By Brooke Hanson
HAZELWOOD PONDAGE, Australia. October 7. DAY Two
of the Australian Open Water World Championship trials were swum today at the Hazelwood Pondage in Victoria, with much flatter conditions than Day One. With the added element of rain that drizzled throughout the race, the swimmers were provided with a few of Mother Nature's obstacles.
The 10km event saw 14 competitors, seven men and seven women starting together, all aiming to make the Telstra Dolphins World Championship team to compete at Waikiki Beach, Hawaii in three weeks.
At the 2.5km mark a group of five men had broken away from the pack, with the early pace set by Open water specialist Mark Sailba (NSW) and Queensland newcomer Leigh Bool. The women also formed their own leading pack of four swimmers, with Australian still water representatives Trudee Hutchinson (QLD) and Brooke Townsend (NSW) leading the group through the first lap of the course.
The half way point saw the two white swimming caps of Bool and Saliba lead the field through the turning buoys in the men's event, while in the women's, Townsend led her fellow competitors through the buoys.
The finish of the 10km event saw Queensland's Bool pull away in the last 1.5km. After going stroke for stroke with Saliba, Bool finished first in 2 hours 8 minutes – just twenty seconds ahead of Saliba, with Western Australian Jarrad Nederpelt third.
After the race, Bool, from the Ipswich Vikings Club in Brisbane, was congratulated by coach Ron Birch who was already celebrating with a bottle of the amber fluid. Unfortunately for Bool, he had to stick to a Powerade as he will be competing in the 25km marathon tomorrow morning.
Bool said: "I'm really looking forward to Hawaii. This is my first ever Australian team and will be my first trip overseas. I tired today in the last few kilometres but I'm extremely happy to win today's event."
Saliba was also happy to finish in the top two positions and after a pretty comfortable swim today he is now looking forward to the 25km event tomorrow: "It's definitely taken the pressure off me and I'm looking forward to swimming well tomorrow."
The women's competition saw Trudee Hutchinson of Redcliffe Leagues Lawton Club in QLD win the 10km event and she will now join training partner and second place getter in yesterday's 5km event, Sarah Bowd, on the plane to Honolulu. (Bowd also backed up today to finish third.)
Second place went to NSW swimmer and this year's Oceania champion Brooke Townsend of the Wilkinson Club in Sydney. "I'm relived to make the team and glad it's over, it's now time to re-focus so I'm ready for the Worlds in a few weeks".
Both girls will swim in the Telstra 2000 Australian Short Course Championships to be held at Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre next week (12th – 15th October).
Hutchinson will swim the 200, 400, 800 and 1500 metre freestyle events as well as the 100 and 200m butterfly and three club relays.
Townsend will also compete with a similar program of events with strict instructions from coach Brian Wilkinson on team relay events.
The 25km marathon will be swum tomorrow morning, Day Three of the World trials starting at 10am.
The first FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships will be held at Waikki Beach in Hawaii from October 29 to November 4.