First steps to open water success for Rio Olympic Jack McLoughlin


The 2017 FINA World Championships kicked off proceedings today with the men’s open water 5km event taking place at the picturesque Lake Balaton, Balatonfured.

Australia had Rio Olympian over 1500m Jack McLoughlin in the field as he made his major international debut in open water.

credit: Swimming Australia Ltd.

In the fast-paced race, McLoughlin did his best to hold on to the pack and maintained a strong position throughout the race.

The 22 year-old was 23rd overall in a time of 55:05.8, just 34seconds off the eventual winner, France’s Marc Olivier (54.31.4).

Italy’s Mario Sanzullio snuck into second place with 54:32.1 with Timothy Shuttleworth from Great Britain rounding out the top three in 54:42.1 with a fairly evenly placed pack following behind.

McLoughlin said he had hoped to do better but had taken a lot of learnings from that race.

“It was okay, there was a bit of rough and tumble out there, I didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but it is the first one so I’ve got to take what I get – it was good experience and that’s what I’m here for,” McLoughlin said.

“To learn how to swim straight was a main learning. Sometimes I found myself swimming really wide and I was kind of out of the pack and found it hard to catch back up, swerving a lot, and not conserving energy for that sprint back home.

“It was good to test the waters out! I definitely think the pool is the main go, but the open water is always there, and if it takes me that way I’ll give it a go,” he said.

Swimming Australia Open Water Team Head Coach Ron McKeon said he was extremely proud of McLoughlin’s swim and that he showed great potential in the tough world of marathon swimming.

“He was in a fairly good position early on and was comfortable form the start which is good,” McKeon said.
“There was some confusion with official signals during the second lap that probably lost him some momentum but he will learn from that now.

On the specifics of McLoughlin’s learnings McKeon said,
“I think the context of the speed early on, which he managed, the context of the settling speed, which he also managed and certainly the officiating is a learning.

“All in all I think he will reflect on the race really positively.

McLoughlin will head into Budapest on July 20, where he will take on the 800 and 1500m freestyle events.
He said he was thrilled with the news the men’s 800m freestyle event, along with mixed relays and the 1500m freestyle event for women, would now be included on the Olympic program.

“I’m really excited that the 800 has been included! Me and my coach Vince were trying to get a second event internationally – that’s why we kind of tested out the water in the 5km event.

“But with that 800 coming in, it really opens the door for me for another pool event so I’m really excited to try and get a second individual event under my belt,” McLoughlin said.

Tomorrow will see the leading Australian open water contestants Chelsea Gubecka and Kareena Lee fly the Australian flag in the premiere 10km event.