- Written by Dan Graham
Obviously, the big event for the UK in 2012 was the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. The big event for us open water swimmers was indeed the 10km swim in Hyde Park. These guys are the best open water swimmers in the world... but with the exception of Kerie-Anne Payne (who seems to be everywhere!) - do we (the general public) know much about the others?
We thought we'd start an ad-hoc series looking at open water swimmers from around the globe.
First up, the USA.
Anyone that followed the Olympics this past summer followed the exploits of Ryan Lochte, Michael Phleps, and others. Lochte stepped out of the shadow of Michael Phelps by taking five medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics, including gold in the 400-metre individual medley where he defeated Phelps. However, one lesser known member of the US Olympic swim team is Alex Meyer. Meyer is a lifelong open water swimmer and the US representative in last summer's Open Water Marathon.
Meyer is originally from Rochester, Minnesota and started swimming when he was a baby. His love for swimming would turn into an obsession as he took to competitive swimming at the age of seven and continued through high school where he was a four-time All-American and two-time academic All-American.
Meyer would go on to Harvard University where he continued swimming and was All-Ivy League twice. He also qualified for and competed in the 2008 Olympic trials, but did not make the team. That experience obviously helped to drive him as after not qualifying for the 2008 Olympics, Meyer would go on to several major accomplishments in the sport.
At the 2009 U.S. Open Water National Championship, Meyer would miss out on a medal when he finished 4th in the 10km event. A year later, he would break through for his first major medal after taking the gold in the 25km event at the Open Water World Championships. A year later, he would come back to the US Open WNC and win the 10km gold. He also finished 4th in the 10km that year at the Open Water World Championships.
Meyer would try again to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Team and this time he would succeed, becoming the only open water swimmer to make the Olympic team. His only event in the Olympics was the 10km Marathon event held in Serpentine Lake at Hyde Park. A total of 25 swimmers from 23 nations competed in the event.
He would go on to perform admirably in the event but fell short of winning Olympic gold. His time of 1:50:48.2 would be good enough for 10th place. Oussama Melloulio of Tunisia would win the event by swimming the 10km 53.1 seconds faster.
While his Olympic run may not have produced a medal, it is certainly still a career highlight for a man with a long history in open water swimming. At just 24 and with a few more years under his belt, there is no reason to doubt that Alex Meyer will be competing for a medal in the 2016 Games.