Tuesday, August 7, 2012 | | By: Febi

Heidi Out To Better World Ranking, Popularise Open Water Swimming In Malaysia

LONDON, Aug 7 (Bernama) -- National long distance swimmer Heidi Gan is set to make an impact in the 10km open water swimming competition of the London Olympics, held at Hyde Park pool, near here on Thursday.

She's not aiming for a medal, considering herself as a rookie swimmer in the event which was introduced in the Beijing 2008 edition, but hopes to make an impact, so as to popularise the sport in Malaysia.

"There are 25 swimmers in the event and I'm ranked 24th. Most of them had taken part in the Beijing edition but this is my first Olympics.

"I just want to better my ranking but what's important is to popularise the sport in Malaysia," she told reporters, here today.

Heidi, 23, admitted that many among the Malaysian public have heard of the open water swimming event until she won a gold in the 2011 SEA Games in Indonesia.

The Australian based swimmer shot into the limelight after clinching two gold medals in the SEA Games through the 10,000m and 5,000m open water swimming events.

"After the SEA Games, I went back to Perth and started an intensive training programme with my Australian coach Matthew Magee. He's been coaching me for seven years," she said.

She said unlike Malaysia, there are many open water swimming competitions in Australia.

"I'll be glad to introduce the sport to Malaysians," said Heidi who represented Kuala Lumpur in the 100m freestyle swimming competition at 2002 SUKMA hosted by Negeri Sembilan.

On her competition this Thursday, Heidi said she had tested the pool a few times during the training sessions.

"The water is quite cold with temperature hovering between 19-20 Celsius. Its good for me," she said.

From Zulhilmi Supaat -- BERNAMA

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