Elizabeth Schlicher has won in emphatic fashion the 2016 Oceania Gas Five Islands. The 34yr old Californian won all five races of the series by an average margin of four minutes per race in a total time of 7hrs 09mins 07secs for a total distance of 26kms in four days. In doing so Elizabeth has bettered last year’s record set by Christina Harris who finished second overall.
In her victory speech Elizabeth was grateful for the competition offered by the other swimmers and also the help of her partner Brian Tabor who was also her race support in the kayak.
“We had a great four days of swimming and racing together and these two ladies were great fun to swim with,” Elizabeth said.
“I can’t wait to come back and doing this again and that again and hopefully the big long crossing Upolu to Savaii,” she added.
Elizabeth is hoping to do that next year in 2017. That race is on 4th April which is the day after her 35th birthday.
Finishing second was Christina Harris. She too was happy with her effort.
Going into the last race at Falefa Christina was less than a minute ahead of fellow Kiwi Sandra Boubee from Mt Maunganui. She put everything into the last race to finish more than four minutes ahead of her nearest rival in the overall series.
Christina has swum the Falefa Falls course three times previously and she used her local knowledge to reach the Falls first, even ahead of the Californian, choosing the river edge instead of the middle to advance toward the Falls.
Being the champion swimmer she is Elizabeth was able to easily peg back the deficit on the way back to the open sea. The swim then swept out to sea to Falefa Bay point where the second marker was situated. That was the half way point of the race and Elizabeth was not going to be overhauled for first place, nor was Christina for second place in this race and the series overall.
It was a fast time at Falefa for Elizabeth who finished the Falefa 6km swim in 1hr 32mins 45secs, well clear of Christina (1:40:15) and Sandra (1:44:48) by more than four minutes of Christina and Sandra. In the shorter 2.5km race from Falefa village to Le Uaina Resort Saoluafata Triathletes reigned supreme there.
Malaki Iulio was first in 44minutes, followed closely by Luaipou Pimoe and Ronnie Iosefatu.
The overseas swimmers and their support people will now take a tour of Samoa before heading back to their families and jobs.
All three women are aiming to return to conquer the Upolu to Savaii Swim, two of them next year, Christina Harris and Elizabeth. Sandra will return in two years to do that swim to celebrate turning 50. Christina is also returning in August for this year’s Samoa Swim Series (SSS) to contest the Pacific Open Water Challenge and SSS.