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Friday, March 30, 2012

Olympic Marathon Swimming - Female Medal Contenders

Open Water Source looks at the top female Olympic medal contenders and dark horses for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim on August 9th in the Serpentine in Hyde Park.

With the top 10 women already qualified, there will be another 15 swimmers who will qualify in June in Portugal in order to fill out the field of 25.

This is how the top female marathon swimmers are ranked headed into the 2012 London Olympics:

1. Keri-Anne Payne (GBR) 2:01:58.1 qualifying time (shown above)
2. Martina Grimaldi (ITA) 2:01:59.9 qualifying time
3. Marianna Lymperta (GRE) 2:01:01.8 qualifying time
4. Melissa Gorman (AUS) 2:01:12.0 qualifying time
5. Cecilia Biagioli (ARG) 2:01:12.0 qualifying time
6. Poliana Okimoto (BRA) 2:01:13.6 qualifying time
7. Jana Pechanova (CZE) 2:02:13.8 qualifying time
8. Angela Maurer (GER) 2:01:15.1 qualifying time
9. Swann Oberson (SUI) 2:02:16.4 qualifying time
10. Erika Villaecija Garcia (ESP) 2:01:18.7 qualifying time

Keri-Anne Payne is the odds-on gold medal favorite in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim. The two-time world champion stands head-and-shoulders above the field while serving as one of the most accomplished ambassadors of the sport. As an athlete, she is focused and hard-working. As a personable spokesperson, she can eloquently explain the sport in simple terms and profoundly describe what drives her to reach her goals. As the silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she uniquely combines beauty, brawn and brains. In the heart of London, Keri-Anne will take off on a sprint right from the start and will push the pace throughout the marathon swim. The hopes of Great Britain for a gold medal ride on the shoulders of this charismatic superstar.

Martina Grimaldi is a seriously minded Italian star of the open water. Friendly, focused and fast, Martina can handle the furious high pace of her rivals in the marathon world right from the beginning all the way through to the finish. Cold water, warm water. Rough water, calm water, the 24-year-old student will be near the lead of the pack throughout the race. She understands tactics and strategy, the strengths and weaknesses of her competitors.

She can flat out swim in the backstretch and battle around the turn buoys. She has a closing sprint and she is not afraid of physical contact. With dreams of Olympic gold, the world champion for Italy is a good bet for Olympic gold.

Marianna Lymperta is a savvy veteran from Greece who will be taking her fourth trip to the Olympic Games. The multi-lingual extrovert understands the value of hard work and enjoys the pushing herself in her twice-daily workouts. She knows her decades of sacrifice and commitment are the foundation that can enable her to hear the Greek national anthem on the Olympic podium. She understands that August 9th in the Serpentine will present her best opportunity for Olympic gold after competing at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympics. With a bright smile and warm personality, she thrives on pressure and will relish the spotlight in front of tens of thousands of spectators ringing the Olympic marathon swimming venue in Hyde Park.

Melissa Gorman has the potential to carry on the lines of greatness of her Australian swimming predecessors. From the shores of Down Under to the center of the Commonwealth, Australians have long demonstrated their freestyle prowess around the world. Tall and statuesque, outgoing and friendly, Melissa is a goddess of the open water world. Her ability to sprint, her competitive spirit and her well-developed stamina based on decades of hard work in the pool and oceans around the world is a enviable mix.

Many insiders to expect to see Melissa's smiling countenance on top the Olympic podium.

Cecilia Biagioli of Argentina is another wily veteran of three Olympics. Coached by her brother, the quiet, seriously minded marathon swimmer is ready for worldwide glory in her fourth Olympics. The slim, tough-minded athlete is respectful of all the opportunities given to her through her hard work and aquatic dreams. She has the endurance to stay in the front edges of the lead pack and the speed to close fast after two hours of fast swimming.

She has the unquestionable ability to squeeze past anyone in the field and pull off an upset that would make the marathon swimming-mad Argentina delirious with delight.

Poliana Okimoto is living her dream. Cautious at first when she was introduced to marathon swimming, she has now taken to the oceans, rivers and lakes of the world. A slender marathon swimming champion, she just finished outside the money at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Coached by her husband, she is friendly and personable onshore. But she transforms herself to a competitive endurance machine once she hits the open water. Fit and fast, strong and savvy, the Brazilian star has what it takes to stand on top of the Olympic podium.

Jana Pechanova of the Czech Republic is a dark horse who has the potential to move up from her 8th position from the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Always in the top ten and occasionally poking around the top five, she is only out of the top three by seconds. One great turn around a buoy, one fast finish to end her career and Jana may be able to have an Olympic medal hung around her neck. She will be in the lead pack throughout the race, dodging physical contact and surging when necessary.

In a sport where athletes can expect the unexpected, Jana has the physical and psychological tools to surprise many.

Angela Maurer was barely edged out of a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The German mother and police officer has the guts and game to rectify the situation in London. The 35-year-old Wunderkind will make her presence felt throughout the race, around the turn buoys, and will be near the top at the end. While she lost out on an Olympic bronze by only a stroke four years ago, the 25 km world champion is most definitely ready to seize the opportunity in the Serpentine.

Swann Oberson of Switzerland is coming off of a 5-kilometer world championship victory at last year's world championship. Riding a hot streak into London, the tall and statuesque athlete is ready physically and psychologically to have the race of her life in the culmination of her long distinguished career.

A two-time Olympian with a top ten finish in the 10 km marathon swim at the Beijing Olympics, the medal dark horse knows how to pace herself with the best of the world and sprint to seal the deal.

Erika Villaecija Garcia is coming into her own. A two-time pool swimming Olympian from Spain, she has turned her talents and sights to the open water swimming world. With a steely mind fortified with stamina developed by hours and hours of swimming every day, Erika has the tools - speed, endurance and strategy - to surprise many and fulfill her long-held Olympic aspirations.

There are the Olympic medal favorites and contenders, but the open water swimming world knows to expect the unexpected - and there will be surprises.

Stay tuned.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source

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The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Agenda

Friday, 19 September



Welcome Reception at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland

Documentary films shown throughout the reception:

Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa – Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way
(film by Bruckner Chase)

Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain
(film by Wayne Ewing about Matthew Moseley's Lake Pontchartrain crossing)

Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska
(film by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko about the relay between Russia and Alaska)

The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau
(film about Simon Holiday's Pearl River Delta crossing)

Saturday, 20 September



Registration and Coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Keynote Speech:
Colleen Blair (Scotland) on The History of Scottish Swimming



Christopher Guesdon (Australia) on Multidimensional Roles In The Sport



Colin Hill (England) on Recent Explosion in UK Open Water



Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) on The Feminine Code of Achievement - How a Lady from Down Under Revolutionized Professional Marathon Swimming



Simon Murie (England) on Open Water Swimming Holidays: How A New Sector Was Created Within The Travel Industry



Swimming The Oceans Seven
A round table discussion moderated by:
Kevin Murphy (England), with Stephen Redmond (Ireland), Anna-Carin Nordin (Sweden),
Darren Miller (USA), Adam Walker (England), Kimberley Chambers (New Zealand)



Coffee and Break



World Open Water Swimming Awards Luncheon:
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA)

Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year

Olga Kozydub (Russia), 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year

Bering Strait Swim, 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year

Honoring: Vladimir Chegorin, Maria Chizhova, Elena Guseva, Ram Barkai, Jack Bright, Oksana Veklich, Aleksandr Jakovlevs, Matías Ola, Henri Kaarma, Toomas Haggi, Nuala Moore, Anne Marie Ward, Toks Viviers, Melissa O’Reilly, Ryan Stramrood, Cristian Vergara, Craig Lenning, Rafal Ziobro, Andrew Chin, Jackie Cobell, James Pittar, Paolo Chiarino, Mariia Yrjö-Koskinen, Ivan Papulshenko, Zdenek Tlamicha, Zhou Hanming, Oleg Adamov, Andrei Agarkov, Alekseev Semen, Tatiana Alexandrova, Roman Belan, Elena Semenova, Alexander Brylin, Afanasii Diackovskii, Vladimir Nefatov, Evgenii Dokuchaev, Oleg Docuckaev, Roman Efimov, Dmitrii Filitovich, Olga Filitovich, Victor Godlevskiy, Olga Golubeva, Alexei Golubkin, Alexander Golubkin, Alexandr Iurkov, Oleg Ivanov, Pavel Kabakov, Eduard Khodakovskiy, Aleksandr Komarov, Aleksandr Kuliapin, Andrey Kuzmin, Irina Lamkina, Vladimir Litvinov, Andrey Mikhalev, Victor Moskvin, Nikolay Petshak, Sergey Popov, Vladimir Poshivailov, Grigorii Prokopchuk, Dmitrii Zalka, Natalia Seraya, Viacheslav Shaposhnikov, Olga Sokolova, Andrei Sychev, Alexei Tabakov, and Nataliia Usachaeva [represented by Admiral Konstantin Sidenko and Nuala Moore]



Alexey Salmin Pavlovich (Russia) and Dmitry Dragozhilov (Russia)
on the 2016 Winter Swimming World Championships [film]



Sally Minty-Gravett (Jersey) on Motivating Swimmers



Dmitry Blokhin (Russia) and Aleksei Veller (Russia)
on the First World Ice Swimming Championships [film]



Matthew Moseley (USA)’s Dancing With The Water, Crossing of Lake Pontchartrain [film]



Simon Holliday (England) and Doug Woodring (Hong Kong)’s The Clean Swim – Hong Kong to Macau 2014 [film]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame (IMSHOF)

IMSHOF Induction Ceremonies and Dinner
with co-hosts Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia) and Steven Munatones (USA).

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Elizabeth Fry (USA), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • James Anderson (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Dr. Jane Katz (USA), IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Indonesian Swimming Federation Open Water Committee (Indonesia), IMSHOF Honour Organisation

  • Melissa Cunningham (Australia), Irving Davids – Captain Roger Wheeler Award by the International Swimming Hall of Fame and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Sandra Bucha (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

  • Jon Erikson (USA), ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer [represented by Sandra Bucha]



International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) Introduction Video.
Welcome speech by host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)






International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF)
Induction Ceremonies and Dinner with host Shelley Taylor-Smith (Australia)

Recognition of International Swimming Hall of Fame honorees:

  • Mercedes Gleitze (England)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by daughter Doloranda Pember]

  • Dale Petranech (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Contributer and IMSHOF Honour Administrator

  • Claudio Plit (Argentina)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Shelley Taylor-Smith]

  • Judith van Berkel-de Nijs (Netherlands)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by Niek Kloots]

  • George Young (Canada)
    ISHOF Honor Pioneer Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer
    [represented by the Catalina Channel Swimming Federation]

  • David Yudovin (USA)
    ISHOF Honor Open Water Swimmer and IMSHOF Honour Swimmer

Sunday, 21 September



Registration and coffee at Mount Stuart House, Isle of Bute, Scotland



Nuala Moore (Ireland) on The Mindset of 1000m at 0ºC



Admiral Konstantin Sidenko (Russia)’s Bering Strait Swim Chukotka - Alaska in 2013 [film]



Ned Denison (Ireland) on Swimming The World



Bruckner Chase (USA)’s Blue Journey-Amerika Samoa
Stronger Together: The Waterman’s Way



Rok Kerin (Slovenia) on Lifestyle Benefits From Open Water Swimming



Survey distribution and group photo-taking



Swim at Stravvana Bay, Isle of Bute


The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

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