Published: Feb 5, 2013 04:39:36 PM Updated: Mar 19, 2013 09:23:45 AM
From Friday February 8 to Sunday February 10 over 470 swimmers from 129 clubs will descend on Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre, Lake Macquarie to take part in the 2013 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships.
Among the competitors will be seasoned open water swimmers and siblings Codie and Trent Grimsey who will be battling it outfor a place on the FINA World Championship Open Water team bound for Barcelona in July this year.
Older brother Trent will be racing with a renewed confidence, fresh off the back of a memorable 2012 where he set a new world record crossing the English Channel and was crowned FINA Grand Prix champion for the year.
Meanwhile, younger brother Codie has been steadily climbing the open water ranks after winning gold in the 10km event at the 2010 Oceania Championships and representing Australia at the 2011 World Championships in Shanghai.
But the brothers will face tough competition this year, with the men’s open 10km reigning Australian champion from 2011 and 2012, Rhys Mainstone and 2012 open 5km champion and Olympic debutant in the 1500m freestyle Jarrod Poort also fighting for selection on the Australian team.
Swimming Australia Head Coach Leigh Nugent said this event has a real mix of experience and emerging talent.
“This event will showcase Australia’s top Open Water swimming talent, with swimmers ranging in age and experience levels, it will be interesting to see who can put their hand up for selection onto our senior team.
The men’s 5 and 10km races will be a real battle with many participants recording outstanding results from the 2012 season. From a coach’s point of view it’s fantastic that the field is so tough, I’m looking forward to seeing some high quality races this weekend,” Nugent said.
Dual Olympian Melissa Gorman will be flying the flag for the women this weekend and if the recent BHP Billiton Aquatic Super series is anything to go by, the 27-year-old is in fine form.
The Queenslander picked up $15,000 after taking out the open water challenge in Perth last month, finishing the marathon swim in a season’s best time of 1 hour 56:49.79.
The Queenslander said she is feeling good about the race this weekend and is excited to see some of the young swimmers step up and challenge for the title.
“I’m really looking forward to racing this weekend, I feel fit and ready to go.
After seeing some of the younger swimmers train at the National Open Water Camp a few weeks ago, I know there will be some young girls right on my back, pushing for selection, but hopefully that drives me to dig deeper and really put the challenge out to them,” Gorman said.
South Australian Leah Cutting will be one of those emerging swimmers wanting to stay hot on Gorman’s heels.
After taking the title of 5km Open Water champion in 2012 and finishing third behind Gorman in Perth last month, Cutting could sneak into second place and be eligible for selection.
The Championships will kick off with a Swimming Australia Junior Excellence clinic and 2.5km swim on Friday with the men and women’s 10km and 5km events to be held on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
For more event information visit www.swimming.org.au