Britta Kamrau, a nominee for the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, is photogenic, appearing in many magazines. But, as her competitors know well, Britta has a steely determination and competitive spirit that drives the 29-year-old pro swimmer from Germany.
Over the course of her career, Britta has always been competitive and often stood on top of the podium. She races everywhere and in every condition, although she admits "I am just not good and suffer too much in really, really cold water."
She valiantly won the rough 25K race at the 2007 World Swimming Championships in Melbourne when the race was held under 40 mph winds until it was interrupted by a squall. Through it all, Britta kept on churning away even as the turn buoys were torn from their anchors.
She described her hardest race as a 2004 FINA World Cup race in Haikou, China. Britta had previously completed the exact same race course two years previously, but the swimmers faced changing tides and horrible weather conditions in 2004. Britta said, "We were more than 10 hours in the water, but we only all did about only 15 kilometers before they finally cancelled the race. It was horrible…we were mentally and physically prepared for 6 hours swimming with our drinks [and food], but there were no officials at all on the water with us, although there were very bad and big jellyfish with us throughout the whole race. We could not even ask anyone what is happening and what are were supposed to do. We didn't even know where we were going."
True to the nature of competitive open water swimmers worldwide, Britta forged on … and returned for the next race.
Over the course of her career, Britta has competed all over the world with the following results:
European Open Water Swimming Championships:
• 1999: bronze in the 5K and 25K
• 2000: silver in the 5K
• 2002: bronzed in 10K
• 2004: gold in the 5K, 10K and 25K
• 2008: silver in the 5K and 25K; bronze in the 5K Team race
FINA World Swimming Championships or FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships:
• 2002: gold in the 10K; bronze in the 25K
• 2003: silver in the 25K; bronze in the 5K
• 2004: gold in the 10K and 25K
• 2005: silver in 25K; bronze in the 10K
• 2006: bronze in the 5K
• 2007: gold in the 25K
FINA World Cup pro races:
• 25-time winner in various FINA world cup races since 1997
• 2003: 1st overall in FINA World Cup series
• 2006: 1st overall in the FINA World Cup series
After winning $10,000 at the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco, Britta is now preparing for three FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix races in Argentina: the 57K Maraton Acuatica Internacional Rio Coronda, the 15K Maraton Acuatico Internacional Cuidad de Rosario and the 15K International Open Water Swim La Patagones-Viedma, a total of 87K (54 miles) of hard swimming over a 13-day period in February 2009.
Details on Britta and the other 11 nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year are posted here; information on the 14 male nominees are posted here.
Photos by Heiner Kopcke.