10 km world champion Spyridon Gianniotis is living up to his country’s gift to the endurance sports world. The Greek champion has won the last three marathon swims he has raced against the world’s best and is looking good as the leading gold medal contender for London.

His latest victory came in the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup race in Eilat, Israel where 77 swimmers (41 men and 36 women) from 26 countries competed in the build-up to the London Olympic Games.

With a time of 1 hour 52 minutes 32.45 seconds, Spyridon held off another gold medal contender Thomas Lurz of Germany who finished in 1:52:36.25 and Russia’s Evgeny Drattsev in 1:52:36.45.

On the women’s side, Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha is on a similar tear although she barely missed qualifying for the London Olympics. Ana won in 2:02:37.45 in a close battle over Russia’s Ekaterina Seliverstova in 2:02:37.80 and her Russian teammate Anna Guseva in 2:02:38.85.

The men appear to be revving it up as they get closer to the Olympics. While they are typically 7 minutes or so faster than the women, the top men finished 10 minutes ahead of the women. This feeds speculation that the men’s Olympic 10km Marathon Swim will be one incredibly fast-paced competition where men like Spyridon and Thomas may not want to play a tactical game but lay it all on the line and challenge their competitors to keep up with their blistering pace throughout the entire race.

Rhys Mainstone described the race, “Eilat was great; it was a fast pace which we were expecting. I wanted to try a race plan of leading from the front. To be racing this fast into Olympics will showcase our sport in the best way.”

Given the workouts and aerobic capacity of the top men, this bold, fearless strategy seems like a good bet for anyone who intends to be a medalist.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source