Coast pair chasing Olympic dream

Remy Fairweather will race in tonight’s 800m freestyle final in Adelaide.
Remy Fairweather will race in tonight’s 800m freestyle final in Adelaide. Barry Leddicoat

RISING stars Remy Fairweather and George O'Brien will today press their claims for a berth at the London Olympics.

The Kawana Waters long-distance freestyle swimmers are considered real threats in their pet events.

At just 14, Fairweather put her older rivals on notice with a barnstorming effort in the women's 400m freestyle final last Friday when she broke her own national age group record, which was previously held by Hayley Lewis.

Fairweather missed out on an Olympic berth by just one place, finishing third in a time of 4.08.63 behind Kylie Palmer and Bronte Barratt.

The teenage talent from Coolum Beach then forged her way into tonight's 800m freestyle final, recording the fourth fastest qualifying time (8.43.04) in yesterday's heats.

Up against a strong field that includes Katie Goldman, Jessica Ashford and Palmer, Fairweather will need to finish in the top two and meet the A-qualifying time to secure a spot on the plane to London.

Her coach, Peter Gartrell, said: "She'll give them a race and if they're not at their best, she'll make it interesting."

Former open-water swimmer George O'Brien will attempt to make his mark in a marquee event - the 1500m freestyle.

O'Brien finished fourth in the non-Olympic 800m event (8.08.28).

Gartrell believes the 20-year-old has a solid chance in the 1500m, which in previous years has been won by greats Kieran Perkins, Grant Hackett and Stephen Holland.

"He (O'Brien) is still not top class, but that event is a bit weak at the moment," he said.

"There are three or four blokes who could take it out, but he won't be favourite I don't think."

"He has had a fair bit of experience in open-water swimming and goes pretty well over the 5km and 10km distances and this year we just decided to have a go at the pool for a change.

"He still mixes them around a bit. He beat Ky Hurst in the Noosa Blue Swim not so long ago and he picks up a few dollars with some of the ocean swims where there is prizemoney."

Formerly of the Gold Coast, O'Brien lives at Coolum Beach.

"He's a full-time uni student at the University of Sunshine Coast and he's a pretty well put together young man," Gartrell said.


Remy Fairweather at the nationals

400m freestyle: third place

800m freestyle: fourth fastest qualifier for tonight's final

George O'Brien at the nationals

800m freestyle: fourth place

1500m freestyle: heats start today, final tomorrow

Topics:  adelaide australian swimming championships london olympics remy fairweather swimming

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