Games success helps motivate Jones
IN THE rare fied air of elite swimming, where body hair is considered a speed impediment, it must be agonising for Olympic-bound swimmer Tessa Wallace to watch training partner Corey Jones drag his wet mop of a beard through the water.
But a promise made to Wallace means one of the most famous facial hair arrangements in Australian sport is about to be farewelled.
Before Wallace headed to Adelaide earlier this month for the Olympic trials, the quaint Met Caloundra ironman said she could shave off his beard if she made the Games team.
Wallace, written off before the trials because of an illness-impaired preparation, was a shock winner in the 200m breaststroke.
She booked a spot for London and, at the same time, won the Australian title.
Jones, who is coached by Wallace's father John at the Caloundra Aquatic Lifestyle Centre, is using his friend's uplifting story to inspire him at this week's Australian Surf Life Saving Championships at Kurrawa on the Gold Coast.
He is hoping to land his own national title at his beard's swansong event.
"It's good to see someone I know real well make the Olympics … it's going to make me try real hard so I come out with a good result," the national Ironman Series mainstay said yesterday.
Whatever fate befalls Jones at Kurrawa, he will not compromise himself. In the world of Corey "the Seagull" Jones - the defending national board champion - risk equals reward. And even when risk results in failure, you get the feeling just taking the gamble stimulates him as much as the triumph.
He said he would not enjoy competing if he favoured "soft" options, though others would label the taking of those options the smart approach. His decision to take "a bit of a punt" in the board final at the recent state surf lifesaving titles backfired, but he has no regrets.
"It's either win or lose for me," he said. "That's probably why I'm not so … not really consistent. I'd rather take a win than be top five."
Jones (pictured) was delighted with his eighth overall finish in last season's Ironman Series, and he will not be without a chance if he makes the ironman final at Kurrawa.
He feels recharged after experiencing a 10-day snowboarding holiday in Japan following the conclusion of the Ironman Series last month - ready to do it his way on the Gold Coast.