You Won't Believe What Open-Water Olympic Swimmers Have to Endure ????

Marathon swimming. Ever heard of it?

It's one of five swimming events at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio that takes place in open water. ????

That's right, open water. Swimmers in this race swim 10km (which is 6.2 miles) in the deep blue sea. This year, the women's 10km marathon swimming event took place along Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.

We had the opportunity to follow 2012 silver medalist open water-swimmer Haley Anderson on her journey to Rio and see just what it takes to compete in this endurance sport.

Yesterday morning, Haley took home 5th place for team USA thanks to her dedication, persistence and hard work. Weekly 18-hour pool days, weight workouts and sheer focus are what got her where she is today.

You don't think swimming in the ocean is scary? Take a look at just four of the unpredictable variables that these open-water swimmers had to deal with at this year's event.


1. Sharks, Jellyfish, Sea Snakes, OH MY

Jaws ain't no joke. The swimmers are, after all, swimming in the ocean. Olympians are aware that they're always at risk of running into one of these dangerous creatures as they make their way through the water.


2. Water Hygiene

The water in Rio is contaminated with sewage and waste, which obviously poses a major threat to swimmers. The risk of infection is real considering they spend up to two hours in the water. Fortunately, Copacabana Beach, where the race was held, is relatively clean. ????


3. Hits From Other Swimmers

Marathon swimming can get pretty physical. Swimmers throwing an elbow or pulling on a fellow athlete's arm or leg is not uncommon. Seriously! At this year's event, French swimmer Aurelie Muller was disqualified after she dunked Italian swimmer Rachele Bruni at the finish line. Intense


4. Weather

On top of all these things, weather, swells and tides are all variables that play into how the swimmers perform. Nature does what it wants!

Training is going well ???????? #shred

A video posted by Haley Anderson (@swimhaley) on

Congrats to Haley! We know what you do is not easy.


Feeling inspired? Click HERE to watch our full nine-part series on four incredible female athletes' quest to take home gold at the Olympics.