LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: Kareena Lee in unfazed.
LEARNING OPPORTUNITY: Kareena Lee in unfazed. Darryn Smith

7500km venue switch doesn’t cause a ripple

FOR a swimmer who thrives on uncertainty, the 11th hour decision to move a race 7500km across the Pacific Ocean is not an inconvenience - it's an opportunity.

That is exactly how Mountain Creek's Olympic hopeful Kareena Lee looked at Swimming Australia's decision to move yesterday's Pan Pacific Championships 10km open water swim to Hawaii.

"This is a learning opportunity," she said.

"I'm not disappointed. It is what it is."

Preparations for swimmers - including fellow Sunshine Coast swimmer Chelsea Gubecka - were thrown into disarray on Sunday night when Swimming Australia decided to move the event because of water quality issues.

The race was scheduled to begin yesterday morning but at 8pm the night before, competitors were told it would start on Sunday in Hawaii.

Organisers had investigated a move from Marine Stadium, Southport, to Lake Hugh Muntz, after strong winds and heavy rain caused concerns with the water quality, but test results came back with borderline levels.

"FOR the international teams, athletes and families it's a long way to come not to get a swim and we regret this situation occurring," Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said in a statement. "We are sincerely apologetic but we were unfortunately left with no alternative but to make the call to cancel."

Lee's parents, who planned to watch their daughter swim against some of the world's best, instead drove down from the Sunshine Coast to drop off her passport and say goodbye. "It was unexpected," Lee said. "Everyone thought they would be swimming (yesterday) so everyone would have been prepared for that."

But she sees the challenge as an opportunity to test her adaptability in her bid for selection at the 2016 Olympic Games.

"In the pool you have a pretty good idea of how you are going to go, depending on your preparation, but it's completely different in the open water," she said.

"It's so much more unpredictable and there are so many different factors. You really don't know what to expect. This is a really good opportunity to test myself in a different situation."

Lee already showed determination in coming back from a two-year battle with glandular fever and chronic fatigue that was so bad she could not swim 1km.

"Qualifications for the Olympics start in December so I'm using this as a stepping stone towards that," she said. "I feel like my preparation has gone really well and that I'm in the best shape I have been in. I'm just thinking positive and hopefully everything will go well."


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