The men’s 1500m final at the 2012 London Olympic Games presented an intriguing possibilities for the future open water world.

Ous Mellouli finished in a strong 14:40 as he took the bronze medal. But the Tunisian double medalist has not yet finished with his Olympic program – not by a long shot. Mellouli will compete as a serious gold medal contender in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim on August 10th.

Additionally, 1500m finalist Daniel Fogg of Great Britain will also showcase his open water skills this coming week in the Serpentine.

But the future possibilities involve two other finalists: silver medalist Ryan Cochrane of Canada and gold medalist Sun Yang of China. Cochrane finished in 14:39 and has also dabbled in open water swimming – competing in the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco. While Cochrane has not made any public announcements that he will extend his range to the 10 km race, or any other open water swim for that matter, he certainly has the very real possibility to be a serious gold medal contender in the Olympic marathon swim by the time the 2016 Rio Olympics rolls around.

And if Sun Yang of China, the absolutely dominant 20-year-old double gold medalist, wants to add to his Olympic medal collection, the 10 km would certainly be a better bet than another pool event.

With 4 Olympic medals (2 gold in the 400m and 1500m, 1 silver in the 200m and 1 bronze in the 4x200m freestyle relay), Sun was the only male swimmer to win two individual gold medals. With his strength, speed and endurance, a gold in the 10 km seems entirely within his potential at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Depending on what his governing body decides, the open water swimming world could see the fastest, strongest distance freestyler in the world add marathon swimming to his resume.

Since he swam the last 50m faster at the end of his 1500m race than he did at the end of his shorter races, certainly no one could close an open water race like Sun. Furthermore, living and training in Australia, it would seem a natural that he will eventually try – or at least be exposed to – the open water world. On the other hand, Sun would need to enjoy swimming in the open water in order to be Olympic gold medal good – and his coaches and the Chinese authorities would have to approve his attempts at the open water. None of these critical criteria seem to be in the cards…at least in the short-term.

But long-term…watch out for the Sun.

Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source