Published: Aug 10, 2012 02:23:06 PM Updated: Sep 2, 2012 10:01:42 PM
Queenslander Melissa Gorman has finished a gallant 10th in the women’s 10km open water marathon, in a race where the tight nature of the course ensured there was plenty of contact for the two hours of swimming.
Won by Hungry’s Eva Risztov in a time of 1hour 58:53.1s, with American Haley Anderson second and Italian Martina Grimaldi third, Gorman crossed the line just over a minute behind after 1hour 58:53.1s.
Starting out trying to put on some pace in the early stages, because she thought the group was ‘going too slow early on’, Gorman was among the lead pack of half a dozen right up until the 8km mark before being boxed in as a group of five took off for the final 1600m lap.
With the lead group upping the stroke rate, and Gorman unable to find any clear water, the Australian 1500m freestyle record holder was unable to stick with the medal contenders and held on to finish in the top ten.
Disappointed having come into the race with the hope of winning a medal, the 26-year-old psychology student is still philosophical about swimming on and heading to Rio.
“It was a rough race out there, everyone was a belting everyone and once I started to cop a few hits I really struggled to catch back up to that lead group,” said Gorman.
“I would have liked to have gone a lot better than that and I would have liked to have come away with a medal and I think I was capable of that, but the race didn’t really go to plan and I gave it my best and that’s really all you can do.”
“I’ll definitely keep swimming because I love it so much and I know I could do well in Rio.”
Tunisian Crowd favourite Oussama Mellouli won the men’s 10 kilometre marathon with a dominant display, adding to his 1500m freestyle gold from Beijing and streaking away from the field including Australia’s Ky Hurst who finished 20th.
Renowned as a pool swimmer, and having previously only competed in open water swims more as part of his training for the 1500, the 28 year-old was a clear standout in the race, with his smooth stroke, measured stroke rate and ability to inject pace at the right time.
Mellouli covered the 10km in an impressive one hour 49:55.1s with Germany’s Thomas Lurz (1:49:58.5) second and Canada’s Richard Weinberger taking bronze in 1:50:00.0.
For Hurst, Australia’s and only representative in the race, the event slipped away at the half way mark with the multiple-Australian ironman champion unable to explain exactly what went wrong, finishing in one hour 51:41.3s, almost two minutes off the gold medal.
“My preparation leading into this has been awesome and I was probably swimming better than I have ever swum before, especially only 12 months ago when I placed fifth at world’s and I felt I was swimming better now than I was then and was before Beijing,” Hurst said.
“I’ve got no excuses and was just a little bit shocked that I couldn’t back that last half up which is usually the better part of my race.
“The first lap I didn’t feel real crash hot and I just wanted to spin the arms over a little bit and get into a good rhythm. The second and third lap I felt good, I felt comfortable and felt like I stayed out of trouble. Even when I did get into a bit of trouble I felt that I could handle it pretty well and then things started unfolding after that third lap and I’m not sure what happened and I’m a bit confused by it all to be honest.”
With Mellouli making his move at the fourth lap, Hurst dropped from around 13th to 20th over the final lap but was still upbeat about competing in what he said was ‘by far the best Olympics I’ve been involved in’.
“Obviously with Mellouli winning today shows just how fit he was having backed up from a fast heat and then a fast final in the 1500m freestyle last week. The depth of open water swimming has excelled, Thomas Lurz placed second and he’s a pure open water swimmer these days, but yeah I think it’s great to have these pool swimmers come across and it definitely lifts the profile of the sport.”
Hurst ruled out a third Olympic Games in Rio, but has said he will be back in training for the ironman series after a bit of a break.
“I’ll take a break now, maybe a week or two, but I need to get back on my craft and get some size back, I’ve lost a bit of size over the last few months with all this swimming.”
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