Ray's Olympic Dream

With news that will be music to the ears of all who know him, Melbourne Sports Centres - MSAC employee and Tokyo Olympic hopeful Win Htet Oo (Ray) has returned from his trip to the South East Asian Games with an Olympic qualifying time to his name.

Another achievement ticked off on the way to his ultimate destination, Ray candidly offers a rare insight into the rigour of the physical and mental tests experienced by elite athletes.

‘I swam 22.07 at Nationals (Ray finished an impressive 5th in the final of the men’s 50m freestyle at the National Short Course Championships, held at MSAC in October), and a week later in long course swam 23 seconds.  I thought I’d be really fresh for it,’ Ray explains.  ‘Then I hurt my arm a week out, so I could easily have been very disappointed.’

As it turned out, Ray reached his goal of a ‘B’ Qualifying time (22.62) in the morning’s heat of the 50m freestyle event. ‘I only had two chances, and there’s only one speed in the 50m free,’ he says.

Initially disappointed with finishing fourth in the final that evening, Ray has since turned the experience into an opportunity for development.

‘I think I got too excited in the final,’ he says.  ‘I went too hard and lost my technique a little.’

Explaining that there is a lot to focus on between now and the Tokyo Olympics, which begin in June 2020, Ray is confident there is a lot of improvement to come.

‘I still have to work on my starts – we talked about that before,’ he emphasises.  ‘The first 15 metres, dive, transition to swim, all of that can be improved.  I’ve been starting slowly and catching up – I need to be in front.’

To that end, Ray now has new Melbourne Sports Centres Swim Programs Manager Seb Bettiol from Western Melbourne Propulsion in his coaching corner and is looking forward to the challenge, with the two now able to take full advantage of the facilities at Melbourne Sports Centres - MSAC. 

‘Seb really knows his stuff,’ he enthuses.

New Zealand’s Open Championships at the end of March will be another chance for Ray to fine tune his technique, and then it’s the anxious wait to hear if he will be selected for Myanmar’s national team.

Whatever the outcome, Ray is in swimming for the long haul.  Aside from expressing his gratitude to his parents for their support, Ray wants to give something back to the sport in his home country. 

‘I’m excited (for Tokyo), but I’m going to keep going.  I’m always going to represent Myanmar,’ he says.  ‘There’s always going to be someone after me, and I’m going to keep going until there is someone there that I can pass my knowledge on to.  I want there to be a program that swimmers in Myanmar can use, and I want to keep developing the sport, particularly in the outer areas of the country.’