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Monday, July 22, 2013

To The Wise And Patient Comes Victory, Gianniotis Wins 10K

66 men from 38 countries stood at the starting line of the 10 km world championship race under the warm 28ºC (82ºF) Spanish sun. Amid an enthusiastic crowd lining the shores and enjoying a stunning summer day in Barcelona, this race was different than the norm for the highest echelon of men.

For starters, they looked nervous and proved it with one of the few false starts in recent history.

But the veterans were calm. That combination of composure and confidence would later prove the difference in the race.

Once the massive field dove in the water, the men took a page from the women's book of tactics and strategy. A la Keri-Anne Payne, Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia wrestled early control over the field. He confidently led the huge group around the red turn buoys.

Like the top women, the Tunisian - currently the dominant man in the open water swimming world - challenged the rest of the field to stay with him. The scrum behind Saturday's 5 km world champion dealt the situation as best they could, especially in the midst of the obvious physicality of a huge scrum.

Like a school of fish, the entire pack instinctively swam 25 meters within one another as they continued around the first few loops. Sloshed left and right, the early physicality and warm conditions were bound to have an effect on the race during the second half. Mellouli, Sean Ryan of the USA remained in the early lead and enjoyed cleaner waters than those who remained in their wake.

But veterans lurked quietly in the midst of the confusion and commotion. They would not show their hands until the end of the race.

Like their female counterparts, the pack generated plenty of whistles and yellow cards from the referees. Competitors like Brian Ryckeman of Belgium found themselves in unavoidable situations and were called early for impeding. As the race progressed in the first half, Mellouli and Ryan, both well-known for leading the pack early, settled down the pace a bit and allowed men like 19-year-old Axel Reymond at his first world championships to take over the lead at a 5 km per hour pace while others like Chad Ho of South Africa positioned themselves towards the front.

Banging and slamming into one another, the referees did their best to keep the physicality to a minimum, but the aggression and intensity were a far greater catalyst of action than whistles by officials. By the first loop with Mellouli, Jack Burnell of Great Britain, and Sean Ryan willing themselves into the lead, Lijun Zu of China was red carded (disqualified) while the rest of the tightly-bunched pack continued to scramble in and around the turn buoys and feeding stations.

As the men cruised and churned up their own turbulence on a flat-water day under cloudless skies, Mellouli kept trying to push the pace and made continuous surges building into larger leads during the second loop. But the chase group, led by Canada's Richard Weinberger were not about to let Mellouli get too far of a lead. Like a cycling peloton, they lured MellouliEric Hedlin, who nearly upset Mellouli in the 5 km on Saturday, joined his Tunisian nemesis, Australia's Rhys Mainstone-Hodson, and Britain's Burnell in the front together with the always savvy Thomas Lurz of Germany.

While Aussie Mainstone-Hodson forged into the lead just after half, Mellouli and at least 30 aggressive men followed behind. With another 50 minutes to go, the race was still up for grabs with only half the starting field dropped. The lead pack was seemingly glued together with a revolving door of leaders in the front. Daniel Fogg, fifth at the 2012 London Olympics, moved up during the second half to increase his odds.

But the veterans played their cards right. Like poker players in a casino, they wore their dark goggles, never wavered, and hide their hands until it counted.

And they do not start counting their chips until the last loop.

As the race continued back and forth during the second half, Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece was patient. The 2011 10 km world champion had decided to sit out the 5 km on Saturday. But he was cautiously confident of his chances in the 10 km. Like a grand master playing chess in the open water, Gianniotis was always lurking in the lead pack but never in the front on the front half. He knew the movie was far from its conclusion until the last loop. The Greek soldier waited and waited. Like Socrates, he was about to teach his younger colleagues a lesson in strategy.

"It was unbelievable today", Gianniotis said to FINA's press agent. "I wanted to swim three laps comfortably and then get out in front on the final lap. Whenever anyone swam next to me I pushed up the pace. I'm quite good at sprinting. I watched Mellouli race in his 5km and I know that he has more speed than me."

Gianniotis patiently bid his time until the last loop. Then it was time. And when it was time, he hit the accelerator and made Greece proud.

With 200 meters to go, he surged into a 5-meter lead with France's Damien Cattin-Vidal, Mellouli, and Lurz in the chase group. No one else was in contention. But it was a swim of pure pain. "I pushed it in the last 300 meters just to stay ahead. In the last 50 meters I never felt so bad. I almost fainted I was so tired."

But like a man being chased by two hungry sharks, Gianniotis swam to safety and sealed a victory with a powerful statement and a wise strategy backed by incredible stamina and speed.



Real-time race reports courtesy of Theodore Yach. Final race results are as follows:

1. Spyridon Ginniotis (GRE) 1:49:11.8
2. Thomas Lurz (GER) 1:49:14.5
3. Oussams Mellouli(TUN) 1:49:19.2
4. Damien Cattin-Vidal(FRA) 1:49:19.8
5. Richard Weinberger (CAN) 1:49:19.9
6. Ferry Weertman (NED) 1:49:20.3
7. Allan Do Carmo (BRA) 1:49:26.2
8. Chad Ho (RSA) 1:49:19.3
9. Christian Reichert (GER) 1:49:26.8
10. Guillermo Bertola (ARG) 1:49:28.4
11. Brian Rycheman (BEL) 1:49:29.3
12. Simon Huitenga (AUS) 1:49:29.7
13. Rhys Mainstone 1:49:30.4
14. Valerio Cleri (ITA) 1:49:30.5
15. Jack Burnell (GBR) 1:49:30.6
16. Chris Bryan (IRL) 1:49:33.4
17. Sergey Bolshakov (RUS) 1:49:34.5
18. Gergely Gyurta (HUN) 1:49:34.6
19. Igor Chervynskiy (UKR)  1:49:40.6
20. Kane Radford (NZL) 1:49:43.0
21. Yasunari Hirai (JPN) 1:49:52.8
22. Jan Posmourny (CZE) 1:49:54.4
23. Eric Hedlin (CAN) 1:49:54.5
24. Johndry Segovia (VEN) 1:49:59.7
25. Ventslava Aydarski (BUL) 1:50:00.2
26. Yuto Kobayashi (JPN) 1:50:17.4
27. Miguel Angel Rozas Lopez (ESP) 1:50:18.0
28. Martin Miguel Carrizo Yunges (ARG) 1:50:18.4
29. Igor Snitko (UKR) 1:50:18.9
30. Santiago Paul Enderica Salgado (ECU) 1:50:20.2
31. Ivan Alejandro Enderica Ochoa (ECU) 1:50:20.6
32. Antonios Fokaidis (GRE) 1:50:20.7
33. Vasco Gaspar (POR) 1:50:20.7
34. Kirill Abrosimov (RUS) 1:50:22.5
35. Iván de Jesus López Ramos (MEX) 1:50:22.8
36. Yuval Safra (ISR) 1:50:23.5
37. Thomas Snelson Kilbride (ESP) 1:50:25.1
38. Daniel Fogg (GBR) 1:50:29.0
39. Arseniy Lavrentyev (POR) 1:50:31.7
40. Axel Reymond (FRA) 1:50:33.0
41. Zhang Zibin (CHN) 1:50:55.4
42. Alex Meyer (USA) 1:51:01.8
43. Mario Sanzullo (ITA) 1:51:07.7
44. Luis Bolanos (VEN) 1:51:09.6
45. Phillip Ryan (NZL) 1:51:11.3
46. Shahar Resman (ISR) 1:51:13.6
47. Jan Kutnik (CZE) 1:51:15.1
48. Miguel Alejandro Hernandez Martinez (MEX) 1:51:17.6
49. Vitaliy Kuhdyakov (KAZ) 1:51:42.8
50. Sean Ryan (USA) 1:51:43.7
51. Hercules Troyden Prinsloo (RSA) 1:51:48.0
52. Diogo Villarinho (BRA) 1:53:20.3
53. Zagrani Mohamed Amine (TUN) 2:03:03.3
54. Youssef Hossameldeen (EGY) 2:03:05.3
55. Francisco Montero (CRC) 2:03:27.6
56. Vladimir Tolikin (KAZ) 2:04:47.6
57. Vicentel Vidal Kubiersky (CHI) 2:05.14.7
58. Rodolfo Sanchez (CRC) 2:06:50.7
59. Ching Leung Sunny Poon (HKG) 2:06:55.8
60. Manuel Meneses (GUA) 2:09:15.8
61. Chun Hong Li (HKG) 2:09:17.5
62. Addul Hady (INA) 2:10:46.2
Mandar Anandrao Divase Adel Ragab (EGY) DNF
Saleh Mohammad (SYR) DNS
Lijun Zu (CHN) DSQ

Copyright © 2013 by Open Water Swimming

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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.

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

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