Rising triathlon star takes plunge
MELISSA Rollison's long build-up towards attempting to defend her half-ironwoman world title this year will continue on the Sunshine Coast this weekend.
It was announced yesterday that the Brisbane-based former steeplechase champion would race at this weekend's Kings of the Coast Ocean Swim Festival at Caloundra.
Rollison has been a revelation since taking up triathlon about two years ago.
She shocked the sport when she won the 70.3km world championship in Las Vegas last year, and will return there in September to try to make it consecutive victories.
Everything she does this year is geared towards keeping that world crown, and she will use the two-day Caloundra event to finetune her weakest leg - the swim.
Rollison will have fond memories of the Coast after winning last year's Noosa Triathlon.
The 29-year-old again showed her class by overcoming a 2min40sec deficit on the opening swim leg at Noosa to hunt down then world No.4 Emma Jackson and beat her by 44 seconds.
At Caloundra, Rollison will contest the 1500m relay on Saturday (without teammates) and the 3.8km race the following day.
Rollison will arrive on the Coast having suffered a rare defeat recently. In March, she finished fourth at the Abu Dhabi International Triathlon - a 3km swim, 200km ride and 20km run torture test - but said she went into that event underdone due to injury.
It was her first defeat in eight races stretching back to the start of last year, with her wins including the national long course championship at Falls Creek, Victoria, in February.
"Everything's been going well," the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games 3000m steeplechase champion said yesterday.
"I'm doing a big training block at the moment and I'm chucking in some swim races.
"I use them as training. My weakest leg is the swim leg … I go as hard as I can (in these events) and see how it goes."
The third annual Kings of the Coast is part of the Queensland Ocean Swim Series.
Kings of the Coast
- The ocean swim festival consists of four course options: 1500m and 300m (Saturday) and 1km and 3.8km (Sunday)
- Entries for all events are available online until 6pm on Friday. Entries are also available on event day at Lions Park, Kings Beach (Saturday: 1-2pm, Sunday 7.30-8.30am)
- The Queensland Ocean Swim Series, which includes the King of the Coast, began in 2010
- More than 1500 swimmers are expected to take part in the 2012 series