Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Last week, the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) announced its Class of 2016 inductees. Among the 17 luminaries in the aquatics world, Larisa Dmitriyevna Ilchenko of Russia was deservedly selected as an Honor Swimmer.

The ISHOF wrote, “Russian long distance swimmer, Larisa Ilchenko (Russian: Лариса Дмитриевна Ильченко) has won eight World Championships and gold at the 2008 Olympic Games at age 19. She has dominated long distance swimming since her first World Championship in Dubai in 2004, where, aged just 16, she won by over 30 seconds. She won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the 10 km, using her trademark closing kick after being behind the leaders for 9,900 of the 10,000 swim.”

Previously inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in the Class of 2011, the personable Russian star won a total of eight FINA World Championships between 2005 and 2008 – all coming from behind in the very last part of the race. She dramatically used her kick, called The Ilchenko, to outsprint Keri-Anne Payne and Cassandra Patton at the inaugural 10 km marathon swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games at the age 19.

Starting her winning ways at the age of 16, she won her world championships in all kinds of venues and against all comers. Her first was in Dubai in a river in 2004, the next was in a rowing basin in Montreal in 2005. She followed that up with 2 golds in the Mediterranean Sea in Napoli, Italy in 2006. In 2007, she won in rough conditions swimming over swarms of jellyfish in St. Kilda Beach in Port Phillip, Melbourne, Australia, and in 2008, she was in Sevilla, Spain.

She announced her retirement in 2010, but she has not drifted too far away from the open water community. The young mother currently organizes the 3-stage Champions Cup in Moscow, Lipetsk and Volgograd.

Career Highlights:

2004 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships – 5 km in Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 1:03:11.9

Silver: Ksenia Popova (Russia) 1:03:43.8
Bronze: Sara McLarty (USA) 1:03:52.9

2005 FINA World Swimming Championships – 5 km in Montreal, Canada
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 55:40.1
Silver: Margy Keefe (USA) 55:44.3
Bronze: Edith van Dijk (Netherlands) 55:46.6

2006 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships – 5 km in Napoli, Italy
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 1:08:19.7
Silver: Poliana Okimoto (Brazil) 1:08:27.6
Bronze: Britta Kamrau-Corestein (Germany) 1:08:46.3

2006 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships – 10 km in Napoli, Italy
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 2:19:40.9
Silver: Poliana Okimoto (Brazil) 2:19:59.3
Bronze: Ksenia Popova (Russia) 2:19:59.8

2007 FINA World Swimming Championships – 5 km in Melbourne, Australia
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 1:00:41.3
Silver: Ekaterina Seliverstova (Russia) 1:00:43.6

Bronze: Kate Brookes-Peterson (Australia) 1:00:47.9

2007 FINA World Swimming Championships – 10 km in Melbourne, Australia
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 2:03:57.9
Silver: Cassandra Patten (Great Britain) 2:03:58.9

Bronze: Kate Brookes-Peterson (Australia) 2:03:59.5

2008 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships – 5 km in Sevilla, Spain
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 1:00:04.6
Silver: Ekaterina Seliverstova (Russia) 1:00:07.8
Bronze: Chloe Sutton (USA) 1:00:09.9

2008 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships – 10 km in Sevilla, Spain
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 2:02:02.7
Silver: Cassandra Patten (Great Britain) 2:02:05.8

Bronze: Yurema Requena (Spain) 2:02:07.2

2008 Beijing Olympic Games Women’s Results
Gold: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia) 1:59:27.7
Silver: Keri-Anne Payne (Great Britain) 1:59:29.2
Bronze: Cassandra Patten (Great Britain) 1:59:31.0
4. Angela Maurer (Germany) 1:59:31.9
5. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil) 1:59:36.8
6. Swann Oberson (Switzerland) 1:59:36.9
7. Poliana Okimoto (Brazil) 1:59:37.4
8. Jana Pechanová (Czech Republic) 1:59:39.7
9. Andreína del Valle Pinto Pérez (Venezuela) 1:59:40.0
10. Martina Grimaldi (Italy) 1:59:40.7
11. Marianna Lymperta (Greece) 1:59:42.3
12. Teja Zupan (Slovenia) 1:59:43.7
13. Yurema Requena (Spain) 1:59:46.9
14. Edith van Dijk (Netherlands) 2:00:02.8
15. Melissa Gorman (Australia) 2:00:33.6
16. Natalie du Toit South Africa 2:00:49.9
17. Daniela Inácio (Portugal) 2:00:59.0
18. Eva Berglund (Sweden) 2:01:05.0
19. Fang Yanqiao (China) 2:01:07.9
20. Imelda Martínez (Mexico) 2:01:07.9
21. Aurelie Muller (France) 2:02:04.1
22. Chloe Sutton (United States) 2:02:13.6
23. Natalya Samorodina (Ukraine) 2:10:41.6
24. Antonella Bogarin (Argentina) 2:11:35.9
Kristel Köbrich (Chile) DNF

2009 FINA World Swimming Championships – 5 km in Ostia, Rome, Italy
Gold: Melissa Gorman (Australia)

Silver: Larisa Ilchenko (Russia)

Bronze: Poliana Okimoto (Brazil)

The 2016 induction ceremony will be held the weekend of June 3rd – 6th in Santa Clara, California. Further information on the inductees is here.

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