Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Jury is Out: Alannah is In

Today's Australian Open Water Swimming Championship also doubled up as Swimming New Zealand's World Swimming Championships qualification race. 17-year-old Alannah Jury earned her way to the selection to the World Swimming Championships in Roma after finishing third in the 10K race in Sydney.

Getting a little taste of what she will experience at the World Championships, Alannah overcame some aggressive tactics from her competition during the 10K race. Two swimmers were given yellow cards after swimming over Alannah as the lead pack was entering their final lap. Stopping to recover, Alannah caught up and had enough kick to sprint for the coveted world championship spot (she had to finish in the top four to automatically qualify).

Swimming New Zealand Distance and Open Water Programme Manager Philip Rush was delighted. "Alannah was quite outstanding. It was a beautiful swim from her today. The women’s field was very classy and Alannah showed she has learned a lot in a short time. She showed real courage to come back after getting clobbered with only a lap to go. She hung in there and fought really well."

Philip said Alannah worked on different open water swimming tactics and swam well according to her game plan.

On the men's side, Phillip Ryan finished sixth after pushing the pace in the second half after a slow first half of the race. "It was a big effort from Phillip and clearly his best effort at this level. The pace was pretty slow early on and I was delighted that he took the initiative to force the pace. He was only 10 seconds off the podium and that was really pleasing," said Philip (Rush).

Phillip finished 7 seconds outside Swimming New Zealand's selection criteria (to be within 30 seconds of the winner if out of the top four), so Philip (Rush) will present his case to the national governing body for consideration.

Full results can be seen here.

Photo of the 10K start at the 2008 World Championships by blueseventy.

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