There are an increasing number of open water races around the world that offer everything: interesting and challenging courses, live television coverage, exposure via archived online streaming, competitive elite fields, age-group and fitness swimmer heats, convenient hotel accommodations, 50-meter pools for pre-race training, comprehensive safety procedures and onshore entertainment.
The Great Swim Series in Great Britain, the Flowers Sea Swim in the Cayman Islands, the New Zealand Ocean Swim Series, the RCP Tiburon Mile in San Francisco, the Fiji Swims, the Midmar Mile and Ocean Racing Series in South Africa are world-class examples that set the standards for professionally run events.
But the bar continues to be raised for the good of the sport and its enthusiasts. One new addition to the highest echelon of open water swims is the first-time race, the King of the Sea Challenge (Rei Do Mar Desafio) on the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim course for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
A photo gallery of the King of the Sea Challenge below shows the scope of its planning and execution by race directors Pedro Rego Monteiro and Virgilio de Castilho.
A scenic location at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro. Even a strong downpour did not put a damper on the race or its festivities.
An easy-to-understand, highly visible, large race map.
A well-stocked VIP tent with a great view of the course.
A nutritious and plentiful buffet for the athletes for duration of their stay.
A separate and quiet ready room for the athletes and a pre-race and post-race massage.
Ubiquitous sponsor exposure throughout the venue.
Highly visible and impactful sponsor signage throughout the venue.
Numerous requests for pre- and post-race interviews by television reporters and media representatives.
Onshore and on-the-water cameras for live television coverage.
A pre-race press conference with explanation of the course, sport and athletes.
Athletes' anti-chaffing preparation with petroleum jelly applied via rubber gloves or tape.
Feeding and hydration needs set on individually numbered and separate tables.
Hydration and fueling needs for athletes.
A colorful and unique staggered start based on the results of a pre-race sprint.
A pre-race briefing and onshore start to specially scored music.
Athletes ran a short distance on beach in front of fans and TV cameras.
Extremely large (3-meter) turn buoys with sponsor's logos.
An onshore finish in front of boisterous fans.
Volunteers with different responsibilities and easy-to-identify colored t-shirts.
Post-race recovery area.
Uniquely designed awards.
Immediate cash prize distribution (via checks or US dollars).
Post-race spread for athletes and VIPs
Accreditation for various dignataries.
Escort to famous landmarks like the Cristo that towers above the city of Rio de Janeiro.
A souvenir gift bag with local presents for the swimmers.
The bar has been raised and the future will only get better.
Copyright © 2009 by World Open Water Swimming Association