Hurst leads swim field
By STEVE SPINKS
FOUR-TIME Australian Ironman champion Ky Hurst won't have it all his own way when the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic is held tomorrow.
Hurst, who has won the past two Classics, is the obvious favourite, but he could face stiff opposition from Australian swim team members Adam Lucas and Jim Piper.
Lucas has confirmed he will line-up at the start of the 2km race, which starts at Wategos Beach and concludes at Main Beach.
Piper has yet to enter, but organisers have been told Lucas is trying to convince his fellow West Australian to swim.
Both are members of the Australian team that will contest the World Championships in Canada later this year.
Lucas is Australia's representative in the 200m and 400m individual medley, while Piper has qualified for the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
Piper is an experienced swimmer, having competed in the Olympic games last year.
He is also a Commonwealth games gold medallist and has swam at previous World Championship and Pan Pacific meets.
However, Hurst is favoured over the longer distances. He won the Australian Championships over 5km only recently on the Gold Coast.
But Piper and Lucas could upset Hurst in the dash for cash, which is a swim of about 400m after the race.
Another big name competing is Brendan Capell who is representing Australia in the 25km race at the world championships.
In the women's race, Catherine Ware is the favourite after she won the Australian 5km race on the Gold Coast.
The Classic has a history of high calibre swimmers competing.
Olympic gold medallist and 1500m world record holder Grant Hackett won the race twice as a teenager.
"When he first won it we thought who is this spindly little kid," chuckled Chris Lowry, one of the Classic's organisers.
"Then the next year he came back and won it again and then went off to win the 1500m at the World Championships a month later.
"We then realised he was pretty good."
More than 850 entries have already been received and further entries will be taken at the Byron Bay Surf Club from 2pm to 6pm today.
Swimming starts from 9.45am with staggered starts for various age divisions.