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Grueling gold: Van Rouwendaal dominates field in marathon swimming

Sharon van Rouwendaal

Sharon van Rouwendaal, of the Netherlands, swims with fellow competitors as they make their way to the starting line off the shore of Copacabana beach for the women’s marathon swimming event at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/David Goldman)


Marathon swimming is a grueling race, and winning gold must feel extra sweet.

You could ask Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands about that now, as the 22-year-old nabbed gold in the women’s 10k swimming event in Rio, swimming a 1:56:31.2.

Van Rouwendaal, who swam indoor at the 2012 Games in London, beat her nearest competitor by almost 17 seconds.

Would-be French silver medalist Aurelie Muller was disqualified after the race, tipping Italian swimmer Rachele Bruni into silver and Brazil’s Poliano Okimoto into bronze. Judges ruled that Muller dunked Bruni during their reaching for silver.

Van Rouwendaal’s dominant run came at the expense of the 1-2 finishers in 2012, who finished less than a second apart in London. Hungary’s Eva Risztov dropped from first to 13th, while American swimmer Haley Anderson went from second to sixth.

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