Olympic gold medalist Larisa Ilchenko got married this past week to fellow Russian Olympian Sergey Perunin.
The 8-time world champion was unbeatable in major international championships from her debut in Dubai in 2004 as a 16-year-old to her dramatic victory at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Her trademark finish, The Ilchenko, was a killer sprint that she used time and time again to defeat her competitors. Throughout her races, she latched behind the leaders and conserved her energy until she used exquisite timing to overtake her rivals often within 50-100 meters of the finish.
She retired in 2010 after experiencing hypothermia in lac St-Jean at the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships in combination to an injury she sustained in 2009.
The Russian open water swimming superstar will be inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame at the 2012 Global Open Water Swimming Conference.
She burst upon the international scene when she overtook American Sara McLarty at the 2004 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Dubai as a 16-year-old. The next year in Montreal at the 2005 FINA World Swimming Championships, she had a tougher time as the veterans pushed her under and held her up, but she still won with a final furious sprint. In 2006 in Napoli, Italy, she doubled up with victories in the 5km and 10km, again winning with her trademark closing sprint. By 2007 and 2008, the juggernaut was firmly established and she confidently swaggered her way onshore while dominating the last part of every race she swam. Her career culminated at the 2008 Beijing Olympics 10K Marathon Swim when she won the first gold in open water swimming in dramatic fashion.
Her career will be celebrated at the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame induction ceremonies at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary on September 22nd in Long Beach, California. For more information, visit here.
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