As Noosa’s Nick Sloman headed into the final lap of the Marathon Swim World Series in Seychelles, the 21-year-old willed himself to “just hold on” as he drew closer and closer to the finish line.
Capitalising on the positive position he found himself in with 1.6km to go, the Queenslander held off fierce competition to claim the silver in the Men’s 10km Race, falling just shy of France’s Marc-Antoine Olivier – 1:56:02.0 to 1:56:04.1.
Speaking to Swimming Australia post-race, Sloman said he had to use every piece of energy he could muster as he powered home in the hot and challenging conditions.
“I felt really good, I built into the race and I managed to have enough energy at the end to really push it with the big guys – although I’m feeling it a little bit now,” Sloman laughed.
“The race went to plan, the tactics paid off and I was really happy with the race. Heading into that final stage I told myself to ‘just hold on, use everything I had left in the tank just so I could get to the wall’. It’s not every day that I’m in that position so it was sort of new for me, but at the end of the day it was all about getting myself in that best position.”
Eyeing off a spot in the Australian team that will travel to July’s World Championships in Korea, Sloman said he’s looking forward to potentially mixing it with the world’s best in similar conditions.
“It’s (South Korea) is expected to be hot like Seychelles, so I’m really looking forward to seeing how other countries who weren’t here today cope with that – I know a lot of people today struggled with the hot conditions. It’s definitely going to go in my favour as I love racing in that warmer weather, so hopefully I can build on what I’ve done today and progress.”
Bailey Armstrong (Kawana Waters) (1:56:14.10), Kai Edwards (TSS Aquatics) (1:56.24.70) and Hayden Cotter (Lawnton) (1:56:29.70) also finished in strong positions – all within the top 10 – with Armstrong placing fifth, Edwards sixth and Cotter seventh. Meanwhile, Perth City teammates Nicholas Rollo (1:57:37.50) and Reilly Kennedy (1:58:01.80) finished 21st and 26th, respectively.
As an emerging open water athlete, Edwards said competing at Seychelles was a valuable learning experience heading into a possible world champs’ campaign.
“It was one of those challenges (the hot temperatures) you’ve just got to deal with and adapt with. It was all about putting yourself in the race and I feel like I was able to do that to a certain point, but I’ve got a lot of steps to improve to get there – it was a big learning curve.”
Sloman’s Noosa teammate Kareena Lee backed up her impressive performance in Doha (where she came second), to finish the Women’s 10km race in sixth position (2:01:55.7) – a result she was pleased with.
“It was a tough race with hot conditions, but I think I finished well, and sixth place is nothing to complain about,” Lee told Swimming Australia post-race.
“That last lap was a bit hectic – I put myself in a good position and then got absolutely creamed on a can (buoy), but I managed to bring it back.”
Also finishing within the top ten was Yeronga Park’s Chelsea Gubecka (2:01:57.1) who touched in eighth position and Noosa’s Mackenzie Brazier (2:01:57.9) who charged home in 10th spot.
Reiterating Lee’s sentiments, Gubecka said it was a tough race, not only with the water topping 30 degrees, but with strong international competition.
“It went pretty well (the race), it was pretty hard conditions as it was quite warm in the water and it was a fairly solid field, but I’m really happy with my result,” Gubecka said.
“It was pretty tough (the last lap), lots of rough and tumble, but I ended up getting through in the end and powered home.”
Gubecka’s sister Chloe – who finished 11th in the first leg in Doha – once again placed 11th in the race (2:01:58.4), while fellow Australians Madisyn Armstrong (Kawana Waters) (2:02:05.5) and Jordan White (SLC Aquadot) (2:04:43.4) finished 17th and 24th respectively. Sacha Downing (Perth City) did not finish.
With the first two legs of FINA’s Marathon Swim World Series acting as selection events for the World Championships in July, two male and female open water swimmers look set to become Australia’s first athletes to secure their seats to Yeosu.
Stay tuned to @swimmingAUS on Twitter, @DolphinsAUS on Instagram and our official website for the pending team announcement.
Full results from the event can be found here.