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Monday, December 2, 2013

When Cameras Roll, Poliana Okimoto Shines Brightly

Things come in threes it seems for Poliana Okimoto.

Not only did she win 3 medals at the 2013 FINA World Championships this summer in Barcelona to highlight her summer, but the Brazilian superstar also won the 3 professional races over an 8-day period in Hong Kong and China. Her success serves to increase the huge expectations that fall upon her slender shoulders in the 3-year run-up to the 2016 Rio Olympics in her native Brazil.

But her greatest swim this calendar year came in the showcase 10 km marathon swim at the FINA World Championships. The superstars of the sport lined up at the start and never let up until the very last stroke of the 10,000m race.

It was brutal. It was beautiful. It was exhausting to watch. It was exciting to see. It was demanding. It was dramatic.

The jockeying among the top pack never ceased as intensity reigned for nearly 2 hours in the Barcelona port. Surge and sprint, the women in the lead pack had to endure endless attacks from all the top swimmers. But with every surge came a countermove. With every sprint to the front, the pack lurked behind at every stroke. The women all went at each other like heavyweights taking punches directly to the gut and head. As their pumped wildly and their lungs screamed for air, the pain of pushing the pace was nearly unbearable as each woman in the lead pack dreamed of glory coming across the finish first.

Like musical chairs in a desperate game of survival, the movement within the lead pack in the chopper waters was unpredictable. As the crowds on the coastline went wild, 2013 proved to be Okimoto's year. Okimoto was joined with her Brazilian teammate Ana Marcela Cunha - as they have so often done together both in domestic Brazilian competitions and in international races - down the final stretch. But Okimoto kept pressing ahead faster and faster. With a tremendous kick, she touched out her rival for a 1-2 Brazilian finish.

While she just missed out on a gold medal by two-tenths of a second in the 5 km race two days earlier Okimoto, she played her cards right in winning a bronze medal in the 5 km Team Pursuit race 2 days later. But it was the 10 km race in the most exciting and closest marathon swim in history that capped off Okimoto's 2013 campaign. She won when the spotlight was brightest in a race of champions, from top to bottom. The Brazilian star swam courageously and stood proudly at the 2013 world champion.

The results show how close and how competitive these women were in one of the most competitive races, top to bottom, in FINA open water swimming history:

1. Poliana Okimoto (BRA) 1:58:19.2
2. Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA) 1:58:19.5
3. Angela Maurer (GER) 1:58:20.2
4. Kalliopi Araouzou (GRE) 1:58:21.2
5. Anna Olasz (HUN) 1:58:22.4
6. Ophelie Aspord (FRA) 1:58:23.2
7. Yanqiao Fang (CHN) 1:58:23.2
8. Rebecca Mann (USA) 1:58:23.4
9. Éva Risztov (HUN) 1:58:23.4
10. Christine Jennings (USA) 1:58:23.6
11. Elizaveta Gorshkova (RUS) 1:58:24.3
12. Martina Grimaldi (ITA) 1:58:24.9
13. Yumi Kida (JPN) 1:58:25.8
14. Keri-Anne Payne (GBR) 1:58:25.8
15. Yurema Requena Juarez (ESP) 1:58:26.4
16. Svenja Theresa Zihsler (GER) 1:58:25.8
17. Erika Villaécija García (ESP) 1:58:27.8
18. Olga Beresnyeva (UKR) 1:58:27.9
19. Zsofia Balazs (CAN) 1:58:28.5
20. Melissa Gorman (AUS) 1:58:30.9
21. Marianna Lymperta (GRE) 1:58:33.0
22. Lizeth Rueda Santos (MEX) 1:58:36.6
23. Cara Baker (NZL) 1:58:38.5
24. Vicenia Navarro (VEN) 1:58:38.5
25. Celia Barrot (FRA) 1:58:41.8
26. Yu Shi (CHN) 1:58:43.8
27. Florencia Mazzei Villegas (ARG) 1:58:43.9
28. Silvie Rybářová (CZE) 1:58:55.3
29. Heidi Gan (MAS) 1:59:01.4
30. Chelsea Gubecka (AUS) 1:59:16.3
31. Rachele Bruni (ITA) 2:00:03.2
32. Paola Perez (VEN) 2:00:36.8
33. Danielle Huskisson (GBR) 2:01:31.5
34. Emma Robinson (NZL) 2:01:47.6
35. Nadine Williams (CAN) 2:01:50.4
36. Julia Lucila Arino (ARG) 2:02:37.8
37. Barbora Picková (CZE) 2:04:02.8
38. Nataly Rosalia Caldas Calle (ECU) 2:04:28.8
39. Alexandra Sokolova (RUS) 2:04:45.3
40. Valerie Gruest (GUA) 2:04:45.3
41. Angélica André (POR) 2:04:45.4
42. Laila El Basiouny (EGY) 2:04:45.4
43. Melissa Villaseñor Reyes (MEX) 2:05:21.1
44. Xeniya Romanchuk (KAZ) 2:05:21.1
45. Mahina Valdivia Dannenberg (CHI) 2:13:54.9
46. Clarice Le Roux (RSA) 2:15:35.7
47. Fiona On Yi Chan (HKG) 2:17:39.6
48. Mariya Ivanova (KAZ) 2:19:02.6
49. Hannah Hang Fung Li (HKG) 2:25:44.5
Risa Andriani Permana (INA) OTL
Poorva Kiran Shetye (IND) OTL
Michelle Weber (RSA) DNS
Karla Šitić (CRO) DNS

For her victories on the FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup, invitational races from Brazil to Hong Kong, and her 3-medal performance at the FINA World Championships, Okimoto was nominated for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year.

Her nomination reads, "Over 3 tough races in 5 days against the fastest open water swimmers in the world, Poliana Okimoto proved that she is the best professional marathon swimmer in the world this summer in Barcelona. Earning a well-deserved gold medal in the showcase 10K event, Okimoto just missed out in the gold by 3 tenths of a second in the 5K and was the linchpin of Brazil’s bronze medal in the 5K Team Pursuit. Proving that size does not matter and one’s heart and mindset are ultimately the decisive factors, the slender Okimoto has established herself as the crème-de-la-crème among the world's elite women. For her courage in competition, for her dominating success at the World Championships, for helping promote the sport in unprecedented ways for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Poliana Okimoto is a worthy nominee for the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Women of the Year."

The nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year are always an heroic group of individuals with exceptionally inspirational exploits, histories and lifestyles. They include:

1. Anna-Carin Nordin, The Oceans Seven First (Sweden)
2. Charlotte Brynn, Channel Swimmer and Aquatic Adventurist (New Zealand)
3. Diana Nyad, Xtreme Dreamer (U.S.A.)
4. Kimberley Chambers, Ballerina Soars in the Open Water (New Zealand)
5. Lorna Cochran, Near-nonagenarian Navigates Nirvana (South Africa)
6. Lynn Kubasek, Volunteer Extraordinaire In The Pacific (U.S.A.)
7. Martina Grimaldi, World Champion Racer (Italy)
8. Michelle Macy, Reaching the Summit of the Oceans Seven (U.S.A.)
9. Nadia Ben Bahtane, A Maternal Moroccan Miracle (Morocco)
10. Nuala Moore, Going to the Extremes (Ireland)
11. Olga Kozydub, Professional Marathon Swimming Champion (Russia)
12. Poliana Okimoto, 3-time World Championship Medalist (Brazil)
13. Sarah Thomas, Double Crosser (U.S.A.)
14. Sally Minty-Gravett, 5 Decades in the Making (Jersey)
15. Shelley Taylor-Smith, Serving with Distinction (Australia)

Online voting takes place here.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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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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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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2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac



An Almanac for Open Water Swimming

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