Larisa Ilchenko

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Larisa Ilchenko
Larisa Ilchenko.jpg
Personal information
Born 18 November 1988 (1988-11-18) (age 26)
Volgograd, Russia

Larisa Dmitriyevna Ilchenko (Russian: Лариса Дмитриевна Ильченко; born 18 November 1988 in Volgograd) is a Russian long distance swimmer. She has won eight World Championships and gold at the 2008 Olympics aged 19.

Ilchenko has dominated long distance swimming since her first World Championships in Dubai, 2004 where, aged just 16 won by over 30 seconds . The following year in Montreal, she had a much tougher time as the veterans pushed her under and held her up, but still won with a final sprint.[1] This has been the pattern of all her subsequent victories, battling her way through the pack before sprinting clear at the end.[2] She doubled up in Napoli 2006 to become both the 5 km and 10 km open water world champion. She has won both 5 km and 10 km events at all subsequent World Championships. The American magazine Swimming World named her open water swimmer of the year in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

She won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the swimming 10 km, using her trademark closing kick after being behind the leaders for 9,900 meters of the 10,000-meter swim.[3] For this and other achievements, she was awarded the Order of Friendship in 2009.[4]

After sustaining an injury in 2009 and hypothermia at the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships, she de facto retired. In August 2012 she married a Russian swimmer Sergey Perunin.[5] In September 2012 she was inducted to the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame.[6]

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Awards
Preceded by
Netherlands Edith van Dijk
Swimming World Open Water Swimmer of the Year
2006–2008
Succeeded by
United Kingdom Keri-Anne Payne