Teenager amid top 10 in frantic world championships race
SWIMMING: Chelsea Gubecka claimed a top-10 standing at the world championships but the teenager admits she's likely to tweak her approach to the sport after being caught by surprise in the 10km race.
The 18-year-old continued her rise in open water swimming with a ninth placing at Budapest on Sunday night, when she clocked 2hrs30sec to finish behind France's Aurelie Muller.
Fellow Sunshine Coaster Kareena Lee was 19th in 2:02.08.
It was a frantic race, in which the tempo increased early in proceedings.
"It was definitely tough. The pace was just on from the 2.5km mark, so I basically swum 7.5km at a threshold pace which is unheard of in open water swimming," Gubecka told Swimming Australia.
"She (Muller) definitely turned on the pace quite early, which strung out the field and separated the pack and I was so excited to not lose them and still be there for the finish."
Sixty-two women competed for the world title at Lake Balaton.
"This has just been a new experience and the way this was raced is unheard of," Gubecka said.
"Maybe open water is changing a little bit. Maybe I need to work on being able to hold a high speed over a longer distance."
Despite her age, it was the Rio Olympian's third tilt at the title, after previously finishing 30th and 13th.
Her coach, Sunshine Coast's Michael Sage admitted they were caught out by the nature of the race.
"I thought that was one of the toughest races that she has raced at an international competition," he said.
"The pace didn't really change, which did surprise us, but we did train for different situations and I think that showed when she was able to keep up with the lead pack and unfortunately we just didn't have that last gear that would have seen us finish in the medals."
Meanwhile, Lee also said the tempo was particularly high.
"I felt from the second lap that everyone just took off, so I was left trying to catch the whole way, which was a bit annoying, and not normally how that happens," she said.
She will also compete in the 5km while Kawana's Jack Brazier is due to compete in the men's 10km race on Tuesday.