Melissa Gorman could win a fifth Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic on Sunday.
Melissa Gorman could win a fifth Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic on Sunday.

Gorman goes for swimming record

MELISSA GORMAN, it seems, never stops swimming.

And the four-time women’s champion of the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic won’t be stopping any time soon.

On Sunday, the 24-year-old will endeavour to become the first swimmer – male or female – to take out the Winter Whales classic five times.

The Brisbane girl was queen of the Bay in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.

But like many athletes, Gorman finds potential accolades like becoming the first five-time winner only adds to the pressure.

“Thanks for that,” Gorman replied when told of the impending record.

“I guess it adds a bit of pressure but I try to focus on the process of the race rather than what might happen when I cross the line.”

She knows well the route from Wategos to Main Beach.

For Gorman, swimming is living.

She has just come out of two weeks of intensive training camps with Australian teams getting ready for the World Open Water Championships in July and the Pan Pacific Games in August.

Her stamina allows her to swim in the 800m and 1500m events in the pool, and the 5km and 10km events in open water.

“It was real tough training,” she said.

“Kind of a get-fit-quick program with no option but to shape up.”

But you wouldn’t think the rising star would have taken much shaping up – just last month she was in action at the Commonwealth Games trials where she broke Hayley Lewis’ 1500m record which stood for more than a decade.

And the most astonishing fact to come from that particular swim was that Gorman broke her own personal best by a whopping 25 seconds.

Surely she is in good form coming into the Winter Whales Classic.

“I am feeling good,” she said.

“I have no injuries and my coach has me in good shape leading into a big section of the year with the Open Water Worlds and Pan Pacs.”

The iconic Byron Bay event will be just another stepping stone on the path to international glory, and although Gorman loves coming here she won’t be staying on for the Byron Bay Triathlon the following weekend.

“No chance,” she said.

“I am not much of a runner and there are short beach runs at the start and finish of the ocean swim – that is enough for me.”

Hundreds of Gorman’s competitors will be looking to get the jump on the rising star in those beach runs – they know that once she hits the water the four-time winner is in her element.

Athletes who are yet to lodge entries for the Byron Bay Ocean Swim Classic can do so by post by today; on-line by midnight on Friday; and in person at Byron Bay Surf Club from 3-5pm on Friday, April 30.

No entries can be taken on race weekend. Enquiries to Syl Reid on 0421-155600.



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