Robinson low-key over harbour victory

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 05:00 27/01/2014

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Emma Robinson will have plenty of time with her head in the clouds next month when she heads off to Arizona for an intensive Swimming New Zealand altitude training camp.

Perhaps that's why she was happy to keep her feet so firmly on the ground on the ground after winning yesterday's Capital Classic in her home town.

The 18-year-old left her opposition in her wake in bolting around the shortened 2 kilometre Wellington Harbour course in 22 minutes 38 seconds, ahead of three other locals - Josie Kozyniak, Courtney Carson and Nikki Chapman.

Australian George O'Brien won the men's race in 20 minutes 22 seconds, ahead of New Zealand's Nathan Capp and Dylan Dunlop-Barrett.

Robinson's win puts her on top of the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series women's standings after three rounds, though she's realistic about her chances of winning the big cash prize of $10,000 at the series finale in April.

"To win in my home town was really nice, but the standings are pretty much irrelevant," Robinson said. "With double points it will all come down to that last King of the Bays race on the North Shore."

All the same, Robinson's form is promising and in choppy conditions she was nearly two minutes clear of national 10km open-water champion Grace Somerville, who finished fifth.

"The first stretch was definitely the hardest. Swimming into that chop, being pushed into people, not always being able to see the buoys when you come up and get your face in a wave.

"Once you turned ... it was nice to get the wash behind you and get those little runners [waves]."

In fact, the conditions were so treacherous organisers had to use a contingency course rather than the normal 3.3km layout.

It was Robinson's first Capital Classic win after two previous attempts and her second event in the series after she finished fourth in the Auckland Harbour Crossing last November.

She wasn't too fussed and will take some confidence from the win when she flies to Arizona on February 15 with a 12-strong SNZ elite squad in a bid to lower her time in her favoured 800 metre freestyle.

"I've never done it before, but apparently it's hard to sleep and the first week is interesting when you get in the water and it doesn't work out," she said.

Robinson's main focus this year is to qualify for the Commonwealth Games at the New Zealand Open Championships from April 8 to 11.

That promises to be a big week for the teenager, with the final and decisive Ocean Swim Series event set for April 12.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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