The Road To London Begins In Lake Taupo

The Road To London Begins In Lake Taupo

The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim will be held on August 9-10 in Hyde Park in London. 25 men and 25 women will line up on the starting pontoon in front of a live TV audience and thousands of spectators. The selection process for those 50 elite open water swimmers begins this weekend in New Zealand’s Lake Taupo this weekend at the State Insurance NZ 10K Championships.

The Epic Swim Festival includes the New Zealand Masters 2.5K Open Water Championships, 100-500 meter swims for children from the ages of five years, 2.5K, 5K and 10K swims for age group and masters swimmers, and the State Insurance New Zealand 10K Championships.

The 10K race is the first step to qualifying for the 2012 London Olympics. The next step is to finish among the top five athletes who will earn qualification for the Australian Open Water Championships at the Sydney International Regatta Centre in March. A finish in the top four or within 20 seconds of the winner in Australia will earn selection to the FINA World Championships in Shanghai in July. A finish in the top 10 in Shanghai gets automatic selection for London.

It’s a very important stepping stone for our open water swimmers,” said Swimming New Zealand Open Water National Coach Philip Rush. “If they want to get to London, then they have to be ready to take that important first step this weekend. The pressure will go on this weekend for sure. The depth of open water swimmers is noticeably improving now that this is an Olympic event and I am impressed with the improvement.

Philip predicted “The men’s race has got seven or eight strong candidates and there’s really nothing between them so it is going to be a fantastic battle. Cara Baker is the real class in the women’s field although Alannah Jury is getting back to her best form again also.”

The rest of the world will also be selecting its fastest open water swimmers in the spring to compete with the best in the world in Shanghai in 2011 and then again in London in 2012. Several countries will select their top athletes at the rescheduled FINA 10K Marathon Swimming World Cup in Santos, Brazil in April. Others like Australia, Canada and the United States will be selecting their representatives at national championships. The remaining countries have already identified their top swimmers and expect these athletes to peak this year at the World Championships / Olympic 10K Marathon Swim qualifier in Shanghai.

Let the Games begin.

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