Gorman and Hurst finish first in Penrith

The original article is posted (with picture) on AOC sonce 07 March 2011

Beijing Olympians Ky Hurst and Melissa Gorman have taken their first important steps in Olympic qualification by winning today’s men’s and women’s 10km, at the 2011 Australian Open Water Championships, at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in Penrith.

The 29-year-old Hurst, who has been out of the sport since the 2009 Australian Championships and only qualified for this meet with a 1500m time trial two weeks ago, was understandably ecstatic after out-touching Perth’s Rhys Mainstone by a meagre one second, to finish in 1:55.04.

This morning’s results mean both men secure the two hotly-contested Australian positions for the Shanghai World Championships in July.

Selection onto the Australian Open Water World Championship team could lead to Olympic selection if Hurst or Mainstone manage to finish in the top 10 over the Olympic distance in Shanghai.

For Hurst, today’s result means he gets another opportunity to qualify for one of his greatest sporting achievements, the Olympic Games.

“Beijing was such an amazing experience and I want a piece of that again,” said Hurst.

“I guess what I had over everybody else today was experience. I know I wasn’t the fastest out there but I was definitely the smartest. I guess that’s what 14 years of open water swimming does for you.”

The 21-year-old Mainstone (1:55:05), who missed his brother’s wedding this weekend in Perth to compete in the championships, was excited at the prospect of learning from the veteran distance swimmer.

“It’s going to be great to have Ky on the team in Shanghai as he went to Beijing and has loads of open water knowledge,” said Mainstone.

“Unfortunately I had to miss my brother’s wedding this weekend in Perth, so I guess this (World Championship selection) is my present to him.”

In the women’s corresponding event it was 2009 Rome World Championship gold medallist Melissa Gorman who, in emphatic fashion, made it four consecutive wins in the women’s 10km.

The 25-year-old Gorman, who led by over 200m after the first lap, snared gold in a new personal best time of 1:59.03, from New Zealander Cara Baker (2:03.55) and Queenslander Danielle DeFrancesco, who stormed through the finish gate in third in 2:04.04.

“Yeah, that was a really good swim, I’m over the moon. I have been doing a few different things outside of the pool for the last six weeks and they seem to be working,” said Gorman.

“To win by nearly five minutes and win my fourth consecutive 10km is unbelievable, I’m still in a bit of shock.”

Like the men, Gorman and DeFrancesco will now head to Shanghai in July with their sights set on a top 10 finish and automatic Olympic qualification.