I'm sure you will have seen the 10k Open Water Swims at the Rio Olympics during the course of the week, H20PEN Magazine has published interesting articles on the swims which we thought would be of interest to you.
Hope you enjoy !
The Olympic 10k marathon swims in Rio this week showcased both the best and worst of our sport. Two nail-biting races ended in controversy and confusion as two hours of swimming descended into a scrap for the finish and questionable disqualifications. A double Dutch win for Van Rouwendaal and Weertman has been marred by accusations of bad sportsmanship and leg-pulling, biased judges and incompetence on the part of FINA. Both races ended in confusion for athletes and spectators as results were recalled and medal positions re-awarded after examination of the photo finish. For two hours of brutal and inspiring swimming to descend into chaos because of the judging and timing mechanisms of the sport does a disservice to the athletes and to open water swimming. FINA must examine the way open water races are refereed and look at alternative ways to finish races – in races that are so closely fought surely better technology must exist than the slapping of an overhead board to register a time. What do you think? Join the discussion and email us at email@example.com
In a race that she dominated from an early break in the third lap 1 hour 18 mins into the race, Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands took gold in the women’s 10km open water swimming event in the choppy waters off Copacabana Beach.
Van Rouwendaal’s early break was followed by a leading pack of Rachele Bruni (Italy), Poliana Okimoto (Brazil), Xin Xin (China) with Aurélie Muller (France) in close pursuit. Great Britain’s Keri-anne Payne led the chasing pack but was unable to make up the distance.
In the last few hundred metres Van Rouwendaal mis-sighted the line to the finish funnel, losing 10 metres on the chasing pack, but with 150 metres to go she managed to hold on to her lead to power through to the finish line to claim a convincing victory in 184.108.40.206. A scrap for silver and bronze was won by Muller over Bruni. However, Muller was disqualified for grappling Bruni out of the way at the finish line and pushing her under the water. Bruni therefore took silver and Okimoto's fourth place was upgraded to a bronze medal. Xin finished fourth. Keri-anne Payne finished in seventh.
If you thought yesterday’s women’s 10km race was dramatic, with Van Rouwendaal’s early break and Muller’s disqualification, today’s men’s race showcased the brutal tactics of open water swimming in a race that gripped from the very start. Australia’s Jarrod Poort led from the gun with an unprecedented sprint start that he managed to stretch to a lead of over 1 minute as he left the rest of the field behind. But Poort's brave tactics caught up with him in the end as the chasing pack finally bore down on him to overtake him 1 hour 38 minutes into the race. Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands was the first swimmer to overtake Poort in a chasing pack consisting of Weertman, Jordan Wilimovsky, Oussama Mellouli, Jack Burnell, Marc-Antoine Olivier and Spyridon Gianniotis.
The final 750m was a scrap for the finish line, with the lead being swapped between Burnell, Wilimovsky and Mellouli. A strong break by Gianniotis was closed by the rest of the pack leading to a photo finish and uncertainty over the final result. Initially unofficial first place was given to Gianniotis, second to Weertman and third to Burnell, but after examination of the photo finish the final results were called as gold to Weertman (Netherlands) in 1.52.59, silver to Gianniotis (Greece) and bronze to Olivier (France).
Great Britain's Jack Burnell was disqualified in the final minutes of the race. In an interview with BBC Sport a clearly angry Burnell protested against the judges' decision: "The whole thing was an absolute joke. In the end, apparently I was disqualified about two metres from the finish."
As in football, two yellow cards mean disqualification. Cards are given for unnecessary physical contact. "The first yellow card I got... I couldn't have physically touched anybody either side of me," said Burnell. "This is meant to be the pinnacle of the sport and you've got referees out there who haven't a clue what they are doing."
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