New Plymouth swimmer Charlotte Webby has switched her focus from the pool to open water.
"I'm still training in the pool, but freestyle and longer distances instead of butterfly," said the 24-year-old yesterday. "There's more opportunities in open-water swimming."
Webby, who has juggled butterfly and freestyle swimming for the past couple of years, said it was too difficult doing both.
"You can't put 100 per cent into both, so I chose the longer distance rather than the 200m butterfly.
"Swimming is not a well-paid sport, you do it more for love. There's some money in open- water swimming, but not a lot," she said.
Webby won the opening race of the Ocean Series on November 10, claiming the open women's title in the 3.3km swim from Russell to Paihia.
But instead of pocketing a winner's cheque like last year when she won two races - each $1500 - she collected nothing.
"They've changed the way they're doing the prizemoney this year.
"You take your best three placings from the six-race series, with the winner receiving $20,000, second $2000 and third $1000.
"And you have to race in the King of the Bays race in Auckland in April; it's a double- points race."
Although Webby didn't like the change, it didn't stop her making the trip north.
"I just didn't realise how far it was . . . eight hours there and eight hours back . . . far out," she said.
"It wasn't my best swim. Conditions were perfect but my goggles leaked and fogged up. I couldn't see anything. I had to stop a few times to see where the next buoy was. It felt so long."
Tomorrow Webby will be heading north again for the 2.9km Harbour Crossing swim in Auckland on Sunday.
"Cara [Baker, Australia- based Kiwi ] is racing and I think Melissa [Gorman, Australian, and last year's Ocean Series winner] is coming," she said.
"If they line up, it will be much tougher."
Webby said her training had been going well and she had been averaging about 60km a week in the pool.
"I've stepped up my training and my goal is the New Zealand 10km open-water trials in early January."
Swimmers will compete for spots in the Kiwi team for the world championships in Barcelona in Spain in July.
- Taranaki Daily News
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