PR8 - Stoychev and Heister victorious in first Grand Prix event
The winner of the first race of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix 2009 is the legendary Petar Stoychev (BUL) in 8:53:07:79. He earned this victory in Santa Fe-Coronda (ARG), where he and the other brave swimmers of this event traversed a river course of 57km. The 32-year-old Stoychev was in the leading group throughout the race, but after passing the front man Rodolfo Valenti (ITA, 4th in 8:53:20:31) in the fifth hour of swimming he remained in first for the extent of the race.
Taking second among men two minutes later was home hero Damian Blaum (ARG) in 8:53:09:03, while the bronze medal went to Rostislav Vitek (CZE) in 8:53:11:78. With a powerful swim that saw her finish just two minutes behind the men’s winners, Linsy Heister (NED, born 1988) prevailed in the women’s field with a time of 8:55:16:99. The silver medal went to the indomitable 30-year-old Britta Kamrau-Corestein (GER), almost equally as strong with a time of 8:55:35:68. Third place was reserved for Esther Nunez (ESP) in 9:09:31:83.
The last finisher of the race clocked a gruelling run-time of 10:37:38:36, while six others abandoned, withdrew from or decided not to attempt this epic feat. The annual race is also the 36th edition of the classic Santa Fe-Coronda Aquatic Marathon Swim on the rivers Coronda and Salado. Winners received a portion of in USD11,000 in prize money.