WARRNAMBOOL teenager Isaac Jones says ocean swimming will continue to take a back seat to his pool ambitions.
The emerging swimmer is today celebrating two podium finishes as part of the iconic 1.2-kilometre Pier to Pub at Lorne.
He was a convincing winner in the junior section and finished runner-up in the superfish section, beating home all but one of a high-quality field.
Jones, 17, clocked a sizzling 12 minutes, 45 seconds in the juniors after riding a wave home on high tide to win by 12 seconds.
He led eventual winner Sam Sheppard for the first half of the superfish race before pre-race favourite Sheppard powered home to his third title.
Sheppard, 21, finished in 12.30, seven seconds ahead of Jones.
The Pier to Pub performance was the highlight of a busy weekend for Jones.
He contested two events at the Victorian Open Swimming Championships in Melbourne on Friday, finishing fifth in the final of the 200-metre butterfly in 2.03.70.
A two-hour trip to Colac followed, before he headed to Lorne on Saturday morning.
He was back on Warrnambool’s main beach yesterday fulfilling patrol duties with the Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club.
Jones said he was proud of his achievements competing at Lorne for the third time.
“This year felt really good. I wasn’t sure how I’d be going, I didn’t swim too well the night before up at the state open (championships),” he said.
“I was a bit nervous after that to see if I could perform that well. It was nice to be able to do my best result in the Pier to Pub.
“It was faster than my other years but it’s hard to tell because of the tides. Usually in the superfish you swim faster than the juniors but the tide didn’t go out as much.”
Jones said he had no regrets despite leading the main race early.
He said Sheppard was fortunate to catch a wave in the closing stages, although admitted the Melbourne swimmer was always going to be tough to beat.
“When I was in front I did feel good. I started away from everyone — everyone marked him and started beside him,” he said.
“I thought I’d take a wider race plan. He ended up having to swim up to me, which dropped a lot of the swimmers which helped me stay in second.”
Jones said pool swimming would remain his main priority, with ocean swimming remaining a “social thing to do”.
He will contest the Victorian Country Championships at Sale on January 25 to 27 before attending a Swimming Australia camp on the Gold Coast in February.
But swimming will become part of a balancing act when the Emmanuel College student begins year 12 studies, which will take priority.