In the first step for FINA World Championships qualification, New Zealand swimmers Charlotte Webby and Matthew Scott took their nation’s Open Water Championship titles over the weekend.
At 28 years of age, Webby successfully defended her title from last year, winning the 2017 edition of the race in a time of 2:10.18. Swimming New Zealand High Performance squad member Scott won the men’s title in 2:00.21. Next on the athletes’ qualification agenda is the Australian Open Water Championships later this month, where a top 6 result lands a spot on the World Championship roster.
The NZ Open Water race enacted one of FINA’s newest bylaws, that which set a temperature threshold for when the use of wet suits is actually compulsory for open water events. According to the actual bylaw wording:
BL 8.5 From January 1, 2017, for open water swimming competitions in water with temperature below 20 C, men and women may use either swimsuits (BL 8.4) or wetsuits. When the water temperature is below 18 C, the use of wetsuits is compulsory.
As for Webby’s use of the wet suit, she said, “The aim was just to go out there and see how I’d handle a 10km in a wetsuit, try and lead from the front and just keep going really.
“I’m feeling pretty good, it chopped up during the swim so it made it a little bit harder but it’s fun to swim in a wetsuit and just get out there and race.
“We go to Adelaide in a couple of weeks for the Australian Championships which at this stage is likely to be non-wetsuit so it’s good to trial it today.”
Scott said the following on his race, “It feels pretty good to be honest. I went out just sitting on the hip but we’ve been doing a bit of speed work at training so I knew I could do the last 200m so I wanted to leave it down to that and leave a bit left for Australian Open Water in a couple of weeks.
“The goal was to win it and to do it as comfortably as I could so as soon as we got that group of three I was happy just to sit there and not do much until the end.”