Sharon van Rouwendaal wins “Queen of the Sea” Crown

Open water Olympic gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal became queen of the sea–literally. The Dutch swimmer won the “Queen of the Sea” title during the same-name Rio de Janeiro open water swim competition held last weekend.

Van Rouwendaal competed in three heats, totaling 3km, along with other elite swimmers. She competed against open water champions like Open Water Female Swimmer of the Year Swammy award-winner Ana Marcela Cunha and South American Female Swimmer of the Year Swammy award-winner Viviane Jungblut.

Van Rouwendaal won the 500m race, the 1km race, and the 1.5 km race. After the first race, three out of the 10 competitors were eliminated. An additional two competitors were eliminated after the second race, and the overall winner was crowned at the conclusion of the third event.

“It was very special. I was looking forward to coming to Rio,” Van Rouwendaal told TV Globo. “Yesterday I was a little sick, I didn’t know if I was going to compete, but I felt really strong today. People here make us feel special, they like open water competitions”

Jungblut was the runner up, while Cunha came in third during the elite event. Only women were allowed to compete overall at the competition, and the other seven people who competed in the event were elite athletes Samantha Arevalos, Cecilia Biagioli, Rachele Bruni, Cibele Jungblut, Betina Lorscheitter, and the winners of the earlier 1km sprint and 2km race, Nathalia Almeida and Gabrielle Roncatto.

Van Rouwendaal won the gold medal in the 10km open water marathon at the Rio Olympics. In the past, she’s also competed in distance pool events. She currently holds the Dutch long course records in the 400, 800, 1500, and 5000 free, as well as the 200 back and 200 butterfly. She also has the Dutch short course records in the 400, 800, and 1500 free, and the 200 fly and 400 IM.

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