Jorge Delgado Talks Olympic Open Water

Jorge Delgado Talks Olympic Open Water

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Jorge Auerlio Delgado Panchana of Ecuador was selected as the men’s head referee for the 2012 London Olympics Games marathon swim. “It was a great setup and it helped the continued development of the sport. There were so many turn buoys in the course; it was difficult for the pack to get around the buoys where the athletes got really bunched up. But it was a great race.”

One of the longest serving FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee members, who raced against Mark Spitz and was a finalist in both the 100m and 200m butterfly races at the 1972 Munich Olympics understands the pressure of the Olympics and how heroes are made. “The marathon swim was very good and interesting, especially on the men’s side. [Gold medalist] Ous [Mellouli] was a surprise. I do not think the athletes expected him to win; they underestimated him. They thought he was good but when he took off, they couldn’t get him.”

In contrast, Delgado did not see similar surprises among the women. “The top women were who we expected to be in the lead pack.”

The excitement of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim and the global growth of the sport has caused Delgado to remain extremely busy, but there is another factor at play. “With the Olympics in South America, there is a lot of excitement and it is helping the sport. I go to a lot of events now, giving clinics and helping others. We have three new countries now expanding into open water: Bolivia, Paraguay, and Columbia. Bolivia has some good potential; Paraguay is putting on some clinics; and Columbia has hired a very good coach.”

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Steven Munatones