COURTNEY Chapman ditched the pool for the open water two years ago and hasn’t look back since.
Given the success she’s enjoyed, it’s little wonder too.
The 15-year-old Orange High School student will swim in her second open water nationals at the 2013 Open Water Swimming Championships at Point Wolstoncroft Sport and Recreation Centre on Lake Macquarie this weekend.
“I got into it maybe two years ago. I was never really good in the pool and I thought maybe the longer stuff would be a bit better for me, and on my first attempt I made nationals,” Chapman said, qualifying via the state championships at Penrith’s International Regatta Centre.
This year’s three-day open water national championships begins on Friday.
Chapman will compete in the 10 kilometre event on Saturday and the five kilometre swim on Sunday.
The event showcases Australia’s top open water swimming talent, with the open 5km and 10km events incorporating the selection trials for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Barcelona, Spain.
And while Chapman hasn’t yet booked a place on the plane to Europe just yet, her goals ahead of the national championship suggest she has one eye on Spain.
“I’m hoping to medal in the five (kilometre) and finish in the top 10 in 10 (kilometre),” she said.
Open water swimming is largely a foreign sport in Orange.
Aside from triathletes, Chapman said only a handful of swimmers have given the open water variety of the sport a chance, but, personally, it has been a challenge she’s loved.
“It’s hard to explain, you don’t have anything to follow and there’s no turns and you’ve just got to look up… you’ve got to have a lot of strength,” she said.
“It’s a different feel in the water. There’s no chlorine, it’s fresh water.
“I really enjoy it.”
She said training along side the experienced Gary Hollywood at Kinross has helped in her development immeasurably.
“He is from New Zealand, and he is very, very good,” she said.
“I train in the pool but he gives me six to seven kilometre sets, which prepares me for the open water swim.”
The 2013 Open Water Swimming Championships in Lake Macquarie start on Friday and wrap up on Sunday.
IN DEEP: Courtney Chapman will contest the Open Water Swimming Championships this weekend. Photo: NICK MCGRATH 0204nmswim
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