SETUBAL BAY, Portugal. June 1. A swim-off is the ultimate head-to-head battle in swimming.
A swim-off is a pressure-packed race between two athletes in order to break a tie conducted in a preliminary heat in pool competitions. The winner earns the right to compete in the finals.
In an unusual and exciting situation in Portugal's Setubal Bay next week, the 2012 FINA Olympic 10km Marathon Swimming Qualifier will essentially be a swim-off swim-off between the two representatives from each country.
The award? A spot in the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim finals in London.
So while a typical swim-off is a short-distance race (50m or 100m) in a pool with the carrot of being able to swim in a pool finals, this open water swimming swim-off in Setubal Bay is a number of 10,000-meter mano-a-mano contests held simultaneously between athletes (and teammates) from numerous countries. Fifteen hard-working athletes will earn the right to represent themselves and their country in the Olympic finals in front of tens of thousands of fans in the Serpentine in London – the rest will go home. Such is the competitive and cruel world of sports.
So while they are swimming against their fellow teammate, they are also competing against the world and must also finish in the top 15 to go to the Olympics.
The stakes, the pressure and the pay-off could not be higher.
The following 41 women are entered and ready to enter this battle: no lanes, no lines, no walls…no mercy.
Inha Kotsur (AZE)
Nadine Williams vs. Zsofia Balazs (CAN)
Xue Li vs. Yanqiao Fang (CHN)
Karla Sitic (CRO)
Alexandra Philippa Panayides vs. Irene Kyza (CYP)
Nataly Caldas Calle (ECU)
Laila El-Bassiouni (EGY)
Ophelie Aspord vs. Corali Codvelle (FRA)
Wing Yung Natasha Terri Tang vs. Fiona On-Yi Chan (HKG)
Anna Olasz vs. Eva Risztov (HUN)
Yumi Kida (JPN)
Rania El Abdi vs. Omaima Moufid (MAR)
Heidi Gan (MAS)
Lizeth Rueda Santos vs. Alejandra Gonzalez Lara (MEX)
Maaike Waaijer vs. Linsy Heister (NED)
Charlotte Webby vs. Cara Baker (NZL)
Natalia Charlos (POL)
Daniela Pinto vs. Ang?lica Andr? (POR)
Jessica Roux vs. Natalie du Toit (RSA)
Anna Guseva vs. Ekaterina Seliverstova (RUS)
Zupan Teja (SLO)
Ellen Olsson (SWE)
Olga Beresnyeva vs. Al'Ona Berbasova (UKR)
Haley Anderson vs. Ashley Twichell (USA)
Yanel Pinto vs. Carla D?az (VEN)
Courtesy of Open Water Source