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Saturday, December 14, 2013

Poliana Okimoto Is Up For Athlete Of The Year

Poliana Okimoto is as unlikely an Olympic gold medal favorite as there ever was.

The slender Brazilian swimmer had an outstanding 2013 where she won a gold medal (in the showcase 10 km marathon swim), a silver medal (in the 5 km) and a team bronze medal (in the 5 km team pursuit) at the 2013 FINA World Championships.

Okimoto never liked open water swimming.

Waves, currents and the cold were not in her wheelhouse. She preferred the pool and for years stayed far away from the surf. But the sport ultimately became her calling and she is most definitely coming into her own in her late 20s with the 2016 Rio Olympic Gamess looming large in the distance.

"I didn't like open water swimming," recalls the soft-spoken personable woman. "I didn't want to do it."

But then there was the Travessia Dos Fortes, a 3.8 km race along Copacabana Beach which she won. Eventually she garnered her courage and did more and more swims. Sometimes the cold got to her and she had to retire early from a swim, but she kept at it and is now clearly among the world's highest echelon in open water swimming.

The road has been long and hard with daily workouts under the tutelage of her husband and coach Ricardo Cintra (shown above). "It is not easy, our lifestyle. Our workouts, our training. It is so hard."

In her native Brazil, Okimoto's quiet efforts climbing up the open water rankings have brought her public acclaim and respect. Okimoto is up for its Athlete of the Year, a prestigious award that pits her against Brazil's top athletes in judo, modern pentathlon, gymnastics, pool swimming and sailing.

You can vote for one of open water swimming's most humble and successful athletes here.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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Open Water Swimming Magazine

Open Water Swimming Magazine

The 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.

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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 Swimming

An 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.

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