SwimmingLocal WA Hero Kyle Lee Wins A 5Km Thriller With Nic Sloman...

Local WA Hero Kyle Lee Wins A 5Km Thriller With Nic Sloman In A Fitting Finale To Australian Open Water Championships

Local hero Kyle Lee has left his mark on the 2023 Australian Open Water Championships in Busselton, WA, with a thrilling final touch win over Noosa’s established star Nic Sloman in today’s men’s 5km National title in Busselton.

Cheered on by a vocal local crowd, the 21-year-old from Bunbury, just 50km up the coastline from Busselton, fought tooth and nail as the pair swam stroke-for-stroke in a real dogfight to the Jetty finish line.

In a week of dynamic racing and close finishes, Lee and Sloman put on a real show – Lee claiming the victory by just 0.06 after – the WA boy from the North Coast Club in Karrinyup (Perth) covering the course in 55 minutes 20.90 secs to Sloman’s 55:20.96.

Sloman, had defended his 10km Olympic distance qualifier earlier in the week from team mate Thomas Raymond with Olympian Kai Edwards (Carlile, NSW) and Bailey Armstrong (USC Spartans, QLD) dead-heating for third, with Lee just behind in fifth.

Today it was Edwards in third, ahead of Lee’s North Coast club mate Jack Wilson with Raymond fifth in yet another strong showing of the exciting depth in the Australian Open water program as the Olympic selection race hots up for Paris and Los Angeles in 2028.

SHE’S APPLES: Kyle Lee emerging as a new super talent in Australian Open Water swimming. Photo Courtesy: Delly Carr (Swimming Australia).

Lee backed up today after pulling out all stops yesterday for the Ian Mills coached North Coat team to win an equally thrilling Mixed 4x1500m relay with a stunning anchor after Wilson, Chloe Truscott and Rose Wilson had laid the foundations.

(The 4x1500m relay is very much on the Olympic drawing board for Los Angeles in 2028 – 20 years after the 10km event was first swum on the Olympic program in Beijing in 2008).

Lee had a considerable margin to draw back at the beginning of his leg in the relay but timed his swim to perfection, employing his powerful kick to find clear water in the final straight and coast to victory ahead of Japan, Yeronga Park, QLD and Westside, Christchurch, NZL, again thrilling the home crowd.

23 AUS OW W Maddy Gough

GIMME FIVE: Maddy Gough (Carlile, NSW) a happy winner of the 5km National title. Photo Courtesy: Adam Crane/Salt Diaries

Meanwhile in today’s women’s 5km Australian Championship, Olympian Maddy Gough (Carlile NSW) – third in the 10km Championship outing on Wednesday, added another National gold to her collection – first winning the 5km Championship in 2020 in Adelaide.

The former Coffs Harbour girl, who made her mark under coach Chris Nesbitt at TSS on the Gold Coast produced a stylish performance to beat 10km winner Chelsea Gubecka (Yeronga Park, QLD), ahead of their team mates Kayla Martin (Carlile, NSW) and the consistent Bianca Crisp (Yeronga Park), coming hoe fourth, as she did in the 10km. Gough, Edwards and Martin now form the nucleus at Carlile, as Nesbitt adds his coaching magic as he builds up the one-time NSW swimming powerhouse.

Perth’s North Coast were awarded the C.B “Berry” Rickards trophy as the Champion Club of the 2023 Australian Open Water Championships with 331 points, ahead of Yeronga Park on 275 and Noosa on 253.

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