Penelope Salmon and Nathan Borton were the top Kiwi performers in the JWOC sprint held overnight in Romania. Pride of place went to Penelope, who became only the third New Zealand women to make a JWOC podium, finishing in 6th place. This was the same as Angela Simpson achieved in the 2011 sprint in Poland, with our only other women’s JWOC podium being Tanya Larson (née Robinson) who placed 5th in the short/middle in 1992 in Finland. Penelope was 50 seconds behind Hungarian winner Rita Maramarosi who backed up her EYOC sprint title from 2 weeks ago with another outstanding win. Nathan’s 18th place was the best New Zealand men’s finish since Joseph Lynch’s 15th in 2018.
There were also strong runs from Zefa Fa’avae in 35th and an excellent 28th place by Anna Babington, like Nathan, competing at her first JWOC. With 5 of the 6 women figuring in the top half of the field, with the other only just outside, it was by far the best overall sprint performance by New Zealand women at JWOC.
Attention now turns to tonight’s sprint relay where Penelope, Nathan, and Zefa will line up with Kaia Joergensen in New Zealand 1, while New Zealand 2 will feature Anna, Fergus O’Neill, Riley Croxford and Zara Stewart.
Men: 1. Anselm Reichenbach (GER) 15:47, 2. Guilhelm Verove (FRA) 15:55, 3. Jurgen Joonas (EST) 15:56, 18=. Nathan Borton (NZL) 16:44, 35. Zefa Fa’avae (NZL) 17:16, 79. Felix Hunt (NZL) 18:10, 103=. Fergus O’Neill (NZL) 18:38, 119. Riley Croxford (NZL) 19:05, 127. Ryan Moore (NZL) 19:15.
Women: 1. Rita Maramarosi (HUN) 15:13, 2. Pia Young Vik (NOR) 15:37, 3. Eeva Liina Ojanaho (FIN) 15:50, 6. Penelope Salmon (NZL) 16:03, 28=. Anna Babington (NZL) 17:12, 41. Kaia Joergensen (NZL) 17:39, 50. Zara Stewart (NZL) 18:04, 68. Rachel Baker (NZL) 18:31, 78=. Katherine Babington 18:56.