A 24-year-old Victoria resident posted a pair of top-five finishes on the weekend at the Australian Open Water Swimming Championships.
Jon McKay finished fifth out of 34 entrants in the 10-kilometre Olympic marathon distance on Saturday. Ferry Weertman, an Olympic champion from the Netherlands, took first place with a time of 1:55:45.24 — 4.22 seconds ahead of American Jordan Wilimovsky, the 2015 world champion and the 2018 Pan Pacific Championships gold medalist. Nick Sloman of Australia took bronze, with Matan Roditi of Israel coming in fourth, finishing within a half-second of Sloman. McKay came fifth just over three seconds later.
McKay also finished 24th at the 2019 FINA World Championships after winning the 10-kilometre at the Canadian Open Water Trials the same year.
“I wanted to improve upon where I had been last year at this time and to challenge for the lead at different points in the race while being competitive,” he said in a press release.
On Sunday McKay followed up with a second-place finish in the five-kilometre, just under 19 seconds behind Weertman, who won in 56 minutes. Then on Monday, McKay swam the second-fastest five-kilometre time trial at 55 minutes and 21 seconds, behind only Sloman.
“The races were all where I wanted to be. I knew coming in that it was going to be tough to swim three long events in a row, starting with the 10-km,” he said. “It shows that my training has been progressing well since the summer and how we’ve tried to change what we practise to improve on my weaknesses.”
McKay will now compete in the LEN Open Water Swimming Cup on March 8 in Eilat, Israel. That event will serve as a tune-up for the Canadian Open Water Trials coming up in April, taking place in Grand Cayman, where the top Canadians will look to keep their Tokyo 2020 Olympic hopes alive by advancing to the final Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier being held in Fukuoka, Japan in May.