Charlotte Webby eyes Rio qualification after New Zealand Ocean Swim Series win

Charlotte Webby has won the New Zealand Ocean Swim series and is now eyeing up Olympic qualification in Portugal in June.

Charlotte Webby has won the New Zealand Ocean Swim series and is now eyeing up Olympic qualification in Portugal in June.

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After winning the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, Charlotte Webby has her eyes on a bigger prize.

The 27-year-old Taranaki swimmer will be the only woman representing New Zealand at the Olympic marathon swimming qualifiers in Portugal in June.

“That’s the main goal. It’s hard because you don’t want to look beyond the swim because obviously there’s a huge barrier you’ve got to get through to get there, but I guess that’s part of sport,” Webby said.

She said while winning the ocean series gave her some confidence a couple of months out from the event, the Olympic qualifier was different altogether.

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“We have good swimmers, but in Portugal it’s going to be the world’s best.

“It’s two completely different races and I can’t rely on the fact that I swam well over here.”

For the Olympic marathon swim, athletes race over 10km of open water.

“In open water anything can go wrong. There’s so many variables and you’ve just got to prepare for them all and hope you get a good run, especially when it counts.”

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Webby said in Portugal the worst case scenario for her would be getting dropped from the pack around one of the turning buoys.

At the qualifying event, competitors will swim six laps around a rectangular course.

“Going around the buoys will be pretty physical because everyone has the same thing at stake.”

Each country can take two competitors for each of the men’s and women’s qualifying race, with the top nine making the cut.

However, because only one swimmer from each country can qualify in each race, there’s competition among team mates as well as the rest of the field.

Webby attended the qualifying event in 2012 and, with it being one of her first international races, admitted she was naive going into it.

“Last time I got to the first turning buoy 800m into the race. I went around it and someone held me down and I got hit in the head which scared me.

“I decided I didn’t want to swim with anyone so I just went to the back. 800m into a 10km swim and my race was over.”

This time around, she’s not leaving anything to chance.

She’s making sure to get the work done in the pool, swimming about 80km each week as well as running and having gym sessions.

Webby gets up at 4:48am most mornings for training and, because she has to pay for the trip herself, has to juggle training and work.

On Thursday’s she’s up at 5:48am, and get to sleep in on Sunday.

Even with the amount of training she does, some days are busier than others.

“I get up and go swimming, I finish near 8am and get home. I’ve got to be at work by 8:30 and go from work to the gym at two and then back to the pool. That’s Monday, Thursday and Friday, so those are no-nap days.

“It’s heavy, it’s long but hopefully it will pay off. It’ll be worth it if it pays off,” she said.

Webby has also started a givealittle page to help fund her trip which can be found here.

The Olympic marathon swimming qualifiers are held in Setubal, Portugal on June 11 and 12.

Qualification ends on July 3 for all Olympic swimming events.


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