Friday, August 15, 2008

Mark's Mission - Part 7

With less than a week to go for the men's Olympic 10K Marathon Swim, Mark Warkentin gives his personal handicap of the race:

"My learning curve over the past year has been enormous, and in terms of tactics and strategy, I don’t think anyone has an advantage over me. The water is going to be a very hot 84 degrees, which plays to my advantage. I’ve never worn a full body suit, but many of the swimmers in the race have grown accustomed to the full body suit and those swimmers will have to make the choice: go with the full body suit they usually race in, or go with a smaller suit that won’t make them overheat. Body temperature is going to play a huge part in the race."

"Now, the bad news. Everyone else is really fast and it’s going to take the swim of my life to win a medal. Here are the significant contenders that I’m going to have to take down."

1. Vladimir Dyachin is brilliant and fast. He’s the Russian World Champion and he will swim a nearly perfect race.

2. David Davies from Great Britain, got second at the World Championships, he’s very fast and his learning curve is about a great as mine.

3. Thomas Lurz from Germany, is also highly intelligent and also very fast. The guy is legitimate.

Everyone in the top 10 is pretty much equally fit, so that’s a draw. The variables of the Olympics could determine everything: who ate what in the week before the race, who stayed focused in training, and who will get nervous before the race. And, significantly, who will make a mistake in the race. There’s always mistakes made in a race, it could be any of us, and there’s no way to tell who is going to be kicking themselves afterwards.

The race will not only be webcast live at 6 pm on August 20th (US time) on NBC Olympics, but it will also be archived for later viewing first at a, and later on Universal Sports.

Photo of Mark with his wife Diana taken by Dr. Jim Miller at the 2007 World Swimming Championships.

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