"People think 10K racing is about ten kilometres. It's not," said Great Britain's Sean Kelly to Craig Lord in an interview last year. Sean is the coach of world champion Keri-Anne Payne and others, including Olympic 10K bronze medalist Cassandra Patten.
"It’s about the ability to swim fast for 10K, and quite a few can do that. But then sprint to the line in the last 400 metres [is important]."
Like Michael Phelps in the last few strokes of the 100-meter butterfly at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and at the 2009 World Swimming Championships, finishing fast is the name of the game in elite open water swimming.
In the photo above by Amy Bolger is a wonderful photo gallery from the 2009 NYC Pro Swim where you can see how close the finishes are. The elite marathon swimmers have to touch a finish pad elevated above the surface of the water with transponders in order to record an official finish.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association