Pack misses the boat as Dutch Ferry powers home with Hayley Anderson in fine touch


Olympic champion Ferry Weertman has caught the field by surprise, swimming a wider line to the finish to capture the Australian Open Water 10km Championship in perfect conditions at SA’s Brighton Beach today.

The 27-year-old Dutchman showed all his endurance and in the end his incredible speed to steel a march on a classy 35-strong international-strong field.

Ferry Weertman touch

FERRY NICE: Olympic champion Ferry Weertman a clear winner of today’s Australian Open water 10km. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).

With all eyes on the pack, led by the USA’s former World Champion, who will become a two-time Olympian in Tokyo, Jordan Wilimovsky, Australians, two-time Australian champion Nick Sloman and recent Lorne Pier-to-Pub winner Hayden Cotter and Israel’s Matan Roditi, it was Weertman (1:55.45.24) who introduced a massive six-beat kick to claim the win and $2,500 winners cheque.

“When Jordan picked up the pace early in the race it made it really tough, specially as I was quite far back for the entire race,” said Weertman.

“I was just trying to get to the front and in the last straight I finally caught up to the leading pack and I picked my own line and everyone was fighting off to the right and I had the perfect position.”

The California-kid Wilimovsky (1:55.49.46), coached by Dave Kelsheimer at Santa Monica had set the pace for almost the entire race and he out-touched Noosa’s Sloman (1:55.49.63) and Israel’s Matan Roditi (1:55.49.96).

Nick Sloman swimming

STROKED: Noosa’s Nick Sloman shows the style that makes him one of Australia’s bright new open water stars. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).

Then followed Canadian Jon McKay (1:55.53.32), Cotter (1:55.58.93), the USA’s Nicholas Norman (1:56.05.59), North Coast WA’s 19-year-old Jack Wilson (1:57.13.62) and Perth City’s 21-year-old Nicholas Rollo (1:57.20.90).


TOP FIVE: (L-R) Ferry Weertman (NED), Nick Sloman (Noosa), Jordan Wilimovsky (USA), Nicholas Rollo (City of Perth) Riley Clout (TSS Aquatic). Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).

The Aussie title went to the John Rodgers coached Sloman for a third time from Harley Connolly’s 19-year-old emerging Belgravia Caboolture star Cotter, with WA pair Rollo (coached by Matt McGee) and Wilson (coached by Ian Mills) who will all be funded by Swimming Australia as the top four to contest the Fina Series race in Doha – the next step in the Tokyo Olympic selection process.

Sloman admitted he “enjoys racing the big fellas” and says he knows he is capable of keeping up with them and it’s more of a challenge.

“That’s why I do the sport, the 10km is….a challenge; hopefully one day I (too) can be crowned world champion….every time I get in I learn something new and I have to get more experience so I can keep up with those guys,” Sloman said.

“And with the prizemoney (included this year) it’s a good thing….and I think they should keep that initiative and keep attracting the internationals which will make for exciting races. This has been the best year with the quality of the internationals.”

Cotter too relished the challenge saying he too knew the international boys would control the race.

“They’ve had a lot of practice at it, so it was (a case) of see what they do and stay on their feet pretty much and work into the race from there. It’s good with the best in Australia here and the best internationals as well and to have that level of competition at our Nationals.

“Last year was my first open 10 km and I’ve done some more since then and I’m really getting more experience at it to be honest; it’s good to race the big boys to see where I’m at and I’ve learnt heaps in every race.”

The journey continues for the Australian boys with the top two Aussies from Doha to contest the Olympic qualifier in Fukuoka in May with the first Australian in the top nine or first Oceania swimmer home will take the one spot open for the Australian Olympic Team.

They will join Noosa’s Kareena Lee, who achieved automatic qualification with her seventh-place finish at last year’s World Championships in Korea.

Hayley Anderson out-touches Kareena Lee and Ashley Twichell in Tokyo 2020 rehearsal

And the women’s race had a real 2020 Olympic feel about it with Tokyo-bound trio  Hayley Anderson (USA) Lee (Noosa, Australia) and Ashley Twichell (USA) filling the first three places in a thrilling finish.

Womens touch 10k

TOUCH 1-2: Hayley Anderson from the USA just gets Australia’s Kareena Lee in a touch and go finish at Brighton Beach. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr)

Noosa’s 26-year-old Lee, with the wise old wolf John Rodgers prowling the Jetty, led the pack through the second half of the race and appeared to edge in front inside 100 metres to go in what had developed into a real neck-and-neck tussle and it was always going to come down to the touch.

(L-R Ashley Twichell

STROKE FOR STROKE: (From the top) Ashley Twichell (USA), Kareena Lee (Noosa, Australia) and Jordan White (SLC Aquadot, Australia).  Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).

The vastly experienced 28-year-old Anderson – an Olympic silver medallist in London over 10km – put her head down, produced a couple of strong strokes, edged in front and got the touch by 0.30 – in a time of 2:03.28.05 to Lee’s 2:02.28.35 with Twichell third in 2:02.29.88.

Australia’s 21-year-old 2016 Rio Olympian Chelsea Gubecka (Yeronga Park) and under coach, Olympian himself Rob Van Der Zant, kept with the Olympic feel, with her close up fourth in 2:02.31.17.

Gubecka was followed by 19 years age group winner Mackenzie Brazier (Kawana) 2:02.35.19, under experienced open water coach Michael Sage, with former American Eva Fabian (Israel) 2:02.35.32, next and then Bianca Crisp (TSS Aquatic, Southport) 2:02.35.83, under Chris Nesbit at The Southport School, Kathryn Campbell (USA) 2:02.53.54, Jordan White (SLC Aquadot) 2:03.06.62, 18-year-old age group winner Chloe Gubecka (Kawana) 2:04.41.34, Ebony Blackstone (Yeronga Park) 2:04.55.57 and Mikkayla Messer (Nudgee College) 2:05.53.14.

Chelsea Gubecka Kareena Lee Bianca Crisp

AUSTRALIAN CHAMPIONSHIP MEDALLISTS: Chelsea Gubecka (Yeronga Park), Kareena Lee (Noosa), Bianca Crisp (TSS Aquatic). Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).

Kareena Lee hugs Mackenzie Brazier

HUGS START HERE: Tokyo Olympian Kareena Lee gives emerging youngster a nice welcome home after the 10km women’s championship in Adelaide. Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).


JETTY JUMPERS: The Men’s field heads out into the wild blue yonder for today’s Australian Open Water 10km Championship at SA’s iconic Brighton Beach.  Photo Courtesy: Swimming Australia (Delly Carr).



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