Duel In The Pool: Dolphins Surge Past Team USA In A Close Open Water Call at Bondi Beach

TEAM AUS Kareen lee, Kai Edwards, Chelsea Gubecka and Kyle Lee
BONDI BATHERS: Australia's triumphant open water team (L-R) Kareena Lee, Kai Edwards, Chelsea Gubecka and Kyle Lee who staged a neck-and-neck duel with team USA at iSydney's conic Bondi Beach today. Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Duel In The Pool: Dolphins Surge Past Team USA In A Close Open Water Call at Bondi Beach

The fast finishing Australian Dolphins took advantage of home waters to draw first blood when the Duel In the Pool kicked off at Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach this morning.

The Australians came from behind to defeat the USA in the innovative 4 x 800m open water relay off Sydney’s internationally acclaimed surfing mecca – home to so many historic surf lifesaving carnivals and the legendary troop of Bondi Lifeguards.

Kyle Lee claims the win

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER: Kyle Lee all smiles with the Team AUS win Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

With the US deciding to swim their men David Johnston and Charlie Clark first the Aussies went with their Olympian women’s pairing of Chelsea Gubecka and Kareena Lee – leaving their third Olympian Kai Edwards and WA rookie Kyle Lee had to pull out all stops to overtake Olympian Bella Sims and rookie Tylor Mathieu to claim the narrow victory.

Race Footage

AAP reported that Lee entered the water 18 seconds behind Mathieu and trailed by nine seconds halfway into the final leg, before taking the lead with 20m remaining and holding on to claim crucial Duel in the Pool points.

“My team put me in a very good position,” Lee told AAP after the win. “I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get them but I just tried to do my best and catch them.

“It was a pretty close finish. Once I went past Tylor I could see that she was still at my feet so I knew I couldn’t back off at the end.”

AUS v USA in OW duel

DUEL CITIZENS; Australia takes a narrow lead….Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

The US made a fast start with male swimmers Clark and Johnston but it was Tokyo Olympian Edwards, now training in Sydney for Paris in 2024, who pulled back the margin slightly on the third leg against the 17-year-old US star Sims, but Kyle Lee still had plenty to do to claim the win.

Lee is also targeting a first Olympics appearance in two years time and showed in the water off Bondi that he’s still holding the form that led him to fifth over 25km and eighth over 5km races at the recent World Championships in Budapest.

The 20-year-old from WA will also swim the broken 800m freestyle at the Duel when the first session of the two-day Pool events start at the Sydney Olympic pool tomorrow night.

“At the world champs I did the 25km, so this was definitely something different,” Lee told AAP.

“We train for the longer-distance events so the back end of our race was going to be our stronger point.”

Catch me if you can

LAST LEG:  USA hanging on with the Team AUS in hot pursuit. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Mathieu admitted she had fun in her first international competition.

“It was very exciting to compete for Team USA. I’m going to build on that performance, I think I swam well so I am going to try and put up some good times (in the pool,” Mathieu said.

And Clark agreed, saying: ““You know, it was so fun getting to swim a race in such an iconic place like Bondi Beach.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity to represent Team USA. I went to the last Duel in the Pool they had in 2015 in Indianapolis, and I watched, so, to be able to compete for Team USA the next time they have Duel in the Pool it is honestly a dream come true to do this.”

Johnston said it was cool to be able to talk to the Aussies before he swam, making friends in the midst of battle.

“I haven’t done much open water racing, but I used the nerves to my advantage. This was a good warm up for pool racing,” Johnson said.

While Sims said she felt really good, “almost like it was only a 600m. It’s always an honour to represent Team USA. I love this team so much. It is an honour to rep the stars and stripes.”

While this is the fourth time Australia has faced the US in a Duel in the Pool meet – the last time was in Sydney in 2007 – this is the first clash to include an open-water event.

Hands Up for US with AUS ready to Pounce


Kyle Lee Ready to go

KYLE LEE STAYING FOCUSED…..Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Style of an Olympic silver medallist

CHELSEA GUBECKA AND THE FAMOUS BONDI PAVILLION….Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Kareena Lee armed and dangerous

KAREENA LEE ARMED AND DANGEROUS Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

TEAM AUS Kareen lee, Kai Edwards, Chelsea Gubecka and Kyle Lee

TEAM AUS: Kareena Lee, Kai Edwards, Chelsea Gubecka and Kyle Lee. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

Chelsea Gubecka ready to rock

CHELSEA GUBECKA and CHARLIE CLARK IN THE FRAME…Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia)

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3 months ago

well done Chelsea and team.