Surprises – some pleasant, some shocking – reigned at the Olympic Marathon Swim in the Serpentine today.

1. Eva Risztov of Hungary (1:57:38.2) turned the tables on Haley Anderson who just touched her out at the Olympic Qualification Race in June – as well as the rest of the elite field in the 20°C water – to win gold. She initially retired in 2005 and came back in 2009
2. Haley Anderson of the USA (1:57:38.6) continues improving by leaps and bounds in the open water and will be a threat for years to come
3. Martina Grimaldi of Italy (1:57:41.8) pushed and pushed and pushed covering the 10K in an average 100m pace of 1 minute 11 seconds

4. Keri-Anne Payne of Great Britain (1:57:42.2) changed her normal lead-from-the-front strategy to finish fourth, and reportedly did not take a feed for the first 45 minutes, but she remains humble and gracious in defeat. The pressure on this young woman’s shoulders must have been incredible with so many expectations raised and VIPs on hand including Prime Minister David Cameron

5. Angela Maurer of Germany (1:57:52.8), the oldest woman in the field with a son and a career in the police force, hung on to finish fifth
6. Ophelie Aspord of France (1:58:43.1), a law student, led the second pack and will be another force for years to come
7. Olga Beresnyeva of Ukraine (1:58:44.4) swam well to place in the top 10
8. Erika Villaecija of Spain (1:58:49.5), a pool swimmer turned open water swimmer, swam well to finish in the top 10
9. Jana Pechanova of the Czech Republic (1:58:52.8), is a coach who demonstrated to her athletes how to race with the world’s best
10. Anna Guseva of Russia (1:58:53.0) had some huge shoes to fill after the 2008 gold medal victory by Larisa Ilchenko, but she did well to finish in the top 10

11. Melissa Gorman of Australia (1:58:53.1) fell out of the lead pack much earlier than expected
12. Karla Sitic of Croatia (1:58:54.7), one of the smallest women in the field, swam with a huge heart

13. Yumi Kida, a Japanese pool swimmer (1:58:59.1) turned open water specialist, swam well and finished respectfully in mid-pack
14. Yanel Pinto of Venezuela (1:59:05.8) emulated the exploits of her sister who placed 9th in the 2008 Olympic marathon swim
15. Natalia Charlos of Poland (1:59:05.8) attempted to stay up with the leaders towards the end, but hung on nicely
16. Heidi Gan of Malaysia (2:00:45.0) swam very well and represented her country courageously
17. Cecilia Biagioli of Argentina (2:01:02.2) hung into as best she could in water that was much too cold for her

18. Zsofia Balazs of Canada (2:01:17.8) swam well to finish in the top 20

19. Swann Oberson of Switzerland (2:01:38.0) fell out of contention early and was never really a threat after her promising victory at the world 5k championships last year

20. Wing Yung Natasha Terri Tang of Hong Kong (2:02:33.4) swam well to finish in the top 20
21. Lizeth Rueda Santos of Mexico (2:02:46.1) hung on as best she could in water that was colder than she is accustomed to
22. Marianna Lymperta of Greece (2:04:26.5) had some tough times in water that was colder than she could withstand

Poliana Okimoto of Brazil did not finish due to the cold water

Jessica Roux of South Africa pulled herselff out early in the race and was never a factor

Yanqiao Fang of China was a non-starter ffor unexplained reasons

Copyright © 2012 by World Open Water Swimming Association