Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Ana Marcela Cunha‬ was named the ‎2015 Brazilian Athlete of the Year.

In the months leading up to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, the Brazilian open water swimmer will face an increasing amount of attention and external pressure as she prepares for the 10 km marathon swim where she will be one of the pre-race medalist favorites. ‬

But it is pressure that she can handle. Together with Poliana Okimoto, her marathon swimming teammate and 2013 Brazilian Athlete of the Year, the pair will be among the pre-race gold medal favorites.

The 2015 Brazilian Olympic Award, given by the Brazilian Olympic Committee, is the highest domestic honor that a Brazilian athlete can receive. But both Cunha and Okimoto will be vying for the highest international honor that an Olympic athlete can receive in August 2016 on Copacabana Beach.

The 7-time FINA World Championship medalist won her second gold medal in the 25 km race and a bronze in the 10 km race at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan to earn the Brazilian Olympic Award.

Copyright © 2015 by World Open Water Swimming Association