For 10 female open water swimmers on Monday afternoon, there is jubilation. A year out from the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the top 10 finishers from Tuesday’s women’s open water 10km races in Kazan, Russia have qualified through to the Olympic Games without any more hand wringing or anxious waiting.
The top ten in the women’s 10km include:
- Aurelie Muller, FRA – 1:58:04.3
- Sharon van Rouwendaal, NED – 1:58:06.7
- Ana Marcela Cunha, BRA – 1:58:26.5
- Rachele Bruni, ITA – 1:58:27.9
- Anastasiia Krapivina, RUS – 1:58:28.6
- Poliana Okimoto Cintra, BRA – 1:58:28.8
- Isabelle Franziska Harle, GER – 1:58:30.0
- Kalliopi Araouzou, GRE – 1:58:30.6
- Haley Anderson, USA – 1:58:35.9
- Eva Risztov, HUN – 1:58:36.4
Full results can be found here.
The 2016 Olympic host country can celebrate this morning after Ana Marcela Cunha and Poliana Okimoto Cintra both finished in the top 10 of the women’s open water 10K. Every swimmer that finished in the top 10 this morning qualified through to the 2016 Olympic Games next summer in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil was the only country that had two swimmers qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games during the open water race in Kazan.
While for these 10 and their federations there is jubilation, for dozens more from their nation, the result is heartbreak. While nationalism and often personal friendship will have them applauding their compatriots, other swimmers from the 8 nations listed above have had their hearts broken.
That’s because now any other female swimmer from those nations already qualified have had their Olympic hopes dashed a year out, and approach a fork a year earlier than most swimmers do. While every four years, all swimmers have to decide if they’re willing to put in the work it takes to compete at a peak level for so long in hopes of chasing the ultimate Olympic dream, or if the time prepare for their life after competition has come. For open water swimmers from the above countries, they now have to peer even deeper into their crystal balls, and look a 5th year out to see if the professional opportunities can sustain them for even longer.
There is only one more qualifying meet for open water swimming. The remaining 15 olympic spots will be decided in Setúbal, Portugal at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier in early June.
French, Dutch, Brazilian, Italian, Russian, German, Greek, American, and Hungarian swimmers female open water swimmers are set. That includes 2012 Olympic silver medalist, Haley Anderson of the United States. Anderson graduated from the University of Southern California in 2013 as a 3x NCAA champion and has done very well as an open water swimmer internationally. She was the 2013 World Champion in the open water 5k and a few days ago won her second consecutive open water 5k world title.
The 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist, Éva Risztov of Hungary, barely managed to sneak in with a 10th place finish, but her spot is secure.
Becca Mann of the United States failed to qualify after finishing in 14th, finishing only 15 seconds behind Risztov. She has the added benefit of being one of the best swimmers in the country not only in open water, but in the pool as well, which improves her chances of making the Olympic squad.
Monday for the men and Tuesday will be for the women were trying days for emotions. The system comes with the balance of desire for victory with need for a top 10 finish and attainment of the Olympic dream. The joy for teammates and the sorrow for self, with a dash of hope for redemption mixed in.
Yesterday, the men completed their open water 10k as well. American Jordan Wilimovsky earned the gold medal while his teammate, Sean Ryan, also secured his Olympic spot with a fourth place finish.
Those 10 are:
- Jordan Wilimovsky, USA
- Ferry Weertman, Netherlands
- Spyridon Gianniotis, Greece
- Sean Ryan, USA
- Jack Burnell, Great Britain
- Marc-Antoine Oliver, France
- Simone Ruffin, Italy
- Richard Weinberger, Canada
- Allan Do Carmo, Brazil
- Federico Vanelli, Italy