Britain will be well-represented in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim. Only Britain and Brazil qualified two athletes for the female marathon swim to be held on August 20 in the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park venue.
In addition to their Olympic 10K Marathon Swim duties, Cassandra Patten, 21, will also swim the 800 freestyle and Keri-Anne Payne, 20, will swim both the 200 and 400 individual medleys.
Their 10K strategies will most probably be quite similar to David Davies, their British open water teammate and 2004 bronze medalist in the 1500-meter freestyle: take it out hard, get into the lead and avoid the physical contact of pack swimming.
Payne talked about her qualifying race in Spain, "I planned to stick to the front of the pack. I started well and I was in the top three for a long part of the race but there was a lot of fighting and I slipped back a bit, but I do think I should have stayed closer to the leaders." She qualified eighth.
Although there is talk about how teammates work together as cyclists do, there appears to be a healthy, friendly and respectful rivalry between Patten and Payne.
Says Patten about the rivalry, "I think there is always an element of competition between sportspeople, you can’t avoid it. My old coach Mr. D used to say to me, 'They can be your friend out of the pool, but in it, everyone is your enemy.'"
In either case, they will have stiff competition against Russia's Larisa Ilchenko and Chloe Sutton. AP photo shows Patten (right) swimming against Ilchenko (left).
Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association