The Internationalization Of Open Water Swimming

The Internationalization Of Open Water Swimming

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

The photo of Yasunari Hirai (silver medal from Japan), Allan Do Carmo (gold medal from Brazil) and Richard Weinberger (bronze medal from Canada) is illustrative of the internationalization of open water swimming.

Over the first three Olympic Games in the 10K marathon swim (2008 in Beijing, 2012 in London, and the 2016 qualifiers for Rio de Janeiro), competitors came from all over the world, representing a total of 40 countries:

1 Russia (6 swimmers/7 appearances/1 medal): Evgeny Drattsev (2008), Vladimir Dyatchin (2008 + 2012), Larisa Ilchenko (2008 gold), Anna Guseva (2012), Sergey Bolshakov (2012), Anastasiia Krapivina (2016)
2 U.S.A. (6 swimmers/7 appearances/1 medal): Mark Warkentin (2008), Chloe Sutton (2008), Haley Anderson (2012 silver + 2016), Alex Meyer (2012), Jordan Wilimovsky (2016), Sean Ryan (2016)
3 Great Britain (5 swimmers/6 appearances/2 medals): David Davies (2008 silver), Keri-Anne Payne (2008 silver + 2012), Cassandra Patten (2008 bronze), Daniel Fogg (2012), Jack Burnell (2016)
4 Italy (5 swimmers/7 appearances/1 medal): Valerio Cleri (2008 + 2012), Martina Grimaldi (2008 + 2012 bronze), Rachele Bruni (2016), Simone Ruffini (2016), Federico Vanelli (2016)
5 France (5 swimmers/6 appearances): Gilles Rondy (2008), Ophelie Aspord (2012), Julien Sauvage (2012), Aurélie Muller (2008 + 2016), Marc-Antoine Daniel Frede Olivier (2016)
6 Germany (4 swimmers/2 medal): Thomas Lurz (2008 bronze + 2012 silver), Angela Maurer (2008 + 2012), Andreas Waschburger (2012), Isabelle Härle (2016)
7 Netherlands (4 swimmers/1 medal): Maarten van der Weijden (2008 gold), Edith van Dijk (2008), Sharon van Rouwendaal (2016), Ferry Weertman (2016)
8 South Africa (4 swimmers): Chad Ho (2008), Natalie du Toit (2008), Jessica Roux (2012), Troyden Prinsloo (2012)
9 Venezuela (4 swimmers): Erwin Leon Maldonado Savera (2008), Andreína Pinto (2008), Yanel Pinto (2012), Erwin Maldonado (2012)
10 Brazil (3 swimmers/7 appearances): Allan do Carmo (2008 + 2016), Ana Marcela Cunha (2008 + 2016), Poliana Okimoto (2008 + 2012 + 2016)
11 Greece (3 swimmers/6 appearances): Spyridon Gianniotis (2008 + 2012 + 2016), Marianna Lymperta (2008 + 2012), Kalliopi Araouzou (2016)
12 Spain (3 swimmers/4 appearances): Francisco Jose Hervas (2008 + 2012), Yurema Requena (2008), Erika Villaecija (2012)
13 Ukraine (3 swimmers/4 appearances): Igor Chervynskiy (2008 + 2012), Natalya Samorodina (2008), Olga Beresnyeva (2012)*
14 Mexico (3 swimmers): Luis Escobar (2008), Imelda Martínez (2008), Lizeth Rueda Santos (2012)
15 Argentina (3 swimmers): Damian Blaum (2008), Antonella Bogarin (2008), Cecilia Biagioli (2012)
16 Hungary (2 swimmers/4 appearances/1 medal): Csaba Gercsak (2008 + 2012), Éva Risztov (2012 gold + 2016)
17 Canada (2 swimmers/3 appearances/1 medal): Richard Weinberger (2012 bronze + 2016), Zsofia Balazs (2012)
18 Portugal (2 swimmers/3 appearances): Arseniy Lavrentyev (2008 + 2012), Daniela Inácio (2008)
19 Australia (2 swimmers/4 appearances): Ky Hurst (2008 + 2012), Melissa Gorman (2008 + 2012)
20 China (2 swimmers/3 appearances): Xin Tong (2008), Fang Yanqiao (2008 + 2012)
21 Czech Republic (2 swimmers/3 appearances): Rostislav Vitek (2008), Jana Pechanová (2008 + 2012)
22 Japan (2 swimmers): Yumi Kida (2012), Yasunari Hirai (2012)
23 Egypt (2 swimmer2): Mohamed Elzanaty (2008), Mazen Aziz (2012)
24 Bulgaria (1 swimmer/2 appearances): Petar Stoychev (2008 + 2012)
25 Belgium (1 swimmer/2 appearances): Brian Ryckeman (2008 + 2012)
26 Switzerland (1 swimmer/2 appearances): Swann Oberson (2008 + 2012)
27 Tunisia (1 swimmer/1 medal/2 appearances): Oussama Mellouli (2012 gold + 2016)
28 Syria (1 swimmer): Saleh Mohammad (2008)
29 Slovenia (1 swimmer): Teja Zupan (2008)
30 Sweden (1 swimmer): Eva Berglund (2008)
31 Chile (1 swimmer): Kristel Köbrich (2008)
32 Croatia (1 swimmer): Karla Sitic (2012)
33 Poland (1 swimmer): Natalia Charlos (2012)
34 Malaysia (1 swimmer): Heidi Gan (2012)
35 Hong Kong (1 swimmer): Wing Yung Natasha Terri Tang (2012)
36 Ecuador (1 swimmer): Ivan Enderica Ochoa (2012)
37 Kazakhstan (1 swimmer): Yuriy Kudinov (2012)
38 Egypt (1 swimmer): Mazen Aziz Metwaly (2012)
40 Guam (1 swimmer): Benjamin Schulte (2012)

During their preparation for the Olympics, these swimmers have trained all over the world, many times outside their native country as they learn new languages, different cultures and different training methods. In the lead-up to the 2016 Olympic 10K marathon swim in Copacabana Beach for example, Japan’s Yasunari Hirai will move from Australia to Thailand to follow his coach after he visits Arizona for high-altitude training and a few weeks of training with 2015 10 km world champion Jordan Wilimovsky in Santa Monica, California.

*Olga Beresnyeva finished seventh in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, but was later disciplined by the IOC after her drug test was found positive for the presence of recombinant erythropoietin (rEPO).

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