Fans of the sport know well gold medal favorites like Keri-Anne Payne, Martina Grimaldi, Thomas Lurz and Spyridon Gianniotis. But there are also several veterans whose training and commitment, mixed with luck and the right conditions on race day, will enable them to realize their dreams of standing tall on the Olympic podium.
Those dreams will come true for at least one dark horse on August 9th (women) and August 10th (men) in Hyde Park during the 2012 London Olympics.
There is no truer maxim in open water swimming than "expect the unexpected".
There will be surprises at the Olympic 10km Marathon Swim where hopefuls and dark horses will rise to the occasion and have the swim of their lives.
Marianna Lymperta, Greece's top open water swimmer, may be one of those athletes. Lymperta became the first Greek woman to earn a medal in the World Swimming Championships after finishing third in the 10K in Shanghai at the 2011 World Swimming Championships.
Finishing only three seconds behind gold medalist Keri-Anne Payne, Marianna proved she has the DNA and the tenacity of an Olympic medalist. She embraces the difficulty of the 10K event. "The conditions were difficult indeed. The water was warm [and] I was behind at the start, but I later saw that I had the strength and stayed close to the leading group and eventually got a medal."
The 32-year-old, a four-time Olympian, is now ever so close to finally hearing the national anthem as she stands on the Olympic podium. After turning to the open water before the 2008 Beijing Olympics where she got 11th in the 10K, Marianna has been getting older…and better, gradually raising her profile and her placing at international competitions.
With an ever-present smile on her face, one of the oldest women in the elite open water swimming world, is tenacious in practice and in the open water. Stay tuned to how her story ends up.
Courtesy of Open Water Source