British Quartet Set For Doha Open Water Test As They Prepare For Olympic Qualifier

Alice Dearing - Photo Courtesy: Chloe Knott/ for SwimEngland

A British quartet are set to compete at the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021 in Doha this weekend as part of their preparations for the Olympic qualifier in May.

Alice Dearing and Danielle Huskisson will line up in the women’s race with Jack Burnell and Hector Pardoe in the men’s equivalent at the Katara Beach venue on Saturday 13 March.

The event will see 109 swimmers from across the globe assemble for the first time since the global pandemic began.

It’s a key stepping stone on the road to the Tokyo qualifier in Fukuoka, Japan, in May which is the final chance for Britain to earn places in the Olympic event.

A top-nine finish (limited to one per nation) in the male and female races will earn Team GB one spot in each race at the Games.

Dearing and Huskisson finished 10th and 14th in the equivalent event last year which was their previous competitive outing with Burnell and Pardoe ninth and 10th.

Jack Burnell finish

Britain and England’s Jack Burnell – Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia

Burnell – who recently returned to indoor competition at last month’s Manchester International Swim Meet, alongside Dearing – said in a British Swimming press release:

“It’s a weird one because obviously no-one has really raced for about a year, so it’s all a bit of an unknown.

“There are still risks in going out to Doha, but we made the decision that the reward outweighed the risks in terms of not going into that Olympic qualification race unprepared.

“We want to get this key opportunity in before Fukuoka so that when we do go out there, we know we’ve at least done a little bit of racing and are tuned back into that race feeling.

“I always want to go there and perform and podium, that’s always the aim, but it’s such an unknown where we’re at at this stage.

“It’s not just where I’m at, it’s where the world scene is it. That’ll be interesting to see.”

British Swimming Marathon Lead Bernie Dietzig added:

“This meet is really important for the guys and girls to get back into competition – in the pool you can set up time trials and small-scale meets, but for the marathon, given it’s so dynamic, you need to be in the pack, with the flow of the race.

“This could also potentially be our last and only chance to get a high-quality racing opportunity before Fukuoka.

“Everything is new in terms of COVID and travelling for international competition, but that being said, everyone readily accepts that.

“Masks, sanitisation and social distancing will be in place at all times, but everyone is used to that from day-to-day living.”

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