2016 MARATHON SWIMMING OLYMPIC QUALIFIER
There are plenty of notable names in the upcoming Open Water 10 KM Olympic Qualifier in Setubal, Portugal. This will be the final opportunity for athletes to qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games. The top nine finishers in both the men’s and women’s events will automatically qualify (maximum one per gender from each country), and then five more will be added to each race based on continental rankings. Read the full competition preview, including the ten men and ten women who already qualified at the 2015 World Championships here.
The men’s side, which features 68 entrants, is headlined by Tunisian Ous Mellouli, the Olympic 10 KM Open Water gold medallist. Mellouli also won a pair of medals at the 2013 World Championships in Open Water, and is a two-time medallist in the pool. Mellouli won gold in the 1500 free in Beijing, and followed up with a bronze in London. He’ll be looking for a top nine finish in order to have the opportunity to defend his Olympic title.
Other male swimmers who have competed in the pool include Jan Micka, Mateusz Sawrymowvicz, and Richard Nagy. Micka, a native of the Czech Republic, recently broke the Czech national record in both the 800 free and the 1500 free at the recent European Championships in London. Sawrymowicz, hailing from Poland, is best known for winning the 2007 World Championship title in the 1500 freestyle, where he set a Polish record of 14:45.94. Nagy, a Slovakian native, is coming off a national record and silver medal at the European Championships. He is also the national record holder in the 400, 800, and 1500 freestyle, but didn’t fare as well in those events in London.
There are two Open Water medallists from the 2013 World Championships, with Russian Evgenii Drattsev and German Christian Reichert. Drattsev won bronze in the 25 KM race, while Reichert was part of the gold medal winning team in the Team Event.
The women’s side is headlined by Spain’s Mireia Belmonte, who is well known for her wide range of abilities in the pool. She does have one international open water medal to her name: bronze at the 2014 European Championships in Berlin in the 5 KM event. She won two silver medals in London in the 800 freestyle and 200 butterfly.
The women’s side will also feature Great Britain’s Keri-Anne Payne, the 2008 Olympic silver medallist in the 10 KM. She is also a two-time World Champion in the 10 KM event in 2009 and 2011. Also competing will be Canadian Stephanie Horner, a Canadian Olympian in the pool in both 2008 and 2012, competing in the 200 free, 400 free, 200 fly, and 400 IM.