Minna Atherton Joins Marathon Olympians For Queensland Open Water Championships

HEADS UP: Defending champion Maddy Gough, congratulated by the TSS crew for her Australian 5km Championship win in Adelaide this year. Photo: Courtesy Hanson Media.

Minna Atherton Joins Marathon Olympians For Queensland Open Water Championships

Australia’s only selected Toyko Olympian, marathon champion, Kareena Lee and 2016 Rio open water Olympian Chelsea Gubecka will be joined by world beating backstroker Minna Atherton and a host of pool stars, for Saturday’s 2020 Queensland Open Water Championships.

Minna Atherton AUS, 100m Backstroke Final, 18th FINA World Swimming Championships 2019, 23 July 2019, Gwangju South Korea. Pic by Delly Carr/Swimming Australia. Pic credit requested and mandatory for free editorial usage. THANK YOU.

POOL TO OPEN WATER: Backstroking world beater Minna Atherton out to make a splash in the 5km open water. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

World short course record holder and 2019 World Championship silver medallist in the 100m backstroke, Atherton will join a host of names in the five kilometre State Championship.

She will be joined by her Moreton Bay team mate and middle distance freestyler Alex Grant who will line up in a red-hot men’s field and TSS Aquatic (Southport) distance queens Maddy Gough, Kiah Melverton and Moesha Johnson – who are no strangers to open water.

The 21-strong TSS group, which also includes Commonwealth Games silver medallist in the 200m butterfly and Northcliffe Surf Club’s Australian surf lifesaving gold medallist Laura Taylor are the reigning National champion club and will be amongst 377 swimmers from 67 clubs across Queensland and Northern NSW.


WINNING TRIFECTA: Super coach John “JR” Rodgers with his super two, Kareena Lee and Nick Sloman. Photo Courtesy: Hanson Media.

Other big entries have been received from the powerhouse Rackley Swim Team with 36; Genesis Aquatics (North Brisbane) and Yeronga Park with Chelsea Gubecka amongst its 29 swimmers; Brisbane Jets 17; University of Queensland (UQ) including Jack Ireland with 15; Nudgee College 17.

Then there is Kawana Waters with Bailey Armstrong, Kolby Gubecka and Chloe Gubecka; Belgravia Swim Team with rising star Hayden Cotter and Paralympic gold medallists Brenden Hall and Lakeisha Patterson  and Miami Swim Club all with 11, and John Rodgers Noosa group with Lee and Nick Sloman with a team of 10 swimmers.

They will contest 2.5km and 5km events for Age and Open at the Oz Ski Resort in Coolum on the State’s Sunshine Coast

The country’s leading open water swimmers, including Tokyo hopefuls in marathon and pool have recently come off a solid 10-day high performance training camp in Cairns.

The Camp, conducted at the Trinity Anglican School, included Lee, her Noosa training partner Sloman and fellow males with their eyes on Tokyo qualification Kai Edwards (TSS Aquatic) and Armstrong (Kawana Waters) who were joined by the likes of Commonwealth Games gold medallist Jack McLaughlin and fellow Rio Olympian and bronze medallist Leah Neale (now Chandler) with Gough and Melverton headlining the TSS group.

Gough and Melverton are just as comfortable in the open water as they are in the pool, both having won Australian open water championships, Gough scoring an emphatic victory in Adelaide in January this year.

Swimming Australia Open Water Performance Manager Greg Shaw says the open water fraternity is chomping at the bit to put their practice into racing this Saturday.

“It will be the first hit out for most of them in a long time, for the top open water guys it is effectively the Doha World Cup,” said Shaw.

“Everyone is really excited to get the opportunity to race; it is something we haven’t had a lot of and everyone is ready; there is excitement in the air.

“We are supporting and encouraging our top swimmers to attend and of course the response has been fantastic.

“It is important to get people together to keep that experience moving; it’s really about that hard edge tactical racing that gets us across the line internationally and to replicate that in open water racing is important.”

And with the likes of Tokyo backstroking hope Atherton, who like so many other Australians would have been in Budapest for the start of the ISL this weekend, entered, Shaw said it was important for the open water community to embrace everyone at the moment.

“It is great to see the likes of Minna and so many clubs, everyone is chomping at the bit and to get to them…it will be good to see everyone out and about…and to be able to translate it into good fun and close finishes.

“The women’s 5km will see five of the top 10 swimmers over 1500m in Australia which shows the quality of the field.”

Shaw said the Cairns Camp was: “A really good opportunity to get the swimmers out of Brisbane and to mix with other senior athletes.

Bailey Armstrong thumbs up

STAR QUALITY: Bailey Armstrong, sure tho be in the mix in the 5km Queensland State Championship. Photo Courtesy: Bailey Armstrong.

“It was a great opportunity to get the TSS and Chandler Squads – swimmers like Maddy Gough and Kiah Melverton, Leah Neale (coach Vince Raleigh) to train with Kareena Lee and people like Kai Edwards, Bailey Armstrong and Nick Sloman to train with Jack McLoughlin and other senior athletes.

“A lot of the open water athletes are in age group programs and are not exposed to that kind of mentality and that day-to-day training environment like we did in Cairns.

“Having Duncan Todd (former assistant coach under Michael Bohl and 1992 Barcelona Olympian with Hong Kong) who is the head coach at the Trinity Anglican School was great, a perfect set up for a 10 day camp and we even got out and swam in one of the crater lakes on the Saturday afternoon.”






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1 year ago

Shelley Beaver good article.