US pair Erica Rose and Klete Keller have given the Americans a golden start to the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships by taking the 5km open water double in Victoria. The open water championships are being swum at The Pondage, headquarters of the Hazelwood Energy Plant near Morwell in south-east Victoria.
Keller, 17, of the Phoenix Swim Club, came from behind to win the men’s event from Australia’s Phillip Brosgarth and New Zealand’s Carl Gordon in a thrilling final kilometer when the lead changed three times. Australia’s other two competitors Mark Saliba, who led for almost the entire race, finished fourth with an ailing world championship silver medalist Ky Hurst in fifth place.
In the women’s event it was all Rose, the Lake Erie Silver Dolphins ace, who confirmed her ranking as the No. 1 woman in the world over 5km. She opened up an early lead and in the end was a comfortable winner from Australia’s 13-year-old rookie Sarah Bowd with the second US swimmer Dawn Heckman taking the bronze.
The other two Australians Trudee Hutchinson and world championship representative Bronwen Whitehead finished fourth and fifth respectively.
The men’s event looked to be in the safe keeping of either Saliba or Brosgarth until US swimmer Keller steamed home over the final 750m. In the end it was Keller who took gold in 55m42s from Brosgarth 55m50s and Gordon 55m51s.
Saliba, who will be the only male to back up for tomorrow’s 25km championship was just one second behind in fourth place in a time of 55m52s.