When the world's best male open water swimmers are introduced to the Olympic crowds in Beijing, here are the bios of the stars:
• Vladimir Dyatchin: 25 years old of Russia, won 3 gold medals in the 2003, 2007 and 2008 10K world championships. Vladimir won a silver medal in the 2001 10K world championships and bronze at the 2003 5K world championships. He retired in 2004, but returned after learning open water swimming was added to the OIympics. Dyatchin was the World Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2007 and won the 2007 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup.
• David Davies: 23 years old of Great Britain, was the 2004 Athens Olympics bronze medalist in the 1500 freestyle. He won the silver medal in the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Championships and is considered a gold medalist co-favorite with Dyatchin.
• Thomas Lurz: 34 years old of Germany, won the gold medal in the 2004 and 2006 10K world championships. He lost the 2007 10K world championship to Dyatchin by 6/100ths of a second. He won the silver medal in the 2005 10K world championships and the gold medals in the 2005, 2007 and 2008 5K world championships. He was the World Open Water Swimmer of the Year in 2005 and 2006.
• Mark Warkentin: 28 years old of the USA, qualified seventh and won a silver medal in the 2008 25K world championships. Mark won 4 gold medals in the 1999 World University Games and a silver medal in the 2001 World University Games in pool events.
• Ky Hurst: 27 years old of Australia, qualified sixth and won a silver medal in the 1998 5K world championships. Ky won 4 Australian Ironman titles and is a member of the Surf Life Saving Australia Hall of Fame.
• Maarten van der Weijden: 27 years old of the Netherlands, qualified fourth and recovered from leukemia to win the gold medal in the 2008 25K world championships. Maarten won the bronze medal in the 2008 5K world championships. He also donated 50,000 Euros in 2004 for a swim across Lake IJssel in the Netherlands. He finished second overall in the 2007 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit.
• Spyridon Gianniotis: 28 years old of Greece, qualified ninth and was seventh in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics and fifth in the 1500-meter freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
• Valerio Cleri: 27 years old of Italy, qualified eighth and was third overall in the 2007 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit and has won several FINA World Cup races over the years.
• Mohamed El Zanaty: 24 years old of Egypt, won a bronze medal at the 2007 25K world championships and has won six FINA or major international professional races around the world.
• Petar Stoychev: 31 years old of Bulgaria, is the English Channel record holder in a time of 6 hours and 57 minutes. Petar won seven consecutive FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix titles and has won dozens of famous professional marathon swims around the world. He won bronze medals in the 2003 25K world championships, the 2005 10K world championships and the 2005 25K world championships.
Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association