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“Unsportsmanlike behaviour” costs open water swimmer a medal in the 10k swim at Rio

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Triathletes can learn a lesson from this morning’s open water marathon swim at the Rio Olympic Games.

While the Netherlands’ Sharon van Rouwendaal crushed the tumultuous, 10K swim in Fort Copacabana waters in under two hours (1:56:49), the big story surrounding the event came from the other podium finishers. French swimmer Aurelie Muller hit the finishing mat first in a brutally close race for second between her and third-place finisher, Italy’s Rachele Bruni. However, she was later stripped of her silver medal and disqualified from the race for “unsportsmanlike behaviour.” Officials say Muller, the 2015 world champion, “impeded” Bruni near the finish, physically preventing her from touching the mat before her.

In the video below, Mueller (in the white swim cap) can be seen reaching over Bruni, who gets forced under water slightly before touching the mat just milliseconds after Mueller.

While it’s rare to see triathletes impeding each other out of the water into T1, triathlon’s open water swim leg is known to be the roughest part of the race and most of us are all too familiar with getting pushed around in the water, especially around buoys.

Here are some tips to master the swim leg of your next triathlon, even with rough waves and aggressive competitors swimming around you.