Nova International announced its elite competitors for the Great Channel Swim in August.
Petar Stoychev, the current English Channel record holder in 6:57 and Bulgaria's Olympic flag-bearer in Beijing, Australian Brendan Capell (shown on left), 2004 world 25K champion and second overall on the 2008 FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit, Cassandra Patten, Britain's 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim bronze medalist, Australian Shelley Clark, a consistently high finisher on the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit events and at the World 25K Open Water Championships, Stefanie Biller (shown on left), a 6-time German national champion and second overall in the 2008 FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit. Others will be formally announced later.
Unlike most of English Channel aspirants who simply want to make it across the Channel, these athletes are going to be racing, have raced each other for years and will start together from the same point. All of them are used to swimming in a pack and sprinting for the finish like they all do on the FINA Marathon Swimming World Cup and the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix circuit events. It will be interesting to see their strategies after the start.
Will they swim together in pack? If so, for how long? Will one of them break off and take a different course than the others? Will the women go with the men? Will the escort boat pilots cooperative and share information or strategies with one another - or will they be competitive with one another? If they break off early in the race, they will greatly depend on the experience of their escort boat pilots? How will the race be filmed and reported - by cameras on helicopters and GPS? It will be something to see.
As Shelley once said, "One thing that I love is that open water swimming is very dynamic. No two races are ever going to be the same. Every race, no matter where it is, because of changing conditions and different locations, will be a challenge- whether I’m swimming two kilometers or sixty kilometers."
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