Swimming at the 2008 Summer Olympics – Women's marathon 10 kilometre

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Women's 10 km open water marathon
at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
Venue Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park
Date August 20, 2008
Competitors 25 from 23 nations
Winning time 1:59:27.7
Gold medal    Russia
Silver medal    Great Britain
Bronze medal    Great Britain
Swimming events at the
2008 Summer Olympics
Sample picture of the event (unofficial)
50 m   men   women
100 m men women
200 m men women
400 m men women
800 m women
1500 m men
100 m men women
200 m men women
100 m men women
200 m men women
100 m men women
200 m men women
Individual medley
200 m men women
400 m men women
Freestyle relay
4×100 m men women
4×200 m men women
Medley relay
4×100 m men women
10 km men women

The women's marathon 10 kilometre event at the 2008 Olympic Games took place on 20 August at the Shunyi Olympic Rowing-Canoeing Park in Beijing, China.[1]

Russia's Larisa Ilchenko sprinted to a top finish in the final stages of the inaugural women's open water race at these Games. With only 150 metres left, she put in a late charge to overhaul the British duo Keri-Anne Payne and Cassandra Patten on the right side of the pack, and slapped the yellow pads to capture the gold in a sterling time of 1:59:27.7.[2][3] Payne trailed behind her Russian rival by exactly half a second (0.50), but powered home with a silver in 1:59:29.2, while Patten snatched the bronze in 1:59:31.0 to hold off a grueling battle from Germany's Angela Maurer (1:59:31.9) by almost a full second.[4][5][6]

Netherlands' two-time world champion Edith van Dijk earned a fourteenth spot in 2:00:02.8, while South Africa's Natalie du Toit, the first ever amputee in history to compete at the Olympics, enjoyed the race of her life as she finished with a highly respectable, sixteenth-place effort in 2:00:49.9. A member of the nation's swim team, she lost her leg below the knee from a motor scooter accident in 2001.[6][7][8]


The women's 10 km races at the 2008 Olympics featured a field of twenty-five swimmers:

  • 10: the top-10 finishers in the 10 km races at the 2008 FINA World Championships in Seville, Spain.[9]
  • 9: the top-9 finishers at the Good Luck Beijing Olympic 10K Marathon Test Event (31 May–1 June 2008 in Beijing, China).[10]
  • 5: one representative from each FINA continent (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania). (These were selected based on the finishes at the World Championships.)[9]
  • 1: from the host nation (China) if not qualified by other means.

Competition format[edit]

Unlike all of the other swimming events in the pool, the men's and women's marathon 10 kilometre races were held in open water. No preliminary heats were held, with only the single mass-start race being contested. This race is held using freestyle swimming, with a lack of stroke regulations. For most of the event swimmers use the front crawl, but modifications are used situationally, especially when swimmers reach feeding stations.[11]

Open water swimming events require different tactics and showcase several different racing strategies that are more common to competitive cycling, marathon running and water polo than traditional pool swimming. It is one of the few Olympic sports where the athlete's coaches play a critical role during the actual event. The coaches have four opportunities to provide drinks to their athletes as the athletes swim by floating pontoons in the course. If the coach falls in the water, his or her athlete is immediately disqualified.


Rank Athlete Nation Time Time
1 Larisa Ilchenko Russia 1:59:27.7
2 Keri-Anne Payne Great Britain 1:59:29.2 00:01.5
3 Cassandra Patten Great Britain 1:59:31.0 00:03.3
4 Angela Maurer Germany 1:59:31.9 00:04.2
5 Ana Marcela Cunha Brazil 1:59:36.8 00:09.1
6 Swann Oberson Switzerland 1:59:36.9 00:09.2
7 Poliana Okimoto Brazil 1:59:37.4 00:09.7
8 Jana Pechanová Czech Republic 1:59:39.7 00:12.0
9 Andreína Pinto Venezuela 1:59:40.0 00:12.3
10 Martina Grimaldi Italy 1:59:40.7 00:13.0
11 Marianna Lymperta Greece 1:59:42.3 00:14.6
12 Teja Zupan Slovenia 1:59:43.7 00:16.0
13 Yurema Requena Spain 1:59:46.9 00:19.2
14 Edith van Dijk Netherlands 2:00:02.8 00:35.1
15 Melissa Gorman Australia 2:00:33.6 01:05.9
16 Natalie du Toit South Africa 2:00:49.9 01:22.2
17 Daniela Inácio Portugal 2:00:59.0 01:31.3
18 Eva Berglund Sweden 2:01:05.0 01:37.3
19 Fang Yanqiao China 2:01:07.9 01:40.2
20 Imelda Martínez Mexico 2:01:07.9 01:40.2
21 Aurelie Muller France 2:02:04.1 02:36.4
22 Chloe Sutton United States 2:02:13.6 02:45.9
23 Nataliya Samorodina Ukraine 2:10:41.6 11:13.9
24 Antonella Bogarin Argentina 2:11:35.9 12:08.2
Kristel Köbrich Chile DNF


  1. ^ "Olympic Swimming Schedule". USA Today. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 14 May 2013. 
  2. ^ "Russia's Larisa Ilchenko wins 10-km swimming". Team USA. 20 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Dodd, Mike (20 August 2008). "Russian wins, du Toit takes 16th in open water". USA Today. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  4. ^ White, Jim (20 August 2008). "Keri-Anne Payne and Cassie Patten a mind-boggling success story". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  5. ^ "British duo take 10km swim medals". BBC Sport. 20 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Olympics, Open Water: Larisa Ilchenko Uses Final Surge to Claim Inaugural Women's 10K Gold". Swimming World Magazine. 19 August 2008. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  7. ^ Longman, Jere (18 August 2008). "South Africa’s du Toit Fulfills a Dream Derailed". New York Times. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  8. ^ "Favorite Ilchenko takes women's 10k". Beijing 2008 (NBC Olympics). 18 August 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  9. ^ a b Munatones, Steve (3 May 2008). "FINA World Open Water Championships: Dreams Come True". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Munatones, Steve (31 May 2008). "Open Water Test Event: Chloe Sutton Wins 10K, Qualifies for Olympics". Swimming World Magazine. Retrieved 4 July 2013. 
  11. ^ "Inside the Sport: Competition format". Beijing 2008. NBC Olympics. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 

External links[edit]