Ous Mellouli Leads The Pack To The Olympics

SETUBAL BAY, Portugal. June 10. OUS Mellouli played his cards just right at the qualification race in Setubal Bay, Portugal. He stayed with the more experienced swimmers in the lead pack throughout the race, fed well, and then used his superior speed on the last lap to secure his place at the Olympic marathon swim.

Similar to his Trojan Swim Club teammate Haley Anderson who qualified for the Olympics yesterday, Mellouli proved too quick in the last lap as he won going way by 11.7 seconds.

With such a performance in the cooler waters of Portugal, Mellouli has suddenly emerged as a medal favorite at the Olympics. In the warmer waters of the Serpentine which have already hit 20?C (68?F) in London, combined with a faster pace and smaller field (of 25 men), Mellouli should be goggle-to-goggle with Thomas Lurz and Spyros Gianniotis, the co-gold medal favorites come August.

But Mellouli will have to make some strategic training and racing decisions in London with both pool (1500m) and open water (10K) plans.

In the six-loop course, savvy veterans Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria and Valerio Cleri of Italy were also always in or near the lead, not wanting to take any chances. They held their ground throughout the 10 km loop course, although emerging star Richard Weinberger of Canada passed them on the last loop for second. Weinberger also looks to be a medal contender in London, although the pace is expected to be much faster at the Olympics which will change the dynamics of the last lap.

Troyden Prinsloo upset fellow South African Chad Ho by placing fifth to qualify for the Olympic marathon swim. Prinsloo's strategy was clear: stay up with the leaders and hang on at the end. Meanwhile, Yasunari Hirai will join his female counterpart Yumi Kida in representing Japan at the Olympic marathon swim. Hirai was in and out of the lead pack, but he came on strong when it counted at the end. Ivan Enderica Ochoa also performed well and qualified for the Olympics as did two-time marathon Olympian Arseniy Lavrentyev of Portugal.

The unofficial results as reported by Omega Timing are as follows:

1. Oussama Mellouli (TUN) 1:45:18.5
2. Richard Weinberger (CAN) 1:45:30.2
3. Petar Stoychev (BUL) 1:45:34.1
4. Valerio Cleri (ITA) 1:45:36.8
5. Troyden Prinsloo (RSA) 1:45:40.8
6. Yasunari Hirai (JPN) 1:46:14.6< 7. Igor Chervynskiy (UKR) 1:46:15.4
8. Ivan Enderica Ochoa (ECU) 1:46:17.2
9. Arseniy Lavrentyev (POR) 1:46:20.9
10. Yuriy Kudinov (KAZ) 1:46:22.8
11. Erwin Maldonado (VEN) 1:46:29.2
12. Chad Ho (RSA) 1:46:29.4
13. Igor Snitko (UKR) 1:46:30.1
14. Csaba Gercsak (HUN) 1:46:30.7
15. Chris Bryan (IRL) 1:46:30.7
16. Michael Dmitriev (ISR) 1:46:31.6
17. Luis Ricardo Escobar Torres (MEX) 1:46:31.6
18. Sergiy Fesenko (AZE) 1:46:31.7
19. Allan Do Carmo (BRA) 1:46:38.0
20. Francois Xavier Desharnais (CAN) 1:46:38.4
21. Yuval Safra (ISR) 1:46:39.4
22. Johndry Segovia (VEN) 1:46:40.7
23. Lijun Zu (CHN)1:46:41.5
24. Santiago Enderica Salgado (ECU) 1:46:43.1
25. Matthias Schweinzer (AUT) 1:46:52.6
26. Gergely Gyurta (HUN) 1:46:53.9
27. Kane Radford (NZL) 1:47:02.7
28. Jan Po?mourn? (CZE) 1:47:04.9
29. Ventsislav Aydarski (BUL) 1:47:37.9
30. Luciano Sales Rubio (ARG) 1:47:41.5
31. Ferry Weertman (NED) 1:47:42.7
32. Marcel Schouten (NED) 1:47:45.3
33. Lucas Kanieski (BRA) 1:49:08.5
34. Rostislav V?tek (CZE) 1:49:36.6
35. Daniel Fogg (GBR) 1:49:38.2
36. Mazen Aziz (EGY) 1:49:38.2
37. Damian Blaum (ARG) 1:49:42.7
38. David Davies (GBR) 1:50:04.0
39. Jovan Mitrovic (SUI) 1:50:09.3
40. Vasco Gaspar (POR) 1:50:11.7
41. Stefan Sigrist (SUI) 1:50:12.4
42. Ahmed Gad (EGY) 1:52:14.8
43. Jonathan Pullon (NZL) 1:53:30.4
44. Saleh Mohammad (SYR) 1:53:56.9
45. Tin Yu Ling (HKG) 1:54:12.2
46. Evgenij Pop Acev (MKD) 1:54:13.2
47. Divase Mandar Anadarao (IND) 1:57:07.9
48. Iacovos Hadjiconstantinou (CYP) 1:57:48.8
49. Ahmed Gebrel (PLE) 1:58:10.8
50. Kurt Niehaus (CRC) 1:58:24.7
51. Yuanpeng Lang (CHN) 1:58:48.3
52. Benjamin Schulte (GUM) 2:00:56.4
53. Yeung Lee (HKG) 2:04:46.1
54. Gabriel Moldoveanu (ROU) 2:10.43.0
Ivan De Jesus Lopez Ramos (MEX) DNF
Nicola Bolzonello (ITA) DNF
Tomislav Soldo (CRO) DNF
Josip Culina (CRO) DNF
Mohammed El Mehdi Essadiq (MAR) DNS
Said Saber (MAR) DSQ
Yuto Kobayashi (JPN) DSQ

Courtesy of Open Water Source

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