Chris Bryan, Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Hopeful

Chris Bryan, Olympic 10K Marathon Swim Hopeful

Open Water Source will look at the 2012 Olympic hopefuls and dark horses in the series of perspectives of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim. Fans of the sport know well gold medal favorites like Keri-Anne Payne, Martina Grimaldi, Thomas Lurz and Spyridon Gianniotis, but there are also several up-and-coming swimmers whose training and commitment, mixed with luck and the right conditions on race day, will enable them to realize their dreams of standing on the Olympic podium.

Those dreams will come true for at least one dark horse on August 9th (women) and August 10th (men) in Hyde Park during the 2012 London Olympics.

There is no truer maxim in open water swimming than “expect the unexpected.”

And we expect to see some surprises at the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim where hopefuls and dark horses can do – WILL DO – the swim of their lives to capture a bit of Olympic glory.

Chris Bryan, Ireland’s top open water swimmer, is one of those athletes.

He trains like an Olympian: “[Open water swimming] is a tough sport. I do a good bit of mileage. On an average week I’d do about 100 kilometers.”

He demonstrates intense focus: “I’d be on deck in the morning at 5:10 am for a 10 to 15-minute warm-up and I’d be in the pool then for two and a half to four hours. I’m back in the evening at 2:30 pm. There’s a warm-up for 30 minutes and then I’d be in the pool for another couple of hours.”

He shows increasingly savvy tactical knowledge: “[After the 10K race at the World Championships], I approached it differently and took it out a lot faster. I managed to stay within the top 15 swimmers for most of the race then towards the end myself and the French swimmer broke away and took a slightly different route than the pack. When I re-joined the pack I was in about eighth position and just stayed calm and pushed hard with fifteen minutes to go.”

And he is one tough Irishman, but possesses a cool calmness about himself: “The last 400 meters [at the world championships] was rough. Everyone was on top of each other, there was a lot of fighting and kicking. I got an elbow in the head but stayed calm and relaxed and really gave it my all to the finish.”

It is these kinds of athletes who train hard day in and day in. On the right day under the right conditions, Chris Bryan definitely has what it takes. And Swim Ireland that supports him at Swim Ireland’s Limerick High Performance Centre under coach Ronald Claes, is backing one strong open water swimming candidate.

Chris is the right man at the right time in the right event. Stay tuned.

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