Nick Sloman Leads Noosa To a 1-2 Finish Ahead Of Thomas Raymond In Australian 10km Open Water Championship

Nick Sloman fist pump 2022
TOO QUICK: Noosa's Nick Sloman claims his fourth Australian 10km Open Water title in WA.Photo Courtesy Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Noosa’s Nick Sloman has snatched his fourth Australian 10km Open Water title in Busselton, WA today in a frantic 1-2 finish with his Sunshine Coast training partner Thomas Raymond.

It was another coaching triumph for veteran master coach John Rodgers – who steered Kareena Lee to Australia’s first open water Olympic medal – the bronze in Tokyo in 2021.

But it was the disappointment of missing out on the touch in the 2021 race to Olympian Kai Edwards that drove 26-year-old Sloman to the finish in the closing stages, praising 20-year-old Raymond and coach Rodgers after the race.

In a dramatic sprint to the touchpad Sloman hit the finish board just ahead of Raymond, who has been in the expanding Noosa group for the past 12 months with Edwards (Carlile, NSW) and Bailey Armstrong (USC Spartans) fighting neck-and-neck and touching the board simultaneously – with the official placings yet to be announced.

Here Nick Sloman gives an insight into how the race unfolded.

“The plan was to make sure I didn’t push it too hard..and I knew the boys were hurting coming into that last lap and I didn’t want it to be a repeat of 2021 when I missed out on the touch to Kai,” said Sloman.

“I wanted to make sure that I set a quick enough pace when the boys were hurting and I could get the job done coming in to that finish.

“The conditions were ideal, water temperature of 24 degrees, a little choppy which played into my advantage, my wash wasn’t as easy to stay on.There were a few jelly fish out there but they weren’t too bad, nothing to worry about…it was perfect really.”

Sloman admitted he and coach Rodgers had been working really hard on his weaknesses.

“Upon reflection of my past races and what I did wrong, we have tried to fix that and we discovered that off the back of selection races my thresholds were not where they needed to be in comparison to international racing so I have worked really hard to try and improve that.

(Threshold training: Swimming at a pace that will improve your lactate threshold speed for significant improvement in speed for distance swimming).

“We’ve had the likes of Olympic champion Florian Wellbrock trying almost a time trial strategy off the back of Tokyo so I feel that’s where international racing’s going.

“I have been working really hard with JR o work on that strategy and to improve that part of my racing and today was a reflection of that, trying to see how my body could cope at that speed and see how it was leading into the next race in Israel and the World Championships.”

On the depth of the Australian men’s program?

“It is getting stronger and stronger and the Australian Championships is probably the hardest to win and everyone knew what I was capable of and they knew what I was trying to work through with my strategies,” said Sloman.

“I had the likes of Kyle Lee (North Coast, WA) and Kai Edwards pushing up onto my hip trying to slow me down and I was aware of that and I just wanted to make sure I was in clean water that whole way and it got pretty close towards the end there.

“Kyle managed to squeeze up on my outside, coming into that last lap and if it wasn’t for Tommy Raymond actually breaking away on his off side it probably would have been even a tighter finish.

“It has actually been pretty good having Tommy there training with me and pushing me along the way – we’ve got some pretty good depth at Noosa now which is good to see and the hard work really paying off.

“Tommy has had 12 months in our program and he has just gone from strength to strength – the work we’ve been doing has been pretty good for him.

“He is pushing me the whole way too and making sure I become a better athlete myself.”