Melissa Gorman Wins Ocean Racing Series World Championship

Melissa Gorman Wins Ocean Racing Series World Championship

World 5K champion Melissa Gorman of Australia (left in photo) demonstrated her speed outswimming New Zealand’s Brenda Russell (right) in the inaugural 2K Ocean Racing Series World Championship race at the four-day international MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival in Port Elizabeth, South Africa on Saturday.

Melissa, who recently set a Commonwealth record in the 1500-meter freestyle at the recent Australian National Championships, won comfortably while placing third overall in 24:50. Brenda, a former Zimbabwean now competing for New Zealand, finished in 26:20 with Port Elizabeth teenager Carmell Billson third in 26:29. While she was up with the leading men’s pack at the back end of the first lap, “I was a bit shocked actually. I felt really good out there. The conditions were beautiful – kinda similar to Australia really.”

Melissa’s victory was mirrored on the men’s side by English Channel record holder and 3-time Olympian Petar Stoychev in a close battle with Durban’s Luke Nisbet after a mellow start on the two-loop course off Hobie Beach, known as the Sunshine Coast and water sports capital of South Africa.

Like the women’s race, swimmers from three different countries finished 1-2-3 on the men’s side with Petar crossing the line first in 24:28 followed by Luke in 24:40 and Australia’s Andrew Mosel third in 25:01.

“It was very hard. It is the first time that I’ve competed in a race that starts and finishes on the beach,” said the 33-year-old although one could argue that he swam his record-breaking English Channel swim like a race, starting near the White Cliffs of Dover and ended in Cape Gris-Nez, France. “Luke, the second guy was very fast. I was worried about the run at the end – I’m not used to that. I just went as fast as possible towards the end. I was tired, it was so quick.”

24-year-old Luke said, “I was on Stoychev’s feet at the last turn, but then he accelerated and pulled a small gap. Winning would’ve been nice, but I’m happy with my result.”

The Ocean Racing Series World Championship race is part of a multi-discipline international marine sporting extravaganza at the four-day MTN Nelson Mandela Bay Splash Festival where top athletes from around the world gathered to compete along the sun-drenched coast.

Copyright © 2010 by Steven Munatones
Steven Munatones