The country’s top open water swimmers will converge on the scenic shores of Adelaide’s Brighton Beach this weekend for the 2020 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships to vie for national titles, selection on Australian teams and prize money.
As Australia’s pinnacle open water swimming meet, male and female athletes will compete in 21 events between 25-27 of January, including the Men’s and Women’s Open 10km, Boys and Girls 18 & 19 years 10km and Boys and Girls 16 & 17 years 7.5km.
The competition excitingly marks the start of the 2020 Olympic selection process for male athletes. Noosa’s Kareena Lee has already secured the women’s spot on the Australian Olympic Team from her performance at the World Championships last year in South Korea.
Male athletes who score a top-four finish in the 10km Open event in Adelaide will be selected to attend February’s Marathon Swim World Series in Doha. The highest two placegetters in Doha will then travel to an Olympic selection event in Japan in May, with the Australian who finishes higher in the top nine, securing the coveted Olympic spot alongside Lee.
In addition to the Olympic process, Swimming Australia will also select eight young athletes based on performances in Adelaide to pull on the green and gold for the World Junior Open Water Championships. The team, which will travel to the Seychelles in August, will consist of the top two male and female athletes in the 18 & 19 years 10km and 16 & 17 years 7.5km.
For the first time in the competition’s history prize money will also be on offer, providing yet another layer of incentive for fierce and fast racing among athletes at Brighton Beach. Swimming Australia will be awarding $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place in the 10km race and 5km time trial in both men’s and women’s categories.
Swimming Australia’s General Manager – Paralympic & Open Water Programs, Adam Pine, said he was looking forward to the first event of 2020, with the timing of the event and the prize money on offer luring some strong international competitors.
“With the Olympics, Paralympics and World Junior Open Water Championships only six to seven months away, this year is going to be such an exciting year for our sport, so I can’t wait to witness our first bout of intense racing this weekend,” Pine said.
“There’ll be high stakes for many of the competitors including our male and junior athletes, who will be looking to advance to the next stage of the Olympic nomination process or make the Junior Worlds team respectively.
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge for every athlete as the fields for all the races are very strong. Last year’s reining champs are competing, Noosa’s Kareena Lee and Nick Sloman, while there’s also been a host of tough international competition who have made the trip over, including the Netherland’s Olympic champion, Ferry Weertman.”
“I’d also like to thank the South Australian Tourism Commission for hosting this event for the fourth consecutive year and the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club for all their support on the ground. It’s always a popular event with a wonderful atmosphere and I encourage locals to head down on the Australia Day long weekend and support our athletes.”
Premier Steven Marshall said it is a proud moment for South Australia to host another world-class event and one that will help select 2020 Olympic teams.
“South Australia is hosting a spectacular summer of sporting and international events, and this weekend’s Australian Open Water Swimming Championships are yet another highlight on our state’s exciting sporting calendar,” said Mr Marshall.
“Events like these, with top level sporting talent, are not only great for spectators and fans, but also help attract visitors from interstate and overseas.
“It will also put Adelaide and our beautiful beaches on the global stage, as it is a key part of the selection criteria for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” said Mr Marshall.
The Australian Open Water Swimming Championships take place at Brighton Beach in Adelaide between 25-27 January.
To access live race results during the competition, click here.
What: 2020 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships
When: 25-27 January 2020
Where: Brighton Beach, Adelaide
Event Program: View program here