COMMONWEALTH champion Thomas Fraser-Holmes has made a successful return to his sporting roots with a hard-fought win in the Noosa 1000 Ocean Swim.
The Newcastle swimmer claimed victory in the 1km race in 11 minutes and four seconds, just three seconds clear of runner-up Hayden Cotter.
“I’m not used to that sort of thing now, especially running and then getting straight back into the swim again and with the guys behind me pushing it all the way,” said Fraser-Holmes, who won gold in the 200m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games and Pan Pacific championships in 2014.
“I felt like I was about to pass out at the finish. It was way tougher than I expected, but it’s a great event.”
Fraser-Holmes, 24, cut his teeth in surf lifesaving as a youngster before shifting his focus to the pool.
He qualified for three finals in a successful Olympic debut in London in 2012 and will again be targeting the 200m freestyle and 400m individual medley next year in Rio.
“Doing something like this here in Noosa. It’s different to the black line,” he said on Friday. “Instead of just going up and down, up and down the pool it’s good to come out and test different muscles and get into race mode, but not in the normal sense.”
Open-water specialist Chelsea Gubecka claimed a fourth straight women’s title in the Ocean Swim in a time of 11:57 ahead of Kareena Lee (12:00) and Sarah Thompson (12:01).
“This is like a local event for me and I always make time in my program to race here,” Gubecka said.