2019 World Championships: Xin Wins 10K, First Wave Qualifies for Tokyo 2020


The first qualifying spots in aquatic sports for the 2020 Olympic Games have been awarded to 10 women representing 8 countries and 5 continents with the recent nail-biting finish of the women’s 10 km open water race at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

The 2019 World Championships serve as one of two Olympic Qualifiers for open water swimmers. The other event will take place in Fukuoka, Japan, though the date of the competition has not yet been determined.

China’s Xin Xin won the women’s 10K tonight in a nail-biter finish with the United States’ Haley Anderson, who hit the pad 9/10ths behind Xin. Italy’s Rachele Bruni touched 3rd, just 1/10th ahead of France’s Lara Grangeon.

Xin Xin becomes China’s first-ever open water World Champion in the women’s 10km event.

This year’s final comes as a complete overhaul for the podium; in 2017, France’s Aurelie Muller won gold by more than 2 seconds over Ecuador’s Samantha Arevalo. Italy’s Arianna Bridi and Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha then tied for bronze. Bridi was 13th and Arevalo was 18th in this year’s race.

Sharon van Rouwendaal, the 2016 Olympic Champion from the Netherlands, will get the opportunity to defend her gold medal next year in Japan with a 10th-place finish today in Korea.

Two-time 10km World Champion Aurelie Muller of France finished 11th, which means she misses the Olympics by a tenth of a second – as her countrymate Lara Grangeon (a European Champion in the pool) finished 4th via a successful transition to open water.

Note that swimmers who have qualified via this meet have blocked out their countrymates from qualifying. Countries cannot add a 2nd qualifier via the Olympic Qualifying Race that will be held in 2020 in Fukuoka, Japan.

10 Km Open Water Results/2020 Olympic Qualifiers

Time/Time Behind
1 Xin Xin China 1:54:47.20
2 Haley Anderson USA +.90
3 Rachele Bruni Italy +2.70
4 Lara Grangeon France +2.80
5 Ana Marcela Cunha Brazil +3.30
6 Ashley Twichell USA +3.30
7 Kareena Lee Australia +3.30
8 Finnia Wunram Germany +3.50
9 Leonie Beck Germany +3.80
10 Sharon van Rouwendaal Netherlands +3.90

Countries that have completed qualifying for the Olympics in the women’s open water 10km swim:

Countries that have 2 qualifiers
USA Haley Anderson, Ashley Twichell
Germany Finnia Wunram, Leonie Beck
Countries that have 1 qualifier (and can have no more)
Australia Kareena Lee
Brazil Ana Marcela Cunha
China Xin Xin
France Lara Grangeon
Italy Rachele Bruni
Netherlands Sharon van Rouwendaal

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3 years ago

Aurelie Muller swam a brave race coming to the front with about 3.5km to go and leading for over 3 km before being overwhelmed at the end and finishing 4 seconds off the top and 0.1 out of 10th and a place at the Olympics. Now she is out of the Olympics. After what happened in Rio she is now never going to win an Olympic medal. Shows the fine margins. Tough break.

Edit – I am aware that the course set-up and biased judging robbed her off a silver/bronze in Rio.

3 years ago

Wow! So proud of our USA women! Way to go Haley and Ashley! 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

3 years ago

As I read the FINA qualification document, the one thing I do not see is how the host country spot is allocated (which swimmer earns it), does the host country NOC just pick someone or do that swimmer have to be in the FINA World Championships 10K Open Water event or the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier 2020?

Will be interesting to see what Japan does, as for their pool qualifications they normally use 8th place time from the prior championship / ranking as the qualifying time and not the FINA ‘A’ cuts which are not as fast and Japan’s swimmers finished 22nd and 30th in the open water event today.

Reply to  Dan
3 years ago

Dan – I believe that’s correct. They just choose who they want by their own internal standards

CT Swim Fan
3 years ago

Since only 2 are allowed per country, I get that Germany and USA are done. But really, why should swimmers from other countries be locked out in Japan if their country only has one Olympic rep from this race. That rule and the one that says at least one rep per continent seems a bit contrived to me. Anyone have any idea why these 2 rules are in place?

Human Ambition
Reply to  CT Swim Fan
3 years ago

Because IOC sees a value in many countries in their sports

Reply to  CT Swim Fan
3 years ago

Feeling bad for vivi jungblut now she was 12th, 9th till the last 300m

3 years ago

So can a country qualify 2 swimmers at the Japan race ( if not in the list above ). This seems weird. Am trying to understand .

Reply to  Samesame
3 years ago

Never mind . Just read the article from July 11. I thought that many countries had 2 entrants in each 10km race at last Olympics. So will there only be about 20-22 people swim the race at Olympics in 2020?

Reply to  Samesame
3 years ago

25 swimmers are allowed to compete. Top 10 from world champs + top 9 from the qualifier event + top 1(10th place and slower) from each continent at the qualifier+ 1 from the host country,

3 years ago

Yay for Haley and Ashley!

So is Aurelie Muller out of the Olympics?

Reply to  Hulkswimhulksmash
3 years ago

That’s correct.

Reply to  Hulkswimhulksmash
3 years ago
3 years ago

The last 5 athletes listed here have no quotas yet. “Continental Representation (5 athletes): (…) the next highest ranked athlete from the same continent, not yet qualified, in the ranking of the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier 2020 event will qualify (…)” So the 5 continental places will be awarded based on the results of the 2020 Fukuoka (JPN) FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier event.

Reply to  tkrisz
3 years ago
3 years ago

Why can some countries not have more than one swimmer qualify for Tokyo?

Reply to  Samboys
3 years ago

Seems like idiotic rule to me

Reply to  Samboys
3 years ago

OW has an elaborate criteria for their selection. Swimswam ran an article with the criteria yesterday

Reply to  Samboys
3 years ago

Once you’ve had a swimmer or 2 qualify via the top 10 at the World Championships, that country cannot qualify more athletes via the Olympic qualifying race.

Reply to  Braden Keith
3 years ago

So if you wanted 2 at the Olympics from your country, this was your chance- get 2 in the Top Ten TODAY.
That’s pretty clear…and cut-throat, as qualifying often is.

About Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson

Reid Carlson originally hails from Clay Center, Kansas, where he began swimming at age six.  At age 14 he began swimming club year-round and later with his high school team, making state all four years.  He was fortunate enough to draw the attention of Kalamazoo College where he went on to …

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