Racing To The 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Courtesy of FINA, Yeosu EXPO Ocean Park, Gwangju, South Korea.

Ten spots were up for grabs for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

And the race was on.

The winner was a heralded, but unexpected, 22-year-old from China, Xin Xin.

She upset 2016 gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal, 2016 silver medalist Rachele Bruni, 2012 Haley Anderson, and a host of other stars in the sport.

The top ten finishers at the 2019 FINA World Championships qualified for next summer’s Olympic Games.  In addition to Xin and Anderson, Rachele Bruni of Italy, Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil, Ashley Twichell of the USA, and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands all qualified for the 2020 Olympics – as race prognosticators had predicted.

But, as expected, there were surprises and the unexpected.

Lara Grangeon of France qualified fourth, but her more renowned teammate Aurélie Muller finished 11th and is out of the 2020 Olympic picture.  Kareena Lee made Australia proud with her 7th place finish, 3.3 seconds back from gold and two Germans – Finnia Wunram and Leonie Beck – have a shot of ascending to the 2020 Olympic podium.

The water was warm at 23.1°C and the race was clean with only two yellow cards issued. One post-race protest was officially issued by the French Swimming Federation, but it was not accepted by FINA.

Xin said in her post-race interview, “I am really excited for my first place. My goal before this competition was to qualify for the Olympics. I believe that I can race better and better in the future. My strategy today was to relax and save energy in the first half, and to keep ‘clear in the mind’ and also to keep the confidence in myself.”

Anderson who qualified for her third straight Olympics was also ecstatic, “I am really happy with how I raced and I am excited to qualify for another Olympic Games. I can’t believe I qualified for my third Olympics. To get my hand on the touch pads in second is really awesome. I finally won a medal in the 10km at the world championships. I really learned a lot during the past two quads. It was pretty stressful and brutal in the race today. It was a little cut-throat out there because everyone was trying to finish in the top ten.

I was trying to stay calm and confident. Coming down the last stretch was a pretty big pack and I tried to keep the best line possible to the finish and I found clear water. I wanted to avoid fighting with anyone as that isn’t good for either swimmer. I made up some ground on the leaders. It was always my goal to be on the podium here, it wasn’t just about finishing in the top 10 today.

I am really excited about how I finished, not just where I finished. This is a great ‘set up’ for me for the Olympics next summer. I want to earn another medal for the USA at next summer’s Olympics.”

Women’s Olympic 10 km Qualification Race Results:
1. Xin Xin (China) 1:54:47.20
2. Haley Anderson (USA) 1:54:48.10
3. Rachele Bruni (Italy) 1:54:49.90
4. Lara Grangeon (France) 1:54:50.00
5. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil) 1:54:50.50
6. Ashley Twichell (USA) 1:54:50.50
7. Kareena Lee (Australia) 1:54:50.50
8. Finnia Wunram (Germany) 1:54:50.70
9. Leonie Beck (Germany) 1:54:51.00
10. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands) 1:54:51.10
11. Aurélie Muller (France) 1:54:51.20
12. Viviane Jungblut (Brazil) 1:54:51.90
13. Arianna Bridi (Italy) 1:54:52.00
14. Fuwei Dong (China) 1:54:56.70
15. Esmee Vermeulen (Netherlands) 1:54:58.40
16. Anna Olasz (Hungary) 1:54:58.70
17. Alice Dearing (Great Britain) 1:55:05.90
18. Samantha Arévalo (Ecuador) 1:55:22.80
19. Angelica Andre (Portugal) 1:55:23.40
20. Anastasiia Krapivina (Russia) 1:55:24.90
21. Mariia Novikova (Russia) 1:55:26.00
22. Yumi Kida (Japan) 1:55:26.70
23. Reka Rohacs (Hungary) 1:55:26.70
24. Paula Ruiz (Spain) 1:55:31.20
25. Danielle Huskisson (Great Britain) 1:55:31.50
26. Maria Alejandra Bramont-Arias (Peru) 1:55:33.80
27. Špela Perše (Slovenia) 1:55:44.40
28. Eva Fabian (Israel) 1:55:44.80
29. Chelsea Gubecka (Australia) 1:55:45.20
30. Minami Niikura (Japan) 1:55:46.80
31. Michelle Weber (South Africa) 1:56:25.80
32. Julia Lucila Arino (Argentina) 1:56:32.20
33. Maria Vilas (Spain) 1:57:34.40
34. Alena Benesova (Czech Republic) 1:57:48.60
35. Kate Farley Sanderson (Canada) 2:00:23.90
36. Krystyna Panchishko (Ukraine) 2:00:28.60
37. Kalliopi Araouzou (Greece) 2:00:30.30
38. Eden Girloanta (Israel) 2:00:34.60
39. Tsz Yin Nip (Hong Kong) 2:01:14.60
40. Lenka Šterbova (Czech Republic) 2:01:15.50
41. Martha Sandoval (Mexico) 2:01:17.50
42. Paola Perez (Venezuela) 2:01:29.70
43. Martha Ruth Aguilar Ortega (Mexico) 2:01:42.10
44. Nataly Caldas Calle (Ecuador) 2:02:03.50
45. Chantel Lily Jeffrey (Canada) 2:02:19.90
46. Robyn Kinghorn (South Africa) 2:03:05.10
47. Justyna Dorota Bruska (Poland) 2:03:28.40
48. Sandy Atef (Egypt) 2:07:37.80
49. Liliana Hernandez (Venezuela) 2:07:38.40
50. Karolina Balazikova (Slovakia) 2:07:38.70
51. Mariya Fedotova (Kazakhstan) 2:07:42.50
52. Cho Ying Wong (Hong Kong) 2:07:43.40
53. Dayoun Lim (Korea) 2:07:50.90
54. Pimpun Choopong (Thailand) 2:08:16.60
55. Haeun Jung (Korea) 2:09:36.80
56. Yanci Vanegas (Guatemala)2:11:59.10
57. Famita Flores (Estonia) 2:12:00.60
58. Katawan Teeka (Thailand) 2:17:27.00
59. Hita Nayak (India) 2:17:32.30
60. Sofie Frichot (Seychelles) 2:18:07.70
61. Nikitha Setru Venugopal (India) 2:20:09.50
62. Camila Mercado (Bolivia) 2:23:09.70
63. Genesis Rojas (Costa Rica) 2:23:29.40
64. Merle Liivand (Estonia) 2:23:30.80

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