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28th January 2009

Swimmers chase Olympic dream on new Wellington waterfront course[]

Swimmers will be taking the first strokes towards potential Olympic selection in the New Zealand Open Water Championships on a new waterfront course in Wellington this weekend.

Thirty-five entries have been received for the 5km and 10km open water swim to be staged on a new course in Oriental Parade on Wellington’s downtown waterfront.

There’s interest in the new 10km event which is now included in the Olympic programme. The championships form the selection race for the Australian Open Water Championships, which in turn will be the selection for the World Championships.

Swimming New Zealand is keen to promote open water swimming with the event initially intended as a test event for the FINA 10km Marathon World Cup which was canceled after a lack of sponsorship.

Wellington’s Casey Glover has entered for the first time to take on experienced Auckland brothers Daniel Ryan and Philip Ryan.

It’s a distinct come down in distance for the 22-year-old Glover (Swim Zone, Wellington) who last year set the fastest time for a crossing of Cook Strait when he clocked 4hr 37 mins.

The Ryan brothers from the Waterhole Club have both competed internationally, usually in battle with Rotorua’s Kane Radford, the former Oceania champion, who is currently in an open water swim scholarship in USA.

The women’s honours may prove a battle between youth and experience.

North Shore teenager Alannah Jury set a new national age group record in medaling at the recent Australian Youth Olympic Festival in Sydney over 800m freestyle, with the Rangitoto College student signaling that she has set her sights on the 10km race at the 2012 London Olympics.

She will have strong competition from Kirsten Cameron, 35, (Ace, Waikato) who represented New Zealand (also known as NZL) Flag of New Zealand at the World Open Water Championships in Italy (also known as ITA) Flag of Italy two years ago, finishing 25th despite a painful rib Template:Injury. The Oceania silver medalist is also a Masters World record holder and won four gold medals at the Masters World Championships two years ago.

The 10km race takes place on Saturday 31 January, 2009, and the 5km on Sunday around a 2.5km lap that starts beside the Freyberg pool and goes around the lighthouse and the fountain in Wellington harbour. The races start at 9.30 am both days.

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