Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Eye of the Tiger

What is the look of a champion?

Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia and Gerry Rodrigues of the UCLA Bruin Masters Swimming seem to have it.

In addition to great aerobic capacity, high navigational IQ and top-notch racing savvy, these guys have the intensity and focus of a champion. Look at their eyes.

Vladimir is shown above finishing at the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Seville where he qualified first for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim. Gerry is shown below exiting the water to win the La Jolla Rough Water Swim, America’s Premier Rough Water Swim that has been held since 1916.

Vladimir has won 3 gold medals in the 2003, 2007 and 2008 10K world championships, a silver in the 2001 10K world championships and a bronze in the 2003 5K world championships. He retired in 2004, but returned after learning open water swimming was added to the Beijing OIympics. Dyatchin was the World Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2007 and is one of the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medal favorites.

Gerry Rodrigues is a former pool swimmer who found his niche in the ocean. "Gerry wins by his wits," said Dana Totten of the Olympic Club. "He knows how to position himself. I’ve seen him beat guys he has no business beating.”

Gerry has won the hundreds of ocean and lake races throughout California including Lake Berryessa, Lake Sonoma, Santa Cruz, Manhattan Beach, La Jolla, Seal Beach, Oceanside, San Clemente, Huntington Beach, Malibu, Ventura, Solano Beach, Dana Point, Newport Beach, Santa Monica, Will Rogers State Beach, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and dozens of Bud Light Ocean Festival Series races, as well as two Masters World Championship races.

Talent, toughness and tactics. And, the eye of the tiger.

Photo of Vladimir Dyatchin by Javier Blazquez.

Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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