Coffs swimmers mix it with Australia’s best at National Open Water Championships Coffs Coast Sport News Of The Area by News Of The Area - Modern Media - March 19, 2021 Isaiha Phillips, Sylas Phillips and Mitchell Hickey at the Australian National Open Water Championships. FOUR Coffs Harbour swimmers have proven to be amongst the nation’s finest. The awesome foursome of Mitchell Hickey, Lilly Geddes, Isaiha Phillips, and Sylas Phillips spent last weekend competing at the Australian National Open Water Championships in Coolum. All four were making their debut at the Championships after qualifying for the prestigious event through earlier exceptional open water swims. Mitchell Hickey had an outstanding championship starting off with a 6th place finish in the Men’s 17 years 7.5km event. Hickey backed it up phenomenally the following day finishing 8th out of 92 swimmers in the Men’s 17 years 5km event. Isaiha Phillips finished 8th in his Men’s 17 years 7.5km event. Competing in just her second ever Open Water event, Lilly Geddes finished 15th out of 60 entrants in the Girls 15 years 5km event. The star swimmers’ coach Sarah-Jane Weir expressed her pride to Coffs Coast News of the Area. “I’m incredibly proud of how far each of them has come, to qualify for a National Championships is alone an achievement,” she said. “To see them compete so well on a national stage is a credit to their hard work, commitment and dedication.” Weir described the challenging conditions her swimmers faced at the National Championships. “Conditions were extreme with water temperature reaching over 30° which added another challenging element to what is already a gruelling event,” she said. “Water visibility was poor, with parts of the course being so murky athletes couldn’t see their hands pass through the water. “Open Water events aren’t just tough because of their event distances being upwards of 5km, they have natural elements that can change even while you’re competing.” The Coffs coach explained the prestigious nature of last weekend’s event. “Open Water Swimming is now an Olympic event, added in 2008 at the Beijing Games,” she said. “Our Australian National Championships are used as selection meets for both Olympic and National Teams so are highly competitive. “It was great to take a team up, and see them all compete so well at the highest level our sport has to offer domestically.” By Aiden BURGESS Lilly Geddes with coach Sarah-Jane Weir at Coolum.