Edwards Claims First Aussie Open Water Title; Lee Nabs 3 In A Row


  • March 13th & 14th
  • Ozi Ski Resort, Coolum, Queensland
  • Open Water
  • Results

The 2021 Swimming Australian Open Water Championships took place this weekend, with thrilling finishes having major implications on who moves closer to Olympic qualification.

The men’s 10k race, for instance, saw TSS Aquatic’s Kai Edwards and Noosa’s Nick Sloman separated by less than half a second at the touch, with the former getting his hand on the time pad first.

Edwards’ win here represents his first 10k Australian national title, bursting through with the fingernail finish. Both men have now earned a berth at the final Olympic-qualifying open water event in Fukuoka, Japan, set for May 30th.

The top 9 finishers from unique nations at May’s qualifiers (9 men, 9 women) will advance to the Olympics. Thereafter, the highest placed athlete in the 10km event, not yet qualified or from nations with qualifiers, from each of the 5 IOC-defined continents will advance.

The IOC defines the five inhabited continents as:

  • Africa
  • America (including North America, South America, and Caribbean nations)
  • Asia
  • Europe
  • Oceania (including Australia, New Zealand, and small pacific island nations)

Post-race, Edwards said of his accomplishment, “I’m really stoked to get my first national title in the year of the Olympics – it’s pretty special with the year we had last year and to bounce back and be stronger than ever, it’s a good feeling.

“The start of the race was pretty slow, so I knew it was going to be strong in the second half – you train for nine kilometres and then the last kilometre is a dog fight. I knew I had done the work and it was just a matter of pulling it all together on the day.”

Sloman said of his silver medal, “Obviously no one likes to lose and I did come second, but at the end of the day I’m just trying to get to Fukuoka and I managed to do that.

“The strategy wasn’t quite 100 percent right but we’ll learn from that and hopefully come Fukuoka I can be the first Australian across the line.”

The women’s 10k saw Kareena Lee top the podium to nab her 3rd consecutive title in the event. She beat out TSS Aquatic’s Bianca Crisp, as well as Yeronga Park’s Chelsea Gubecka, who rounded out the top 3 with silver and bronze, respectively.

As for Lee, she already qualified for the Olympic Games by way of her finishing within the top 10 at the 2019 FINA World Championships.

The men’s 5k on Sunday saw Sloman take the title while TSS Aquatic’s Moesha Johnson topped the women’s race.

Already Qualified for Postponed 2020 Olympic Games:

Kareena Lee (Noosa)

Next stage of Olympic Qualification to attend Fukuoka selection event:
Kai Edwards (TSS Aquatic)
Nicholas Sloman (Noosa)

World Junior Open Water Qualifiers to be ratified next week:
Hayden Cotter (Belgravia)
Kyle Lee (North Coast)
Jessica Mouatt (Nudgee College)
Kara Svenson (Bunbury)
Thomas Raymond (Nudgee College)
Ruben Rees (Miami)
Finella Gibbs-Beal (Noosa)
Bianca Walton (Auburn)

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About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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