Press Release courtesy of NZ Open Water
Gisborne swimmer Matt Scott opens the season with double honours in the 2018 New Zealand Open Water Championships in Taupo.
Scott (Enterprise, Gisborne) who is a Swimming New Zealand National Training Centre member, successfully defended his Open 10km men’s title on Saturday and won the 5km men’s title on Sunday.
“I’m really happy with the win but I didn’t have it all my way out there, it got pretty rough in the first couple of laps so I decided I’d had enough and made a move on the third lap,” said Scott.
His race tactics on the field at the half way mark proved a telling point of the race as Scott pulled away from a lead group of swimmers which also included Michael Mincham (United, Auckland), David Boles (Swim Rotorua, Rotorua), Quinton Hurley (Jasi, Christchurch) and Sebastien Priscott (Waterhole, Auckland).
Scott finished well ahead of the field, in a time of 1:59.47.54 ahead of David Boles in 2:00.22.82 and Sebastien Priscott in 2:03.06.31.
The Open 10km women’s race was a much closer affair with Stefannie Gillespie (Zenith, Dunedin) taking the win by 0.34 seconds from Kate Dryden (Australia) in a sprint finish.
Gillespie and Dryden pulled away from Mia Pugh (Greerton, Tauranga) and Maiana Flament (New Caledonia) to battle it out stroke for stroke in the final one hundred meters.
“I was pretty confident that I’d got the win, even though it was really close. I’ve had a few finishes like that where I’d come second, so it was nice to finally get a win, and a new PB (personal best),” said Gillespie.
The female championships were blown wide open with defending champion Charlotte Webby a late scratching.
“I was definitely feeling a lot more confident with Charlotte not racing but it was still a tough battle out there today”
Gillespie finished with a time of 2:11.59.22, with Dryden (2:11.59.56) and Pugh (2:12.08.85) taking home the silver and bronze medals.
Gillespie decided to not swim the 5km championship race to try and conserve her energy. “I go to Adelaide in a couple of weeks for the Australian Open Water Championships and I learnt a lesson from last year where I swam both events here and didn’t have anything left in Australia.”
The 5km men’s championship race also came down to the wire with Scott out touching 2016 champion Boles.
Scott finished with a time of 59:56.86, Boles 59:57.17 and Quinton Hurley third in 59:57.93.
The New Zealand Championship was the first step for Scott who hopes to qualify for the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships later this year. Scott will also head to the Australia champs which is also a Pan Pacific qualifier.
The women’s 5km championship race was also a tight finish with 15 year-old Maiana Flament from New Caledonia winning the visitors gold medal in 1:05.34.11.
Mia Pugh was the first Kiwi home in 1:05.40.45 to win the NZ Championship. The 16 year-old from Bethlehem College in Tauranga also added the NZ Secondary School Open Water 5km and 10km titles to a successful weekend.
The New Zealand Open Water Championships form part of the successful annual Epic Swim which has attracted over 900 swimmers including internationals, competing in a range of open water swims from 100m for children to the 17.5km event.
Men 10km: Matt Scott (Enterprise) 1:59.47.54, 1; David Boles (Rotorua) 2:00.22.82, 2; Sebastien Priscott (Waterhole) 2:03.06.31, 3; Michael Mincham (United) 2:04.00.30, 4; Quinton Hurley (Jasi) 2:04.28.16, 5.
Women 10km: Stefannie Gillespie (Zenith) 2:59.34, 1; Kate Dryden (Australia) 2:11.59.56, 2; Mia Pugh 2:12.08.85 (Greerton), 3; Maiana Flament (New Caledonia) 2:12.13.00, 4; Kaitlyn Sosa (Fairfield) 2:18.16.23, 5.
Men 5km: Matt Scott (Enterprise) 59:56.86, 1; David Boles (Rotorua) 59:57.17, 2; Quinton Hurley (Jasi) 59:57.93, 3; Sebastien Priscott (Waterhole) 1:00.00.42, 4; Danyon Hardie (Ace) 1:00.28.58, 5.
Women 5km: Maiana Flament (New Caledonia) 1:05.34.11, 1; Mia Pugh (Greerton) 1:05.40.45, 1 (NZ); Kaitlyn Sosa 1:05.43.85, 2 (NZ); Jacey Cropp (North Shore) 1:05.46.71, 3 (NZ); Alena Kamper (Napier Aquahawks) 1:05.54.27, 4 (NZ); Sierra Thomas 1:07.16.55, 5 (NZ).