Swimming World Magazine awarded its World Female Open Water Swimmer of the Year to Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist and 5K and 10K world champion Larisa Ilchenko. With the best finish kick in open water swimming, Larisa is the well-deserving honoree.
The Swimming World Magazine article can be read here.
Larisa’s trademark move is a classic to watch and extremely difficult to compete against. She expertly drafts off of the lead swimmers for a majority of the race, aggressively protecting her #2 or #3 position in the pack, which is difficult to consistently do throughout a 2-hour 10K race. Then, around the last turn buoy, she gets ready to make her signature move. With the finish approaching, sometimes with less than 100 meters to go, Larisa picks up her kicking speed and literally swims around her competition, often on the opposite side to which her opponents breathe, to win the race.
Much easily said than done, Larisa puts in tremendous hours and work to be able to pull off The Ilchenko. Recently, she told former world champion Shelley Taylor-Smith that she has not taken a day off in 2008. "I only had 7 days out of the water in 2007. I am looking forward to some time off I hope."
Larisa is a nominee for the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year. Voting continues here.
Information on the male nominees are posted here; details on the other female nominees for the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year are posted here.
Photos by Pei Qingsheng at the Beijing Olympics.
Copyright by Open Water Source