Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

FINA formally announced the final list of the 50 athletes (25 men and 25 women) who will compete in the Olympic Marathon Swimming 10km races at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

The finalists were selected at the FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifier held in Setúbal Bay, Portugal this weekend where two new medal contenders emerged: American Haley Anderson and Hungarian Eva Risztov, both relative newcomers to the sport with some proven speed.

The two-stage qualification for the 2012 Olympic Games included the automatic selection of the fastest 10 swimmers at the 2011 FINA World Championships in Shanghai and the 15 remaining spots were decided this weekend.

Additionally, new countries are to be represented on the Olympic stage for the marathon swimming distance: Zsofia Balazs of Canada, Natalia Charlos of Poland, Karla Sitic of Croatia, Wing Yung Natasha Terri Tang of Hong Kong, Yumi Kida of Japan, Cara Baker of New Zealand and Heidi Gan of Malaysia. Their representation will do wonders to help increase the awareness of open water swimming in their respective countries.

In Portugal, the fastest 10 swimmers in each race were selected if they were the fastest of their country. The last five competitors were selected on a continental basis; that is, the fastest swimmer from Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. The host country, Great Britain, selected its female representative, gold medal favorite Keri-Anne Payne, as a result of her victory at the first qualification in Shanghai at the 2011 World Swimming Championships.

The women’s finalists, with plenty of medal contenders, include:

1. Keri-Anne Payne (GBR)
2. Martina Grimaldi (ITA)
3. Marianna Lymperta (GRE)
4. Melissa Gorman (AUS)
5. Cecilia Biagioli (ARG)
6. Poliana Okimoto (BRA)
7. Jana Pechanova (CZE)
8. Angela Maurer (GER)
9. Swann Oberson (SUI)
10. Erika Villaecija (ESP)
11. Haley Anderson (USA)
12. Eva Risztov (HUN)
13. Yanqiao Fang (CHN)
14. Zsofia Balazs (CAN)
15. Ophelie Aspord (FRA)
16. Natalia Charlos (POL)
17. Anna Guseva (RUS)
18. Karla Sitic (CRO)
19. Wing Yung Natasha Terri Tang (HKG)
20. Yumi Kida (JPN)
21. Olga Beresnyeva (UKR)
22. Yanel Pinto (VEN)
23. Heidi Gan (MAS)
24. Jessica Roux (RSA)
25. Lizeth Rueda Santos (MEX)

The finalists in the men’s race are posted here.

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association