Bagley finishes big week with dual national caps
TOWNSVILLE swimmer Alexandra Bagley capped a remarkable pre-Christmas week by qualifying to represent Australia at two international meets next year.
Bagley earned the right to compete at the 2007 Junior Pan Pacific Championships i n Hawaii and the 2007 World Championships in Melbourne following an outstanding performance at the Australian open water swimming championships.
Exceeding even her own expectations, the 17-year-old claimed a silver medal in the 10km event, with her time of 2hrs 9mins 5secs seeing her qualify by the narrowest of margins.
With limited open water racing experience at her disposal in the lead-up to the meet, Bagley, a Gardens Swimming Club member, headed to Melbourne with little idea of what to expect.
But, fuelled by the news she had earned an OP1 after graduating from St Margaret Mary’s College, she proved right at home in the longer version of the sport.
‘‘It was my first time competing in open water so it was a big surprise,’’ Bagley said of her qualification.
‘‘It was a close finish so I wasn’t sure where I came and then my coach s a i d I came second and qualified for the worlds.
‘‘I was stoked, but it took a while to soak in.’’
Bagley had a similarly close finish to her 5km race less than 24 hours later, but this time missed out on qualifying by just one second.
She completed the choppy course in 1hr 7mins 20secs to pick up the bronze medal.
With the Junior Pan Pacific Championships j u s t 1 3 days away Bagley has thrown herself straight back into training and has hopes of duplicating her recent efforts in Hawaii.
‘‘I’m guessing I’m going to be stepping it up (training) at this stage,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s my first Australian team so I don’t know what to ex- pect but I hope I can finish in the medals.’’
Gardens teammate Penny Palfrey also finished a good year in the water on a high note when she came second in the women’s 25km open water swim.
The 44-year-old, who boasts the English Channel and Cook S t r a i t c r o s s i n g s a mo n g s t h e r 2 0 0 6 achievements, completed the event in 7hrs 4mins 8secs.
Townsville’s Alanna Chatfield also took on the gruelling course but, like the majority of competitors on the day, was unable to finish.
DOUBLE WHAMMY . . . Alexandra Bagley has qualified for two national teams