Jones blitzes Hopkins River swim

WARRNAMBOOL superfish Isaac Jones made the most of a rare open water swim yesterday.

Jones, 17, blitzed the field to win Warrnambool TriClub’s inaugural Blue Hole Classic, finishing the 2.6km swim in an impressive 29 minutes and eight seconds.

Club president Dean Picken said it was an extraordinary effort, particularly given the Hopkins River course was longer than planned.

The  intended 2km and 1km courses were officially 2.6km and 1.3km.

“It was Isaac and then daylight. He’s just phenomenal,” he said.

“The course was long as well. His time was sensational.”

Jones finished ahead of Matt Champness (36.24) and his swimming coach Jayson Lamb (40.50).

The teenage talent said he was happy with his time.

“It’s good to get out and do something a bit different to pool swimming, something that’s a bit more fun with a bit more atmosphere,” Jones said. “I only found out about it on Friday so I thought I’d come along because I was swimming in Melbourne yesterday in the pool.

“I got home at one o’clock last night and woke up early and came to this.”

Jones said it was a tough circuit.

“The first lap was hard going down because you have the head wind and on the way back it was a lot easier,” he said.

“I saw some people take a bit of a short cut because it was a bit shallow and I thought on the next lap I better try that, so it helped.”

Warrnambool’s Sandra Skilbeck won the female 2.6km race.

Skilbeck, 49, finished in 41.27, ahead of Lisa Logan (43.23) and Kristy McLaren (43.49).

The Warrnambool Masters Swimming Club member said it was a beautiful race setting.

“It was pleasant. It was surreal to go under the bridge and it was really dark and you come out the other side and it was light,” Skilbeck said.

“I liked the second lap best. I warmed up the first lap and was ready by the second.”

The Blue Hole Classic was used as a charity event for Warrnambool woman Rebecca Lang who was diagnosed with a brain tumour late last month.

“I just went for a swim. I didn’t push hard, I just went for a nice swim for charity,” Skilbeck said. “My husband is suffering cancer so it is a bit of a charity run for him as well.”

Will Shepherd took out the men’s 1.3km swim with a time of 16.34, from Mark Owen (19.01) and Jason Dart (20.05). Ida Torneus won the women’s 1.3km swim with 20.45.

Gabrielle Lanman (22.06) and Lisa Worrall (25.26) were the other placegetters.

Of the 73 entrants yesterday, the youngest competitors were Joseph Nelson-Hill, Daniella Nelson-Hill, Josh Nichols and Klara Torneus. Forty-eight males and 25 females competed across the two categories in what was Warrnambool Tri Club’s first swim-only event.

Picken said the club hoped to raise $1000 for Lang.

“It is great people are supporting it as well,” he said.

“We are getting a great mix. Friends of Bec’s have dog-paddled the whole way, so that’s fantastic. It’s the spirit we’re after.”

Picken thanked Warrnambool Surf Life Saving Club for its help.

justine.mc@standard.fairfax.com.au

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