2017 Open Water Male Swimmer of the Year: Ferry Weertman, Netherlands
Without giving up just yet on his pool dreams, Dutch open water master Ferry Weertman wound up on top of the podium in open water swimming’s premier distance, the 10km race, at the 2017 World Aquatics Championships. That built upon his Olympic win in the same event last year at the Rio Olympics.
At the 2017 World Championships, Weertman was able to swim both pool and open water events – due in part to the fact that the open water events came first, so there was no threat to his primary competition by taking on the pool.
He placed 15th in the 800 free and also was on the Dutch 800 free relay that qualified through to finals 4th, but added a big chunk of time to finish 8th in finals.
At the Tokyo Olympics, pool swimming comes first, though. The 25-year old Weertman, now as the defending European, World, and Olympic Champion, stands as the current heavy favorite heading into the halfway mark of the Olympic cycle. What’s more, he’s shown the fortitude to win tight races (in part because at 6’2″ he’s a bit taller than most of his competitors). In Rio, he won a literal photo finish (he and silver medalist Spyridon Gianniotis tied on the touchpad). At Worlds, he won by just a tenth of a second over, the smallest measured time in open water swimming, over American Jordan Wilimovsky.
In no particular order:
- Marc-Antoine Olivier, France: The Frenchman Olivier was the only male swimmer to win 2 individual open water medals at the World Championships, taking bronze in the 10k and gold in the 5k. He was also part of the gold-medal-winning 5km team event, swimming with Oceane Cassignol, Logan Fontaine, and Aurelie Muller to a relatively-comfortable 12-second win over the Americans in Lake Balaton.
- Axel Reymond, France: France won over half of the 7 events on offer in open water at this summer’s World Championships, including Raymond’s win in the 25k. After a grueling 5 hour race, he beat Italy’s Matteo Furlan by just 6-tenths of a second.