RIO 2016 OLYMPIC OPEN WATER SWIMMING
- August 15th-16th, 2016
- 9AM Local Time (8AM U.S. East Coast Time)
- 10Km Race
- Fort Copacabana Beach
In an absolutely wild men’s 10 KM Marathon swim this morning in Rio, Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands came out on top to give the Dutch a sweep of the open water races, as Sharon Van Rouwendaal won the women’s race yesterday by nearly 20 seconds.
Van Rouwendaal stuck with the pack throughout the race, pulling away on the last lap to win gold by a wide margin. The men’s race, however, was the exact opposite.
Jarrod Poort of Australia, who competed at the 2012 London Olympics in the 1500 free, took off from the gun, opening up a huge lead that peaked at 1 minute 16 seconds halfway through the race. He began to tire on the third of four laps, but still held a 40-second advantage over the field heading into the final loop.
He faltered hard on that last lap, and was swallowed up by the pack. He tried to stay in contention for the medals, but ultimately had used up too much gas early in the race to stay with the leaders.
Weertman, along with 2015 World Champion Jordan Wilimovsky and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Oussama Mellouli immediately charged to the front, looking like maybe the three best bets to end up on the medal podium.
It was an absolutely wild last push for the finish, as the top 12 competitors were separated by less than 7 seconds. There were at least six men in contention for the win over the last few metres, but Weertman got his hand on the pad slightly before everyone else.
When the results came out, Weertman and Spiros Gianniotis of Greece were given the same time: 1:52:59.8, but the photos showed Weertman touched 1st, giving him the distinction of 1st soon after the race concluded. Marc-Antoine Olivier of France and Zu Lijun of China were also given the same time in 3rd, at 1:53:02.0. They were both placed 3rd on the results for a while, but once analyzed the photos revaled Olivier touched 3rd giving him the bronze. Zu finished 4th.
Zu won the Olympic qualifying event back in June, and appeared out of it sitting at the very back of the pack halfway through the race. He had a huge second half, but ultimately just missed a medal.
Jack Burnell of Great Britain, who was right in the battle and appeared to touch around the same time as Olivier and Zu, was disqualified. He called out the referees post-race about the disqualification, and how they were ruining the event. “You’ve got guys who don’t know what they’re doing!”, he said.
A similar situation happened in the women’s race yesterday, where Aurelie Muller of France was disqualified at the finish after initially winning silver, as she and Rachele Bruni of Italy battled to the line for 2nd.
Wilimovsky ultimately finished just behind those who fought for the podium in 5th, and Mellouli faded back to 12th.
After the gutsy effort, Poort finished 21st out of 23 finishers, falling about 24 seconds behind the tail end of the main field when all was said and done.
The other American Sean Ryan was initially disqualified as well, but had it overturned. He placed 14th overall.
Vitaliy Khudyakov of Kazakhstan was the third swimmer disqualified, though that happened during the race, well before the finish. After getting a yellow card, a second infraction resulted in a red card and he was out.