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Melbourne Sports Centres - MSAC has its very own Olympic hopeful on the lifeguard team – Win Htet Oo (Ray to his Australian friends) is aiming to be the first swimmer to qualify for his native Myanmar (formerly Burma) in Tokyo, 2020.
When his family moved to Melbourne approximately three years ago, Ray seized the opportunity to focus on swimming and improve his times for the 50-metre freestyle event.
To qualify, Ray needs to better the time of 22.67 seconds for the B standard, which may seem a fait accompli given that his most recent time at the National Short Course titles at MSAC was a speedy 22.07.
Ray will make his attempt at the long course time at the Southeast Asian Games in the Philippines, which begin on November 30.
With some help from the Vicentre Swimming Club, Ray has largely taken on the role of coach and swimmer by himself, training daily at Victoria’s premier swimming facility. Melbourne Sports Centres – MSAC.
His journey hasn’t been a completely solo one…
Enormously popular in the lifeguard team, Ray has had plenty of support – and occasional advice – from his workmates.
Head strength and conditioning coach at MSAC and Vicentre, Adam Hutton , has also helped along the way.
‘Adam has helped me with minor injuries and setbacks better and faster than most,’ Ray explains. ‘He knows a helluva lot about strength training for sport.’
Sister Angie, also an MSAC employee, is always there for support.
‘I’ve been working on my starts – they need to get quicker,’ Ray says. ‘The first 15 metres in my event is crucial, and Angie often times me as I practice.’
To that end, Ray is pleased to be training at MSAC. ‘The (latest design) start blocks are important to me to practice on. The pool temperatures, indoor or outdoor, are run at competition levels, and I often have the choice of short course (25m) or long course (50m).’
If he does make the journey to the big stage in Tokyo next year, Ray’s reward will be a sense of accomplishment.
‘I’d honestly be pleased to do something for my parents,’ he says modestly. ‘They have done so much for me, really been the driving force behind everything I’ve worked for.’
For now, the countdown is on to the next test in December. Ray will leave for the Philippines on 2 December, with his races on 8 and 9 December.