After an almost two-hour long swim, Anna Olasz ended up mere seconds from a podium finish at the Tokyo Olympics. Competing in the women’s 10-kilometer marathon swim on Wednesday, the 27-year-old athlete from Szeged actually performed above her expectations, finishing in fourth, well ahead of her estimated eighth and well ahead of her last Olympic finish in 2016.
It is not all hard feelings for Anna Olasz after her excellent performance in the water of the Odaiba Marine Park, where she was able to secure a personal record that even she was not expecting. Her last Olympic run in Brazil had led to a finish in 14th, but now, swimming the same incredible distance of 10 kilometers, she finished only one spot away from the podium.
A Heated 10km-Long Battle
The weather in Tokyo was very humid on the day of the race, and the water was especially warm at 29 degrees Celsius. Of the 25 competitors, it was the German Leonie Beck who took the lead after the first kilometer, at which point Olasz was following in 15th. She had made it to sixth once Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha took the lead 500 meters later.
Olasz then ended up falling behind slightly to eighth, 9.9 seconds behind Cunha. Perhaps through the skillful conservation of her energy or a burst of determination, however, the Hungarian athlete made it up to fourth by the 5-kilometer mark, reducing her time difference to only 4.9 seconds.
Anna Olasz (front) in the 10 kilometer swimming marathon at the Odaiba Marine Park. (Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI)
This situation replayed itself, with different swimmers taking the lead in an intense back-and-forth. By the 500-meter mark Olasz was tailing the leading pack in fifth place, ultimately finishing in fourth behind the Netherlands’ Sharon van Rouwendaal in second, Australia’s Kareena Lee in third, and Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha in first.
“It was very warm, so it was difficult to pass or change rhythms. It was already difficult to keep the tempo, and we felt the struggle against one-another to be more intense too,” she explained to state newswire MTI. Olasz had initially expected an eighth-place finish, but she had seen that the four contenders in front of her were tired, whom she was then able to pass.
It was a difficult swim from the perspective that it hurt all the way throughout, but we typically leave the water after making the 10 kilometers feeling that this was our most difficult race.”
Olasz Anna (center) after completing the marathon (Photo: Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI)
In the featured photo, Anna Olasz after the women’s 10 kilometer marathon swim at the Odaiba Marine Park. Featured photo by Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI