selection to represent Australia at international competitions,” Shaw said.
“We know the Olympic process for the men’s 10km event was disrupted by COVID-19 last year and those athletes who were in contention will be eagerly looking to advance to the next stage in Fukuoka in May.
“With the likes of Hayden Cotter, Bailey Armstrong, Nick Sloman and Kai Edwards battling it out in that race, it will no doubt be a tough contest and one to watch, while in the corresponding 10km women’s event, Olympic qualifier Kareena Lee will headline that race alongside experienced campaigners Chelsea and Chloe Gubecka and rising stars Bianca Crisp and newcomer, Moesha Johnson.
“I’d like to thank the Oz Ski Resort in Coolum for hosting the event and incorporating and implementing all the necessary CovidSafe measures to make sure all athletes, coaches and staff are protected during the competition.”
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What: 2021 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships
When: Saturday 13 to Sunday 14 March 2021
Where: Oz Ski Resort, Coolum Beach QLD
Event Program: View program here