The Great Rise To The Occasion In Salford

The Great Rise To The Occasion In Salford

World champions Keri-Anne Payne (17:34) and Thomas Lurz (16:07) won the Great Salford Swim this weekend.

Flying fast throughout the 1-mile swim, Keri-Anne finished ahead of Swann Oberson (Switzerland) in second and Olympic 10K bronze medalist Cassie Patten (Great Britain) in third. Nine-time world champion Thomas finished ahead of 3-time Olympian Spyridon Gianniotis (Greece), English Channel record holder Petar Stoychev (Bulgaria) and the top two British swimmers, David Davies and Tom Allen.

It was a good swim, a good performance and a good day for British swimming,” summed up Keri-Anne to the BBC. “I needed to just go out for it and it went quite well. I felt them attacking my feet but I said ‘keep your head down and go’.”

Thomas recalled, “I had a really good start. I wanted to keep the lead until the finish and it worked out well for me. It is a tough course because of lots of turns so I wanted to lead from the front.”

Keri-Anne and Thomas look like the world champions they are in the last few races they have won, clearly placing them in the limelight in the build-up to the 2012 London Olympics. Their tactics seem clear – push the pace, push it early and make everyone else simply swim faster to win. That makes complete sense when their fitness is at such high levels.

Olympic great Ian Thorpe said in his BBC commentary, “Keri-Anne has beautiful, long strokes which shows the efficiency she has when she swims. She’s looking good for 2012.” BBC Sport commentator Andy Jameson said of Thomas, “…he was stunning. And really hard to keep up with. He normally stays in the pack in fourth or fifth and stays there. Because he’s got such a good sprint he can take off and disappear. But because this course has lots of turns in it he decided he wanted to get out front and really go for it.”

The world’s elite – led by Keri-Anne and Thomas – all seem to be going for it now.

Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones