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Friday, July 27, 2012
Olympic Marathon Swimming - Male Medal Contenders
For complete and comprehensive coverage of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim on August 9th and 10th, visit here.
This is how the top male marathon swimmers are ranked heading into the 2012 London Olympics:
1. Spyros Gianniotis (GRE with a 1:54:24.7 qualifying time) is the co-favorite for the Olympic gold medal with Thomas Lurz. The veterans have dominated the pro circuit and international competitions for the past year, constantly upping the ante as they have pushed the pace to a realm capable by only a handful of athletes. When the lead pack comes around the last turn buoy, expect Greece's humble three-time Olympian to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Lurz for the lead.
2. Thomas Lurz (GER with a 1:54:27.2 qualifying time) is the co-favorite for the Olympic gold medal with rival Spyridon Gianniotis. Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte's rivalry is more celebrated, but Lurz and Gianniotis are similarly close...over a 10km course. A gentleman and sportsman extraordinaire, Lurz is the epitome of German efficiency - streamlined and balanced with incredible horsepower. When the lead pack comes around the last turn buoy, expect the 2008 bronze medalist to be shoulder-to-shoulder with Gianniotis in the lead.
3. Sergey Bolshakov (RUS with a 1:54:31.8 qualifying time) is a dark horse for an Olympic medal. Large and powerful, Bolshakov can hold his position - and move others out of theirs. Swimming quickly out of the shadow of his Russian teammate Vladimir Dyatchin, Bolshakov has the tools - speed, savvy and stamina - to make an Olympic statement on the largest stage in open water swimming history.
4. Alex Meyer (USA with a 1:54:33.1 qualifying time) is coached by a former boxer and is the son of a professor. Pugnacious and tenacious, intellectual and effectual, Meyer has the tools to overcome a collarbone injury that he sustained earlier this year. More importantly, Meyer is swimming for himself and on behalf his fallen friend and teammate, Fran Crippen. With a depth of motivation like no other, Meyer will dig deeper than anyone else in the field. The Olympic stage calls for dramatic heroic feats and Meyer is positioned with a more profound mission than anyone else in the Olympic Village.
5. Ky Hurst (AUS with a 1:54:33.9 qualifying time) is the most unorthodox finalist in the field. A true ocean waterman, he trained for a number of aquatic disciplines - all of which will benefit him in the compact course on the Serpentine. Turns, racing savvy and navigational IQ will be his calling cards, but his speed will be called into question on the last loop.
6. Francisco José "Kiko" Hervás (ESP with a 1:54:34.3 qualifying time) has the experience and the heart to hang with the lead pack throughout the race. Most definitely, a top 5 finish is within his potential, but everything would have to fall perfectly right for him to medal in the Serpentine against this loaded field.
7. Brian Ryckeman (BEL with a 1:54:36.1 qualifying time) has the length, racing experience and physical tools to medal. But like his long-time European rival Hervás, he will need to find the perfect mix of proper pacing, optimal positioning and an adrenalin-fueled finish to finish in the top 5.
8. Julien Sauvage (FRA with a 1:54:37.2 qualifying time) is ready to mix it up with his more celebrated marathoners, and he will slug it out with the best of them no matter what the pace. However, he will have a tough time keeping up with the top 5 men heading down the backstretch or finish. Yet his speed should help him lock down a top 10 finish.
9. Vladimir Dyatchin (RUS with a 1:54:38.7 qualifying time) was a gold medal favorite in 2008, but fell out of medal position on the last lap and was ultimately disqualified. Unsatisfied with his 2008 performance, Dyatchin knows this 2012 Olympic stage is his best chance for redemption. With the target off his back, Dyatchin still remains a mighty big gun in a loaded field. If any athlete knows what it takes to get on the podium, the two-time world champion is ready to pounce on the opportunity.
10. Andreas Waschburger (GER with a 1:54:39.8 qualifying time) is a daredevil and risk-taker. He is willing to push the pace and make a surge at an unexpected time to stay with his most experienced rivals. But as one of the youngest swimmers in the top echelon, his best Olympic performances are ahead of him.
11. Oussama Mellouli (TUN) is an intriguing game-changer in the marathon swim. The 2008 Olympic gold medalist in the 1500m freestyle in the pool, he is the fastest and most powerful swimmer in the field, whether it is a 200m sprint or a longer distance. But he is also the least experienced in the open water. He balances his inexperience with a straightforward strategy - start his kick with 2-3 km to go and challenge everyone to stay with him. He ups the ante and will challenge the other top swimmers - Lurz and Gianniotis - to stay with him. A chiseled athlete with a tenacious mindset, he would be the gold medal favorite were it not for his inexperience. But count on seeing the Tunisian flag being raised at the awards ceremony.
12. Richard Weinberger (CAN) is a young gun capable to swimming shoulder-to-shoulder with any athlete in the field. His down-to-earth casual demeanor will serve him well in the pressure-cooker in the Serpentine. He can turn on his speed as necessary and is ready to unleash his Canadian tenacity in the Serpentine from start to finish where he is expected to be in the top 5 if everything goes to plan.
13. Petar Stoychev (BUL) is at the tail end of his illustrious career, but he has been training with his German rival Lurz in the hopes of putting a finishing touch to a career of unprecedented records and victories over the past decade. Unlike in 2008 when he swam the 1500m in the pool in addition to his 6th place finish in the 10km, the English Channel record holder will focus solely on the marathon swim. He is expected to stick with the leaders from start to finish, and may squeak in for a top 5 finish and, if fate treats him well, a medal finish.
14. Valerio Cleri (ITA) is poised to move up just one spot from his fourth-place finish at the 2008 Olympic marathon swim. A voracious workout swimmer, he is prepared to punish himself from the first stroke. Seriously intimidating, no one will move him out of position around a turn buoy. If he can benefit from a few tactical mistakes from the top swimmers and hits his taper just right, expect the Italian world champion to be smiling at the end with his Olympic dream realized.
15. Troyden Prinsloo (RSA) is big, fast and tough-minded. His pedigree as a world-class swimmer and hardened South Africa is more than enough to offset his relatively shallow open water swimming experience at this level. The two-time Olympian will be in the lead pack and can finish in the top 6 with a great finish and proper hydration throughout the race.
16. Yasunari Hirai (JPN) will hang with the leaders in the first half of the race and has the tools to finish in the front side of the secondary pack. He is moving up the ranks of the world-class swimmers, but his best performances are ahead of him. Look for the emerging Japanese star in a better position in 2016.
17. Igor Chervynskiy (UKR) is ready to rock and roll with the world's best swimmers, but he will be hanging off the lead pack as the pace picks up between the 5-7 km mark. The 12th place finisher from the 2008 Beijing Olympic marathon swim, he may sneak into the top 10, but is more likely to finish in the top 15.
18. Ivan Enderica Ochoa (ECU) will be hanging with Hirai and challenging Chervynskiy, but he may take it out fast to try to get a jump on the second and third packs. He is rapidly improving, but this field may be too deep for him to finish in the top 15. Look for him to move up among the leading swimmers over the Rio Olympic quadrennial.
19. Arseniy Lavrentyev (POR) is an experienced savvy racer and understands all the tricks of the trade, but his speed is not enough for a top 10 finish. A powerful man, he finished 22nd in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and may crack the top 20 with an inspired effort. 20. Yuriy Kudinov (KAZ) is nearing the end of his illustrious career. A 5-time world champion from Kazakhstan and one of the fastest English Channel swimmers of all time, he is looking to put forth an Olympian effort and may finish in the top 15 with a fast second half and a few breaks in a tight second-tier pack.
21. Erwin Maldonado (VEN) will be solidly in the middle of the pack for 7-8 km. Similar to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, he is capable of a top 10 finish, but this London Olympics field is too deep and fast for Maldonado to repeat his 2008 performance. However, look for the Venezuelan ace to be leading the second-tier pack at the end.
22. Csaba Gercsak (HUN) could be prepared for a major breakout swim. He could finish anywhere from the top 10 to a finish in the trailing packs. If everything falls into place, look for him at the end of the lead pack at the end, but a top 20 finish is more likely for the long-time Hungarian mainstay on the professional circuit.
23. Mazen Aziz (EGY) is following in the wake of several decades of great Egyptian swimmers. Training in the United States, Aziz is prepared to swim fast enough for a top 15 finish if he can remain closely on the heels of the lead pack for the first 7 km. He needs to draft well and be willing to move at the 7km mark to finish solidly in the top 15.
24. Daniel Fogg (GBR) may have his best performance in the 1500m in the pool. But if his female teammate Keri-Anne Payne wins the women's race on August 9th, there will be heaps of expectations placed on his shoulders. With a vast majority of the 30,000 spectators rooting for the British star, Fogg may fuel a top 10 finish with adrenalin, country pride and inspiration in front of a home crowd.
25. Benjamin Schulte (GUA) is a 16-year-old teenager who has the potential to compete well over the next 3-4 Olympics. He will swim as fast as he can, but he may finish well back of the main pack. Despite his inability to hang with all the world champions and Olympians for a full 10,000 meters, he may finish to some of the largest cheers heard in Hyde Park during the Olympics.
For complete and comprehensive coverage of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim on August 9th and 10th, visit here.
Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE
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."
The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme
Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]
Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland
Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance
Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony
Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute
The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:
* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year
For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:
* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.
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Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.