Nick Sloman and Lani Pallister have revelled in the tough local conditions to continue the dominance of Sunny Coast swimmers at the Titan Noosa 1000 Ocean Swim.
For Sloman it was three in a row and Pallister her second Noosa title in three years, but they didn’t have it all their own way, with the best of Australia’s distance swimmers on display on Noosa’s main beach.
Sloman’s win is the next piece in the puzzle to break superstar Ky Hurst’s long standing Noosa record of 10 wins and a good confidence booster in his preparation for 2020.
“It is good to get the three wins in a row,” he said. “It is always hard against Hayden Cotter and Bailey Armstrong and it was always going to be a battle in three. They are the other guys who are going to be competing for the Olympic spot. Hayden was really pushing me at the end and I got a lucky wave so it was good.
“Today’s conditions have really brought out the surf skills I have learned in nippers over the years. The conditions are always the same it is always blowing a heavy northerly and it brings up the chop. It is challenging and there was a little bit of a sweep but not too strong for the elite swimmers.
“It was good fun out there and I enjoy racing in these conditions, and it was a great race. Three in a row is very special but I want to match or beat Ky Hurst’s record of ten. So, I am just chipping away and making sure I am getting closer,” Nick said.
The Noosa win was a welcome return to Noosa for the Alexandra Headland athlete, who trains at Cotton Tree pool under mum and former Olympian, Janelle Pallister.
“The first time I did the Noosa 1000 was when I was 14, back in 2016 and that year I came second to Chelsea Gubecka, I won it the next year as a 15 year old which was something pretty special for me.
“I wasn’t able to compete last year because I had a stress fracture from jumping a fence in Melbourne and they told me I couldn’t run to make sure I was able to compete at the Junior World Surf Championships last year in Adelaide. But when I finally saw I was able to nominate for this year I was really excited to give it a red hot crack because all of the girls are amazing distance swimmers and it is always really tough event.”
“Since I have been doing Noosa only Sunny Coast girls have been winning it, so that is pretty interesting to see. I am pretty happy with two Noosa titles now, hopefully make it a third next year,” Lani said.
With the Tokyo Olympics just around the corner every elite athlete in Australia is crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s to make sure they give themselves the best chance at representing the green and gold. For 22 year old Sloman and 17 year old Pallister, there is a tough but very worthwhile journey ahead.
“The Tokyo Olympics is the goal. I didn’t have the best world championship campaign so I want to learn from that and make myself a better athlete so I can really have a crack in 2020,” Nick said.
“The first qualifying race is the Australian Titles and they will take four through to the first round of the World Series in Doha and then they will take two to the qualification event in Fukuoka. It is a long drawn about process but it is the only way to make sure the best athlete goes.”
“I was working as a cadet quantity surveyor and I have decided to put it on hold and really focus on my swimming career, especially with 2020 around the corner. I want to make sure I have the best chance of making the team. It is going to be hard, but I am ready for the challenge,” he said.
Lani is super excited going into 2020 and the opportunity to make the Olympic team.
“My pet event is the 800m and I think I am currently ranked third and they take top two to the Olympics and I am ranked third in the 400m, 800m and 1500m. You never know what will happen and I just want to do everything I can to give myself the best opportunity.”
“Not that I am not training hard now but a lot of the Olympic prep will start in January and there is a lot of distance racing in Australia next year. So, I will go to the NSW and Victorian state titles, then do a couple of camps with Michael Bohl on the Gold Coast to give myself a little bit more of that Olympic program with the likes of Emma and Dave McKeon. It is really special for me because I get to see how the best of the best train,” she said.