Xin Xin Tops Olympic 10K OW Qualifier, 15 More Athletes Set for Rio


**post updated to include continental qualifiers

Earlier today, China’s Xin Xin fought off a field of challengers for the top slot at the 2016 Women’s Marathon Swimming Olympic Qualifier in Setubal, Portugal.

Fifteen Olympic spots were on the line, with the top ten finishers (but only one from each country) booking a direct ticket to Rio. Another five spots were reserved for a special “continental” qualification.

Xin, a 20-year-old 2012 Olympian from the People’s Republic of China, won out a close battle with Great Britain’s 2008 Olympic silver medalist Keri-Anne Payne, finishing in 1:55.12.1.

Payne finished .8 back in 1:55.9, followed by Ecuador’s 2012 Olympian Samantha Arévalo (+3.8). The trio fought for the lead spot throughout the entire last lap.

Fourth went to Australia’s Chelsea Gubecka (+22.2), followed by Japan’s Yumi Kida (+26.3), who finished 12th in this event in the London Olympics. South Africa’s Michelle Weber threatened the lead throughout the race but ended up sixth (+37.6).

Australia’s Kareena Lee finished seventh (+38.1), but because only one swimmer per country can qualify at this meet, she will not swim in Rio. Ninth-place British swimmer Danielle Huskisson is in the same position (+52.5). Poland’s Joanna Zachoszcz finished eighth (+52.4), good for an Olympic slot.

Since Lee and Huskisson are out of the running for Rio, 10th-place Paola Perez of Venezuela earned an Olympic berth (+1:09.8). 11th-place Siyu Yan (+1:41.1) is also out of the running, so Slovenia’s Spela Perse (+1:42.4) will join the rest of the crew in Rio.

Here are the Olympic qualifiers from today’s race:

  • Xin Xin, China
  • Keri-Anne Payne, Great Britain
  • Samantha Arévalo, Ecuador
  • Chelsea Gubecka, Australia
  • Yumi Kida, Japan
  • Michelle Weber, South Africa
  • Joanna Zachoszcz, Poland
  • Paola Perez, Venezuela
  • Spela Perse, Slovenia

The qualifiers from today will join the top 10 swimmers from the 2015 Kazan World Championships. In addition, to assure representation from every continent, the top-ranked swimmer from each of the five continents who has not already qualified and whose country has not already filled their one or two swimmer quota will also automatically qualify for Rio. Look here for FINA’s marathon swimming Olympic selection standards.

UPDATE: Here are the continental qualifiers:

  • Erika Villaecija, Spain- EUROPE
  • Stephanie Horner, Canada – NORTH AMERICA
  • Heidi Gan, Malaysia – ASIA
  • Charlotte Webby, New Zealand – OCEANIA
  • Reem Kaseem, Egypt – AFRICA

The course today consisted of six 1.6 kilometer laps in the Sado River.

The men’s competition will take place tomorrow

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Hi Hannah. Thanks for the round up. I’m still trying to get my head round who may have qualified from outside of the top 10 from Kazan and the athletes listed above from this swim. As Heidi Gan is the highest Asian competitor in the race who isn’t from China or Japan (who have direct qualifying athletes), do you know if she might have qualified? She came 19th overall in this qualifying swim but I’m trying to wot, out if she’s made it of not.
Great to see Kerri Anne Payne back on form again.

Hey stu – Heidi Gan has qualified, confirmed.


That’s awesome, thank you so much! Really stoked for her! 🙂

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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