Eight of the country’s most prominent open water swimmers will travel to Doha this weekend, as they prepare to compete at FINA’s 2019 Marathon Swim World Series.
The seven-part series begins on Saturday 16 February in the capital of Qatar, with events to follow throughout the year in Seychelles, Portugal, Hungary, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Macedonia and China.
Fresh from competing at the 2019 National Open Water Championships in Adelaide last month, the selected squad comprises of four male and four female athletes who will all compete in the 10km Open event at Doha Corniche.
With this race forming part of the qualification process for the FINA World Championships in Korea later this year – with the top ten in the men’s and women’s 10km event qualifying forTokyo Olympics in 2020 – there’s no doubt the stakes will be high.
After successfully defending his gold medal in the Men’s 10km event at Brighton beach, Noosa’s Nick Sloman will be hoping to gain valuable international race experience, as will his fellow place getters, silver medallist Kai Edwards (TSS Aquatic) and bronze medallist Bailey Armstrong (Kawana Waters).
Emerging squad member from Lawnton, Hayden Cotter, who took out the Boy’s 18-year-old 10km race as well as top honours in this year’s Pier to Pub, will also be looking to test his aggressive race style against quality opposition in Doha.
Hailing from Queensland, the Gubecka sisters – Chelsea (Yeronga Park) and Chloe (Kawana Waters) – will travel together to compete, with Chelsea aiming to qualify for her fourth World Championships and Chloe striving to make her first appearance.
Noosa’s Kareena Lee, who secured her first Women’s 10km Open Water National title in January and holds a silver medal from last year’s Pan Pacs in Japan, will be looking to capitalise on her momentum when she competes on the world stage, as will her new training partner Mackenzie Brazier, who completes the eight-athlete team.
Accompanying the swimmers will be four coaches, including Noosa’s John Rogers, Kawana Waters’ Michael Sage, Lawnton’s Harley Connolly and Yeronga Park’s Rob Van der Zant.
While most of the team heads for Doha on Saturday, Sloman and Lee have already travelled part of the way, arriving in Durban (South Africa) for a one-mile open water race. Once completed, they’ll make their way to Qatar and join the rest of the team.
Follow all the action from Doha by connecting with Swimming Australia’s social media channels: @swimmingaustralia on Instagram and @swimmingAUS on Twitter.
Meanwhile, a number of the country’s emerging open water swimmers will take part in an Open Water Development camp at Lake Ainsworth next week. Click here to read more!