Biagioli (ARG) and Lurz (GER) win in Santos
93 swimmers (50 men and 43 women) from 21 countries disputed the event: Albany, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Germany, Greece, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Big names in Santos included the Germans Thomas Lurz (overall winner of the 2009 World Cup) and Angela Maurer (overall winner in 2007 and 2008 and silver-medallist in 2009 and 2010), Bulgarian great Petar Stoychev (reigning Grand Prix champion), the Greek Spyridon Gianniotis (silver-medallist in the 5km in Rome, 2009) and the natives Poliana Okimoto (overall winner of the 2009 Series) and Ana Marcela Cunha (reigning World Cup champion).
Poliana Okimoto (BRA), Cecilia Biagioli (ARG) and Andreina Pinto (VEN) - credit: Ricardo Brandão
For the South American swimmers, the FINA 10km Marathon race was a qualifying event for the Pan-American Games, to take place in Guadalajara (MEX) this fall. The seven first swimmers in both categories obtain the classification for the continental competition.
Before the race, the President of Confederação Brasileira de Desportos Aquáticos Coaracy Nunes Filho and others from local authorities participated an the opening ceremony.
In the women's field, the South American swimmers dominated the race, with the Argentinean Cecilia Biagioli comfortably winning the event.
After the race, she said: “In the end, the sea currents were a little hard but I am always happy to win here because I like competing in Brazil, an amazing country.”
Home favourite Poliana Okimoto finished second while Venezuela's Andreina Pinto took third.
In the men´s race, the German Thomas Lurz registers his first win in Santos.
“It’s a difficult race, but I'm very happy to win in my debut in Santos”, said the German icon. He surpassed the rest of athletes in the last lap and cruised to victory.
Greece's Spyridon Gianniotis finished in second position and Spain's Francisco Jose Huervas claimed third spot.
The next stage of the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2011 is Cancun, in Mexico, on April 30.
The Athletes' area - credit: Andrea Prayer