NBC Olympics.com covered the women's Olympic 10K Marathon Swim online yesterday in its entirety. It was a classic race under the pressure of the Olympic stage.
The eventual silver and bronze medalists, Keri-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten pushed the pace right from the start. Trying valiently to take the finishing kick out of their competitors, the British pair truly elevated the level of competition on the 10K Marathon Swim by forcing everyone to swim so fast for so long. But favorite Larisa Ilchenko of Russia was up to the task. She stuck with the powerful British duo throughout the entire race and stormed even with her competitors with 100 meters to go. In trademark fashion, Ilchenko closed with a tremendously fast kick to claim the gold.
Nearly coming in for a bronze was Angela Maurer of Germany who swam an incredibly smart race only to run out of room in a furious battle at the end.
The final pace for the top women was 1 minute and 11 seconds per 100 meters throughout the entire 10,000 meter race. Considering there were no lane lines, no walls and several hydration stops along the way, this pace was unbelievably fast.
Although there were several warning whistles blown by the referee and a yellow card given, the race was relatively clean and fair given the pressure the women faced to win the first 10K Marathon Swim gold. The only controversy was when Cassandra Patten of the U.K. accused Maurer of pulling on her ankles towards the end.
But the head referee was right on top of the action and no calls were made. Most experienced observers also thought the race was a classic and conducted in a fair manner with the athletes on the awards podium most deserving of their medals.
To watch the event again, you can go to the NBC swimming page here and click on OPEN WATER in events tab.
Or, you can go to here under VIDEOS and " Watch the debut of the Olympic marathon swimming".
You can watch the event with a running live commentary and play-by-play. Additionally, you can submit questions to NBC's Ask the Expert who will answer your questions.
Alternatively, you can send an email directly to headcoach@10Kswim.com who will try to answer your questions either during the race or as reasonably soon thereafter.
Photos by Pei Qingsheng. Upper photo shows Illchenko. Lower photo shows Cassandra Patten immediately after the race with Angela Maurer.
Copyright © 2008 by World Open Water Swimming Association