TSS Aquatic’s Kai Edwards and Noosa’s Nick Sloman will travel to Portugal this evening as they prepare to compete head-to-head at the 2021 FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier.
Finishing first and second respectively in the Men’s 10km Open race at the 2021 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships in Coolum, both men are competing for a single ticket to Tokyo.
The Marathon Swim Olympic Qualifier was originally set for Fukuoka, Japan on May 29-30, instead, the event will return for the third consecutive time to Setubal, Portugal, from June 19-20.
Australian Open Water Performance Manager Greg Shaw says the athletes will have challenges both in and out of the water with unfamiliar and unforgiving environments.
“Both Nick and Kai’s coaches will stay in Australia due to COVID-19 limitations and the Olympic Pool Qualifications, so it makes the training process even more important,” he said.
A stark contrast to the warm 30-degree water in Tokyo, Shaw said Edwards and Sloman will be competing in cold waters with wetsuits rather than their usual racing suits.
“They have been training hard whilst figuring out strategies to perform in cooler waters, the conditions differ vastly to those at the Olympics.”
With a truly epic finish in the Australian Open Water Swimming Championships, Edwards managed to narrowly edge out Sloman to claim the gold and his first 10km Australian title – 1:56:11.44 to 1:56:11.86.
Due to the timing of the marathon qualifier clashing with #2021AusTrials in Adelaide this weekend, Edwards and Sloman are unable to compete for a spot in the Olympic Pool Team.
The top nine fastest swimmers of the men’s Open Water 10km (one per nation), will qualify to compete in the mentally and physically challenging event at the Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo next month.