Live 10K Marathon Swim Coverage Commentary with Steven Munatones of Open Water Source

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Women’s Olympic Marathon Swim
Results and Post-Race Commentary

Eva Risztov Takes It Out To Take Gold

Eva Risztov out-sprinted Haley Anderson for the gold in the Olympic marathon swim – winning by 4 tenths of a second in 1:57:38.2.

The top women swam hard – the whole way. Risztov took it out hard and finished even harder.

There was a bit of a fall-off on the third loop, but all-in all the split times for the six-loop course were remarkably even:

Loop 1 – 19:22.2
Loop 2 – 19:47.1
Loop 3 – 20:00.1
Loop 4 – 19:49.4
Loop 5 – 19:33.5
Loop 6 – 19:05.9

In comparison, Anderson‘s splits were as follows over the 1.6km loop course: Loop 1 – 19:22.9 Loop 2 – 19:44.5 Loop 3 – 20:04.8 Loop 4 – 19:49.0 Loop 5 – 19:34.4 Loop 6 – 19:03.0 RISZTOV Eva 1:57:38.2

Expect The Unexpected – Eva Risztov Takes Marathon Gold

Expect the unexpected is the mantra of open water swimming and it was never more true than today.

Eva Risztov of Hungary took control of the womens’s Olympic marathon swimming 10km during the second half and powered on to a surprising gold medal.

Risztov held off Haley Anderson of the USA when Anderson made a sprint for gold at the very end. As the women entered in the finish chute, they were nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. Anderson made a slight veer towards Risztov while Risztov kept on swimming straight as Risztov took a beeline to the finish and was able to out-touch the fast-charging USC senior from California by 4 tenths of a second. “I decided to make it a very clean race,” Risztov said through an interpreter. “If I am leading, they can’t say I did anything. This was my tactic.”

It was a tactic used for the past 5 years by pre-race favorite Keri-Anne Payne. Surprisingly, Payne was not really in the medal mix as she changed her traditional strategy of leading from the front to drafting behind. “I got hit quite a few times in the face,” recalled Payne to the BBC. “We were all swimming in such close proximity. It seemed like a pretty violent race from the start.”

There were 5 yellow cards given and constant whistles blown by the referees.

Under those fast, physical conditions, Payne never quite took control of the race as the two-time world champion normally does. Instead, control was left in the hands of the three-time Hungarian Olympian who retired in 2005 only to make a comeback in open water swimming in 2009.

And what a comeback that was.

Surprises At The Women’s Olympic Marathon Swim

Surprises – some pleasant, some shocking – reigned at the Olympic Marathon Swim in the Serpentine today.

1. Eva Risztov of Hungary (1:57:38.2) turned the tables on Haley Anderson who just touched her out at the Olympic Qualification Race in June – as well as the rest of the elite field in the 20°C water – to win gold. She initially retired in 2005 and came back in 2009
2. Haley Anderson of the USA (1:57:38.6) continues improving by leaps and bounds in the open water and will be a threat for years to come
3. Martina Grimaldi of Italy (1:57:41.8) pushed and pushed and pushed covering the 10K in an average 100m pace of 1 minute 11 seconds
4. Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain (1:57:42.2) changed her normal lead-from-the-front strategy to finish fourth, and reportedly did not take a feed for the first 45 minutes, but she remains humble and gracious in defeat. The pressure on this young woman’s shoulders must have been incredible with so many expectations raised and VIPs on hand including Prime Minister David Cameron
5. Angela Maurer of Germany (1:57:52.8), the oldest woman in the field with a son and a career in the police force, hung on to finish fifth
6. Ophelie Aspord of France (1:58:43.1), a law student, led the second pack and will be another force for years to come
7. Olga Beresnyeva of Ukraine (1:58:44.4) swam well to place in the top 10
8. Erika Villaecija of Spain (1:58:49.5), a pool swimmer turned open water swimmer, swam well to finish in the top 10
9. Jana Pechanova of the Czech Republic (1:58:52.8), is a coach who demonstrated to her athletes how to race with the world’s best
10. Anna Guseva of Russia (1:58:53.0) had some huge shoes to fill after the 2008 gold medal victory by Larisa Ilchenko, but she did well to finish in the top 10
11. Melissa Gorman of Australia (1:58:53.1) fell out of the lead pack much earlier than expected
12. Karla Sitic of Croatia (1:58:54.7), one of the smallest women in the field, swam with a huge heart
13. Yumi Kida, a Japanese pool swimmer (1:58:59.1) turned open water specialist, swam well and finished respectfully in mid-pack
14. Yanel Pinto of Venezuela (1:59:05.8) emulated the exploits of her sister who placed 9th in the 2008 Olympic marathon swim
15. Natalia Charlos of Poland (1:59:05.8) attempted to stay up with the leaders towards the end, but hung on nicely
16. Heidi Gan of Malaysia (2:00:45.0) swam very well and represented her country courageously
17. Cecilia Biagioli of Argentina (2:01:02.2) hung into as best she could in water that was much too cold for her
18. Zsofia Balazs of Canada (2:01:17.8) swam well to finish in the top 20
19. Swann Oberson of Switzerland (2:01:38.0) fell out of contention early and was never really a threat after her promising victory at the world 5k championships last year
20. Wing Yung Natasha Terri Tang of Hong Kong (2:02:33.4) swam well to finish in the top 20
21. Lizeth Rueda Santos of Mexico (2:02:46.1) hung on as best she could in water that was colder than she is accustomed to
22. Marianna Lymperta of Greece (2:04:26.5) had some tough times in water that was colder than she could withstand
Poliana Okimoto of Brazil did not finish due to the cold water
Jessica Roux of South Africa pulled herself out early in the race and was never a factor
Yanqiao Fang of China was a non-starter for unexplained reasons.

Men’s Olympic Marathon Swim
Results and Post-Race Commentary

Tunisian Triumphs, Ous Mellouli Swims Brilliantly

In a brilliant strategy that played to his strengths, Ous Mellouli swam away from the field to capture his second Olympic gold medal in today’s Olympic marathon swim in the Serpentine.

Thomas Lurz captured the silver with young Richard Weinberger holding off Spyros Gianniotis for the bronze.

1. Ous Mellouli (Tunisia) 1:49:55.1
2. Thomas Lurz (Germany) 1:49:58.5
3. Richard Weinburger (Canada) 1:50:00.3

Mellouli took control of the race right from the beginning. He positioned himself clear of other swimmers at the start and avoided physicality throughout the race. By the fifth loop, he was swimming strongly and was confident enough in himself and his strategy to skip a feeding at the feeding station.

Once cleared of the feeding station, Mellouli started to pull away and made it a 4-man race with Lurz, Weinburger and Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece. By the sixth and last loop, Mellouli was in a commanding position with the silver up for grabs between Lurz, Weinburger and Gianniotis.

Lurz and Weinburger attempted to give chase, but today was Mellouli’s time to shine under the London sun.

Mellouli‘s splits showed how Mellouli powerfully pulled away from the field:

Lap 1 – 18:09.6
Lap 2 – 19:06.4
Lap 3 – 18:32.2
Lap 4 – 18:34.8
Lap 5 – 17:45.4
Lap 6 – 17:46.7

His fifth lap of 17:45 was the fastest loop of the competition and effectivelly separated him from the rest of the field.

Photo of Oussama Mellouli shows his medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Surprises And The Future Of Olympic Marathon Swimming

With the conclusion of the Olympic marathon swim at the 2012 London Olympic Games, there were several surprises and positive outcomes that resulted.

1. Oussama Mellouli of Tunisia (1:49:55.1) powered to an Olympic victory, giving Tunisia and Africa its first Olympic marathon swimming gold. His participation is also adequate evidence that open water swimming does not cause pool swimmers to get slower or destroy their swimming stroke as many age-group and competitive pool coaches fear, but can be a positive addition to their aquatic repertoire. His fast time also proves that the athleticism and abilities of the elite open water swimmers will continue its upward trajectory.

2. Thomas Lurz of Germany (1:49:58.5) capped off a long and illustrious career with a courageous swim against one of the world’s fastest waterman, losing by only 3.5 seconds.
3. Richard Weinberger of Canada (1:50:00.3) proved himself a force to come for at least 2 or 3 future Olympic quadrennials
4. Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece (1:50:05.3) gave it all he had for his highest Olympic finish ever over his career.
5. Daniel Fogg of Great Britain (1:50:37.3) finished well for a top 5 finish and will give Weinberger challenges for years to come.
6. Sergey Bolshakov of Russia (1:50:40.1) will remain a stalwart in the sport but will be angling to climb back into the top 3.
7. Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia (1:50:42.8) may have capped a brilliant career on the world’s stage but will be a force on shorter swims over many years.
8. Andreas Waschburger of Germany (1:50:44.4), another young swimmer, will push Weinberger throughout the 2106 Rio Olympics and possibly beyond to 2020.
9. Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria (1:50:46.2) is moving on after a most remarkable career spanning world records and 4 consecutive Olympics.
10. Alex Meyer of the USA (1:50:48.2) is another young gun with plenty of upside, especially his performance despite a horrific collarbone break.
11. Julien Sauvage of France (1:50:51.3) can continue to improve and will be in the mix in the future.
12. Troyden Prinsloo of South Africa (1:50:52.9) can continue to develop in this sport.
13. Erwin Maldonado of Venezuela (1:50:52.9) another strong swim for one of the fastest South Americans.
14. Igor Chervynskiy of Ukraine (1:50:56.9) gave a good battle after a long career.
15. Yasunari Hirai of Japan (1:51:20.1) gave hope to a country that helped initiate the sport of open water swimming over 2,000 years ago.
16. Brian Ryckeman of Belgium (1:51:27.1) was cold and finished far below his 2008 Olympic performance but, as is the case with him, he never gave us in the fine tradition of marathon swimmers.
17. Valerio Cleri of Italy (1:51:29.5) was nowhere near where he wanted to be at the end of the race and did not equal the performance of Martina Grimaldi, his female Italian teammate.
18. Csaba Gercsak of Hungary (1:51:30.9) finished well back of his goal, failing to equal the performance of Eva Risztov, his Hungarian female teammate.
19. Arseniy Lavrentyev of Portugal (1:51:37.2) was in his second Olympics and finally cracked the top twenty.
20. Ky Hurst of Australia (1:51:41.3) was disappointedly 20th mirroring some of the unexpected performances of his fellow Aussie swimmers.
21. Ivan Enderica Ochoa of Ecuador (1:52:28.6) didn’t crack the top 20 but gave hope to other Ecuadorean swimmers.
22. Yuriy Kudinov of Kazakhstan (1:52:59.0) towards the tail end of his career was most happy to qualify for the Olympics.
23. Francisco Jose Hervas of Spain (1:53:27.8) could not handle the cooler waters of the Serpentine and is most definitely a warm-water swimmer.
24. Mazen Aziz Metwaly of Egypt (1:54:33.2) is also a warm-water swimmer and teammate of Gercsak in America.
25. Benjamin Schulte of Guam (2:03:35.1) swam by myself for most of the race, but the crowd and countrymen were with him every stroke of the way.

Gold Medal Strategies At The Olympic Marathon Swim

Ous Mellouli of Tunisia and Eva Risztov of Hungary are the 2012 London Olympics Games marathon swimming champions.

Both athletes swam courageous, gutsy swims and they deserve the global accolades coming their way.

While they did not swim together, they did swim under similar conditions in nearly identical water temperatures in a carefully marked course with the same number of boats and buoys.

Both athletes used similar racing and pacing strategies in their gold medal performances against world-class competitors who were significantly more experienced. They both played to their strengths that also seemed to throw their competitors off-balance. Simply put, both Mellouli and Risztov went on the offensive that forced their competitors to react defensively.

Fundamentally, their gold medal performance strategy was based on the following:

1. They grabbed the early lead and held it throughout much the race.
2. They significantly increased their pace on the fifth of six laps.
3. When they decided to make a break, there was no turning back.
4. They sprinted hard on the last lap while being chased by 3-4 competitors.

It is interesting to note that Mellouli was 7 minutes 43 seconds faster than Risztov over the same 10,000m course (1:49:55 vs. 1:57:38). This difference is within the general range of time differences between the elite professional men and women in 10km courses. The top men’s times are usually between 6-8 minutes faster than the women when they swim on the same course on the same day.

Below is an analysis of their total, average and split times.

Total time – 1:49:55 vs. 1:57:38
Average time per lap – 18:19 vs. 19:36

Mellouli split times and the difference per lap from the average lap time:

Lap 1 – 18:09, -10 second difference from average split
Lap 2 – 19:06, +47 second difference from average split
Lap 3 – 18:32, +13 second difference from average split
Lap 4 – 18:34, +15 second difference from average split
Lap 5 – 17:45, -34 second difference from average split
Lap 6 – 17:46, -33 second difference from average split

Risztov split times and the difference per lap from the average lap time:

Lap 1 – 19:22, -14 second difference from average split
Lap 2 – 19:47, +11 second difference from average split
Lap 3 – 20:00, +24 second difference from average split
Lap 4 – 19:49, +13 second difference from average split
Lap 5 – 19:33, -3 second difference from average split
Lap 6 – 19:05, -31 second difference from average split

While there are slight differences, Mellouli and Risztov swam like champions with remarkably similar racing and pacing strategies.

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Craig Dietz Catches Olympic Fever In Swim Across America

On August 9th (women) and 10th (men) in the Serpentine in the center of London, 50 of the world’s fastest open water swimmers from 34 countries will showcase their talents and tenacity at the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim.

In this video, Craig Dietz will inspire you to reconsider your limitations.

They will inspire us and showcase the sport as never before. Their tactics will be analyzed, their swimming styles will be emulated and their exploits will be all over the social media.

As a result, many others will want to give the sport a try. Some will try to swim in the open water, others may attempt to do a triathlon, and others will attempt a marathon swim for the first time.

Certainly there are growing numbers of marathon swims around the world (see here).

Craig Dietz, the Limbless Waterman, is no different. After completing his longest swim to date – the 4.4 miles of the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, his goals became greater.

I’ve never been one to just sit around and do nothing. I like to push myself,” explained Dietz to Fox News. In the Great Chesapeake Bay Swim, he faced a typically aggressive field of competitors. “I got punched in the nose by a swimmer out there. He was – not on purpose – just swimming by me, didn’t see me and just stroked right into my face.”

After giving a speech at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, Dietz will enter the Swim Across America 10 km swim on September 23rd.

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