Hurst books Games berth

source: Swimming Stathi Paxinos, July 21, 2011

AUSTRALIAN open-water swimmer Ky Hurst believes his ironman heritage can give him the edge at next year's Olympic Games that was missing yesterday when he failed to win a medal but secured his berth on the team for London in the 10-kilometre race at the world championships in Shanghai.

Hurst, who finished fifth, secured a spot at his second Olympics with a top-10 finish at Shanghai's Jinshan City Beach, joining compatriot Melissa Gorman who finished fourth in Tuesday's women's race, on the London-bound team.

The 30-year-old was disappointed at not winning a medal in a race won by Greek swimmer Spyros Gianniotis in one hour, 54.25 seconds, but the ironman legend was brimming with eagerness at swimming in London. The open-water events will be held in Serpentine lake in Hyde Park, meaning the course will be a lot tighter than in Shanghai and the swimmers' prowess at turning the buoys will come to the fore - a feature that Hurst has been training for since he was a child.

''I think London will really suit me, especially on a tight course, sharp corners and six loops,'' he said. ''I like tight swimming. I've been doing it since I was eight years old - swimming and racing in the surf and open water - and a lot of the time it's about swimming in small packs and getting around those cans as tightly as you can.''

Hurst, who finished 11th in the 10-kilometre event at the 2008 Olympics, said he was disappointed that he could not win a medal yesterday but he had gained confidence that competing in the ironman series since Beijing had made him stronger.

''I almost swam the perfect race … open-water swimming, and especially the 10-kilometre stuff, is about swimming smart and I truly believe I swam a smart race today,'' Hurst said.