To see all of our 2020 Swammy Awards, click here.
2020 Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year: Anastasia Kirpichnikova, RUS
20-year-old Anastasia Kirpichnikova rose quickly in open water this year, winning 10K races at both Russia’s and France’s open water championships.
A pool swimmer prior to 2020, Kirpichnikova jumped into open water in September of this year, and what a debut it was. The distance swimmer crushed the field at the Russian Championships, going 2:09:06.3 to win the race by 11 seconds. That earned her some key points toward an Olympic berth.
No Russian women finished in the top 10 of the 10K at the 2019 World Championships, which would have been an automatic Olympic berth. The second qualifying event is the Olympic selection event in Fukuoka next May. Russia will decide who to enter in the event based on finishes at the Russian Championships and several other early 2021 meets. Kirpichnikova, as new as she is to open water, jumps to the front of that list with her Russian title.
Just a few weeks later, Kirpichnikova gained more valuable momentum, heading to Jablines to win the French Open Water Championships. That race was especially impressive for Kirpichnikova, who won by two seconds and beat three-time Open Water Swammy award-winner Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil.
Kirpichnikova could potentially represent Russia in both pool and open water swimming at the Summer Olympics in 2021. She’s currently training with French coach Philippe Lucas, who previously trained another Swammy alumnus, Sharon van Rouwendaal, who was a dual-threat between the pool and open water and won the 2016 Olympic gold medal in open water swimming.
- 2013 Swammy – Poliana Okimoto, Brazil
- 2014 Swammy – Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands
- 2015 Swammy – Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil
- 2016 Swammy – Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands
- 2017 Swammy – Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil
- 2018 Swammy – Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands
- 2019 Swammy – Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil
- 2020 Swammy – Anastasia Kirpichnikova, Russia
Weird selection policy …
Olivier gets the men’s award for winning the only open-water world cup of the season, but Beck doesn’t get the award on the women’s side despite winning the only open-water world cup of the season …
It is open water – nobody really cares
Because it’s not the “Who Won The OW World Cup” award? Maybe the winner of that one meet didn’t have the most impressive overall resume. Like how Ledecky winning an early PSS stop doesn’t make her the obvious leader for US Swimmer of the Year?