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South West open water swimmer Kyle Lee’s qualification for Paris Olympics “memorable moment” for family

Headshot of Sean Van Der Wielen
Sean Van Der WielenSouth Western Times
Kyle Lee during the men's 10km open water final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar on February 4.
Camera IconKyle Lee during the men's 10km open water final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha, Qatar on February 4. Credit: Hassan Ammar/AP

The family of an open water swimmer set to become the South West’s newest Olympian has expressed their pride in his major milestone.

Australind’s Kyle Lee booked his place in July’s Paris Olympic Games after finishing ninth in the men’s 10km open water final at the World Aquatics Championships in Doha on February 4.

His mother Lara Lee said the family were pacing up and down as the race entered its final 200m.

“The energy in the room was very intense as the finish was like a yoyo — one minute we could see him and then the next minute he would disappear,” she said.

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“We also knew that the field was filled with world class swimmers that would all be sprinting to the finish to try and secure an Olympic position. There was so much on the line for everyone.”

Heartbeats were raised as the family awaited the official results, which Lara admitted “felt like it took forever”.

“When we saw Kyle had secured ninth position there was just pure elation and relief,” she said.

Open water swimmer Kyle Lee pictured at Trigg Beach.
Camera IconOpen water swimmer Kyle Lee pictured at Trigg Beach. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Kyle finished the event in a time of 1hr 48min. 31.2sec., just 10 seconds behind the Hungarian race winner Kristof Rasovszky.

The top 10 finish in Qatar confirmed he would make the Australian team for Paris, alongside Queenslanders Nic Sloman and Moesha Johnson.

Lara Lee said it has been a dream for the family to have the 21-year-old make the Olympic side.

“We are so proud of Kyle and at this moment we are trying to process what he has just achieved in Doha,” she said.

The South West product had to balance practise for the event with sitting a two-hour auditing exam in the Australian team hotel as part of his accountancy degree studies the day before the race.

He wasted no time after his return to Australia, taking out the fastest time at the Busselton Jetty Swim on Sunday for the fifth year in a row, despite the dramas with the event’s finishing time-system.

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