Heat Survey for the Tokyo Olympic Marathon Swimmers

Heat Survey for the Tokyo Olympic Marathon Swimmers

The Tokyo Olympic Games overcame many obstacles, from the pandemic to the summer heat.

While the Games were defined as a successful, the pandemic’s impact on training and preparations and the anticipated summer heat most certainly affected many athletes and led to some surprising results.

Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha won the gold in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim – which was not a surprise as the Brazilian was one of the medal favorites. Neither was the silver medal won by the Netherlands’ Sharon van Rouwendaal. Kareena Lee performed up to the high standards set by the highly successful Australian women’s swim team and captured the bronze medal. But the combination of the pandemic lockdowns and high water temperature seemed to have led to lower-than-expected finishes by 2019 world champion Xin Xin (8th) and 2016 Olympic silver medalist Rachele Bruni (14th).

On the men’s side, medal favorite Florian Wellbrock swam to gold in dominating fashion – which was not a surprise. Silver medalist Kristóf Rasovszky and bronze medalist Gregorio Paltrinieri both swam well, but surprises abound among the men: Matan Roditi of Israel finished 4th, Athanasios Kynigakis of Greece was 5th, Olympic bronze medalist Marc-Antoine Olivier of France was 6th, defending Olympic champion Ferry Weertman was 7th, Michael McGlynn of South Africa was 8th, Hau-Li Fan of Canada was 9th, world champion Jordan Wilimovsky of the USA was 10th, world championship silver medalist Rob Muffels of Germany was 11th, 3-time Olympic medalist Ous Mellouli of Tunisia was 20th, and outside Olympic medalist hopeful David Aubry of France did not finish.

The 29.5°C (85°F) water of Odaiba Marine Park obviously had a significant impact on the race – good for some, bad for others.

Ana Marcela Cunha, 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games gold medalist in the marathon swim

Kate Sanderson of Canada said of the water, “[The heat] definitely affected the race a lot, but it was tough for everyone. I knew that if I was hot, then other people were hot and we had anticipated that coming to Japan so it wasn’t a surprise, but overall it was warm conditions.”

While many competitors trained during the 2016-2020 quadrennial in warm, tropical areas, Sharon van Rouwendaal took a different approach, training in Germany, “I had a different tactic due to warm water. I needed a new plan for today’s race as I didn’t train that much in warm water. Just five years ago, I was mostly a pool swimmer. It was tough at the end of the race, especially due to the warm water conditions, but today’s plan was a smart plan for me. The silver feels a little like gold.”
The IOC sports scientists prepared a Tokyo 2020 Preparation Questionnaire for the 51 athletes (26 men and 25 women). The survey invitation to the Olympic athletes reads, “We would like to invite you to participate in a research project to understand how you prepared for the hot conditions at Tokyo 2020. By completing the questionnaire, you agree and consent for the data collected to be used anonymously. Any confidential information will be seen only by the researchers and will not be revealed to anyone else. The questionnaire has been ethically approved by the Life, Health and Physical Sciences Cross-School Research Ethics Committee at the University of Brighton (2021-5904-Protecting athletes’ health during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics).”

The 8 survey questions include:

Q1. Have you ever experienced the following while training or competing in the heat (tick all that apply)?
– None
Severe headache
Collapsing or fainting

Q2. Have you ever been clinically diagnosed with exertional heat illness?
– Yes
– No

Q3. Do you usually live or train in a hot environment?
– Yes
– No

Q4. In preparation for the Olympics, did you specifically train in an artificially hot room or laboratory before arriving in Japan?
– Yes
– No

Q5. Did you train in a naturally hot environment or country before arriving in Japan?
– Yes
– No

Q6. What pre-cooling method(s) did you use before your event (tick all that apply)?
– None
– Ice vest
Direct ice application (e.g. ice sock, towel or neck collar, etc.)
Whole-body cold-water immersion
– Leg only cold-water immersion
Cold and/or iced water pouring/dousing
Ice-slurry ingestion
– Cold water ingestion
– Fanning
– Cold towel
– Menthol mouth rinse
– Other menthol applications
– Other (please specify)

Q7. What mid-cooling (within event cooling, also known as per-cooling)method(s) did you use during the event (tick all that apply)?
– None
– Ice vest
Direct ice application (e.g. ice sock, towel or neck collar, etc.)
Whole-body cold-water immersion
– Leg only cold-water immersion
Cold and/or iced water pouring/dousing
Ice-slurry ingestion
– Cold water ingestion
– Fanning
– Cold towel
– Menthol mouth rinse
– Other menthol applications
– Other (please specify)

Q8. During the 10 days before your event did you experience (tick all that apply)
– No illness
– Stomach pain
– Insomnia
– Jet lag
– Food poisoning
– Gastroenteritis
– Vaccination
– Diarrhoea
– Vomiting

The sports scientists want to hear from the 51 Olympic marathon swimmers at the Tokyo Olympics. If those athletes are interested in participating in this survey, please email headcoach@openwatersource.com to receive the survey access.

Tokyo Olympic Games 10K Marathon Swim Women’s Results:

1. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil, 29) 1:59:30.90
2. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands, 27) 1:59:31.70
3. Kareena Lee (Australia, 27) 1:59:32.50
4. Anna Olasz (Hungary, 27) 1:59:34.80
5. Leonie Beck (Germany, 24) 1:59:35.10
6. Haley Anderson (USA, 29) 1:59:36.90
7. Ashley Twichell (USA, 32) 1:59:37.90
8. Xin Xin (China, 24) 2:00:10.10
9. Lara Grangeon de Villele (France, 29) 2:00:57.0
10. Finnia Wunram (Germany, 25) 2:01:01.90
11. Samantha Arévalo (Ecuador, 26) 2:01:30.60
12. Cecilia Biagioli (Argentina, 36) 2:01:31.70
13. Yumi Kida (Japan, 36) 2:01:40.90
14. Rachele Bruni (Italy, 30) 2:02:10.20
15. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova (Russian Olympic Committee, 21) 2:03:17.50
16. Paula Ruiz Bravo (Spain, 22) 2:03:17.60
17. Angelica Andre (Portugal, 26) 2:04:40.70
18. Kate Farley Sanderson (Canada, 21) 2:04:59.10
19. Alice Dearing (Great Britain, 24) 2:05:03.20
20. Paola Perez (Venezuela, 30) 2:05:45.00
21. Michelle Weber (South Africa, 24) 2:06:56.50
22. Krystyna Panchishko (Ukraine, 23) 2:07:35.10
23. Li-Shan Chantal Liew (Singapore, 22) 2:08:17.90
24. Spela Perse (Slovenia, 25) 2:08:33.00
25. Souad Nefissa Cherouati (Algeria, 32) 2:17:21.60

Tokyo Olympic Games 10K Marathon Swim Men’s Results:

Gold: Florian Wellbrock (Germany, 23) 1:48:33.70
Silver: Kristóf Rasovszky (Hungary, 24) 1:48:59.00
Bronze: Gregorio Paltrinieri (Italy, 26) 1:49:01.10
4. Matan Roditi (Israel, 22) 1:49:24.90
5. Athanasios Kynigakis (Greece, 22) 1:49:29.20
6. Marc-Antoine Olivier (France, 25) 1:50:23.00
7. Ferry Weertman (Netherlands, 29) 1:51:30.80
8. Michael McGlynn (South Africa, 21) 1:51:32.70
9. Hau-Li Fan (Canada, 23) 1:51:37.00
10. Jordan Wilimovsky (USA, 27) 1:51:40.20
11. Rob Muffels (Germany, 26) 1:53:03.30
12. Kai Graeme Edwards (Australia, 22) 1:53:04.00
13. Taishin Minamide (Japan, 25) 1:53:07.50
14. Mario Sanzullo (Italy, 28) 1:53:08.60
15. David Farinango (Ecuador, 20) 1:53:09.80
16. Phillip Seidler (Namibia, 23) 1:53:14.10
17. Daniel Delgadillo (Mexico, 31) 1:53:14.40
18. Alberto Martinez (Spain, 23) 1:53:16.50
19. Kirill Abrosimov (Russian Olympic Committee, 29) 1:54:29.30
20. Ous Mellouli (Tunisia, 37) 1:56:33.30
21. Vitaliy Khudyakov (Kazakhstan, 26) 1:57:53.70
22. William Yan Thorley (Hong Kong, 18) 1:58:33.40
23. Tiago Campos (Portugal, 22) 1:59:42.00
24. Matej Kozubek (Czech Republic, 25) 2:01:52.10
DNF Hector Thomas Cheal Pardoe (Great Britain, 20)
DNF David Aubry (France, 24)

Kate Sanderson of Canada at the feeding station
Coaches holding feeding sticks

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Steven Munatones