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Covering the the elite swimmers in Shanghai

At the 2011 FINA World Championships, one of the most enduring benefits is watching how much effort, energy and passion the world’s fastest swimmers output during a race.  World Open Water Swimming Association is covering these athletes live from Shanghai this week.The athletes, ages 17 – 35, are flat-out gutsy. Open water swimming is their life; it is their lifestyle and for many, it is their profession.

At yesterday’s Olympic 10K Marathon Swim qualification race, the 56 women entertained and inspired the crowd with their collective pedal-to-the-medal efforts in the 29.2°C water. Their post-race facial features and expressions clearly demonstrated their efforts and passion for the sport. Ten women from ten different countries garnered their passage to the 2012 London Olympics 10K Marathon Swim: Keri-Anne Payne (GBR), Martina Grimaldi (ITA), Marianna Lymperta (GRE), Melissa Gorman (AUS), Cecilia Biagioli (ARG), Poliana Okimoto (BRA), Jana Pechanova (CZE), Angela Maurer (GER), Swann Oberson (SUI) and Erika Villaecija Garcia (ESP).

7 Europeans, 1 Australian and 2 South Americans proved themselves the crème de la crème in yesterday’s hard-fought 10K battle. Who will be their male counterparts?

Today, 68 men will similarly strive for their Olympic dreams. Open Water Source will tweet, Facebook, blog and report on this 10K race that will showcase world champions Thomas Lurz of Germany, Alex Meyer of the USA, Valerio Cleri of Italy, Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia and Yuriy Kudinov of Kazakhstan as well as FINA World Cup champion Chad Ho of South Africa and FINA Grand Prix champion Petar Stoychev of Bulgaria. Never have so many world champions come together in a clash of marathon swimming titans. Yet, it is inevitable that dark horses will capture at least some of the ten automatic Olympic berths.

Pre-race twitter commentary has already started with prime online coverage beginning at 9 am Shanghai time (9 pm New York time) today.

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