Twenty-one year old Ollie Signorini has been making waves in the open water swimming scene for a few years and the reigning Australian Open Surf Race champion could be the boy to beat in Brighton at the 2018 Australian Open Water Swimming Championships in Adelaide this weekend.
A feature event of Australia swims – a campaign developed by Swimming Australia and Optus, the Australian Open Water Championships that run from Friday 26 to Sunday 28 January will see over 360 of the toughest swimmers from across Australia descend on the iconic Brighton Beach in Adelaide to take on the Marathon ocean swims and race for a chance to gain qualification points for the 2018 Pan Pacific Open Water Championships in Japan.
While the age group swimmers will be racing for a spot on the World Junior Open Water Championships team.
With a live DJ on the Pier powered by Optus on site, the event is set to be a fun day out for all the family.
South Australian Tourism Minister Leon Bignell said the event was a favourite among spectators and encouraged the public to get out and support the competitors.
“It’s great to have the Open Water Swimming Championships back in Adelaide again, following on from the success of the 2017 event,” Minister Bignell said.
“We’ve invested an additional $70 million in tourism funding to market South Australia nationally and internationally and attract major events and conferences – which includes securing five major swimming events for the State in the next three years.
“The influx of visitors from these events helps support South Australia’s record $6.3 billion visitor economy and I know local businesses will make them feel very welcome.
“South Australia has some of the best beaches in the world and it’s fantastic to have opportunities like this to show them off.”
“We’re looking forward to hosting swimmers from across the country at beautiful Brighton beach and I wish all competitors luck this weekend.”
Open Water Program Manager and Swimming Australia’s Pathway Performance Manager Jamie Salter said this was the first step in the qualification process.
“We wanted to make 2018 about quality international racing exposure which is why we made the World Cups part of the Pan Pacs qualification process,” Salter said.
“This weekend we will support the top four male and top four female swimmers from the national 10km events to race at the Doha (17/03), Portugal (9/06) and Balatonfured (16/06) FINA Open Water World Cups.
“From here, the swimmers will gain points depending on their finishing position and will have also, hopefully, gained confidence and vital experience from the qualification process.”
One of those vying for vital selection points will be up and comer, Signorini a self-confessed water lover who has swum almost every day for the past 10 months.
“I have been lucky enough to swim all round the world in London, Wales, Fiji, Hawaii, Hong Kong and almost every swim there is around Australia – from Palm Beach to Manly and Bondi,” Signorini said.
“I have lost count just how many swims I’ve done and at last count, I reckon it’s been 10 months since I missed a day in the water and that was only because I flew to England.
“It’s either training at Manly or Narrabeen pools under my coach Justin Rothwell at the Carlile Swim Club, in the surf at Narrabeen or Newport or in the pool at home.
“It’s a rare day that I’m not in the water, either the pool or the surf.
“I can’t get enough of it – it’s just what I do.”
And Signorini isn’t slowing down, taking on a number of pool and ocean swims in the last week alone.
An ambassador for Australia Swims, Signorini raced at the NSW State Swimming Championships last weekend in the 400 and 1500m freestyle events, and tackled the 2km Optus Swim Sydney Harbour on Saturday, taking line honours ahead of Iron Man Champion Ali Day.
His competition this weekend will come in the form of World Championship debutant from 2017, 18-year-old Jack Brazier and 2013 and 2015 World Championship representative 29-year-old Simon Huitenga.
Gold medallist from the 2017 Australian Open Water Championships and Canadian representative at the 2017 FINA Open Water World Championships in Budapest, Canada’s Eric Hedlin will once again be in the mix for a medal and no doubt hoping to replicate his results from last year.
In the corresponding 10km women’s event, Chelsea Gubecka will be hoping to take the Australian 10km title for the fourth time in her career.
The 19-year-old who won her first Australian title in 2013 will have to get the better of younger sister and protégé Chloe and her fellow training partner Mackenzie Brazier who will both be looking for their breakthrough swim.
Keep an eye on World Championship representative Kareena Lee who could also challenge for the title.
The three day program will incorporate a range of events including 5, 7.5 and 10km events plus a 2.5km Junior Excellence clinic.
Races will start from 7am with performances and temperatures both set to sizzle.
Press release courtesy of Swimming Australia.