Young marathon duo Alice Dearing and Hector Pardoe got their 2021 campaigns off to a flying start at the first leg of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series in Doha.
(Photo credit: FINA)
Taking place in the Qatari capital, the event was the first international marathon event for over a year, but the duo showed no sign of rustiness, leading the way for the four strong Great Britain team that were the first to travel to an overseas competition since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.
Up first was the women’s race, which got underway at 6am and required wetsuits, and Dearing produced a quality 12th place finish.
In contention throughout, the 23 year old picked up where she left off 12 months ago, where she finished in ninth position, the Loughborough based swimmer delivered a very similar level of performance, tucked in at the back of the lead group coming into the finish but unable to muscle her way into medal contention.
After so long out of open water competition, Dearing was naturally pleased with her efforts, and told us afterwards:
“I was really excited to be back racing after 13 months, which was here in Doha in 2020 and it was a really positive result. I’ve just spoken to my coach and we know what we need to work on already – I think I was going into the last lap in 26th place and ended up coming 12th – so we’re now looking to make sure I can swim further up and hopefully pick off the same amount of people.
“I’m really excited by that race and I think it shows everything is going to come together when I need it to and it’s a good confidence booster ahead of the qualification event in May, which I’m really excited to go to and hopefully qualify for the Olympics.”
The men’s race followed a similar pattern to most at this level, with a large pack coming into the final lap before the pace was upped and the whittling down effect occurred. Despite his relative inexperience, 19 year old Hector Pardoe remained to the fore throughout proceedings, remaining calm coming into the closing stages to bag an impressive seventh place finish, his best at this level.
Naturally delighted with his efforts, Pardoe commented:
“That’s an awesome result! It was a really tough race, with frustrating conditions but I’m glad to get the job done and place in the top 10, winning some prize money as well! That gives me a lot of confidence, so it’s now back to training for another 11 weeks before the Olympic qualifier in Fukuoka.”
Jack Burnell was also in action for Great Britain, the experienced competitor also in the mix for the most part, but slipped back in the closing stages to finish up in 24th position. Also in action in the women’s race was Danielle Huskisson, the Stirling swimmer in the lead group for most of the two hour race, eventually crossing the line in 29th place amongst a small second group, who finished just 30 seconds back on the winner.
The same four athletes will travel to Japan at the end of May in a bid to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games – the first Brit home in each race, provided they finish in the top nine, will secure a place on the plane.
Full results can be found on the FINA website.