Shocking News! Olympic Champion Larisa Ilchenko Retires

The original article is posted (with picture) on partnersite The Daily News of Open Water Swimming since Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Queen of the open water swimming has announced her retirement. Larisa Ilchenko, winner of 8 world championships in the 5K and 10K and the 2008 Beijing Olympics 10K Marathon Swim, has moved on after an illustrious career.

Identified as a world-class swimmer with greater potential in the open water than the pool at the age of 14, she made a splash at her first World Open Water Swimming Championships in Dubai in 2004.

From the very beginning, she regularly won her races with a classic come-from-behind victory sprint over the last 100 meters. In 2005, she continued her victorious ways with a dramatic finish at the World Swimming Championships in Montreal. In 2006 in Napoli, Italy, she doubled up with victories in the 5K and 10K, again winning with trademark closing sprint.

By 2007 and 2008, the juggernaut was firmly established and she confidently swaggered her way onshore while dominating the last part of every race she swam. Her career culminated at the 2008 Beijing Olympics 10K Marathon Swim when she won the first gold in open water swimming in very dramatic fashion.

But she is now moving on...and the open water swimming world will miss her. She joins fellow Olympic 10K Marathon Swim gold medalist Maarten van der Weijden in retirement.