Marcelo La Gattina, FINA Press Correspondent in Argentina
The Patagones-Viedma race, the first of the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2016, had the American Alex Meyer and the Italian Rachele Bruni winning in a tight ending in both competitions.
In a very close finish, Meyer managed to beat the Italian Simone Ruffini.
“It has been a perfect weekend for me. On Friday I was able to win the sprint and today, the first leg of the 10km World Cup. Undoubtedly, it is a great motivation for the beginning of the season” said the winner.
On the other hand, Ruffini, last year’s edition winner, was this time silver medallist. However, he felt satisfied because of his performance and the audience cheering.
“The people make La Patagones-Viedma be one of the favourites for the swimmers. There is no other leg in the circuit, where we can win with such a big audience on both banks of the river”, he said.
Vanelli, who took bronze, considered this competition as a training experience for the Olympic Games, in which he has already classified.
“I am in the right way in my training and I hope to be able to go on improving, having the Olympic Games as my aim for the year”.
After some cold and rainy days, the sun shone in the area and everybody could enjoy the ideal day for the inaugural meet of the prestigious open water circuit.
In the last lap, the participants started to attack and the group of about 15 swimmers extended - the Italians and Americans interchanged positions struggling for the leadership of the race.
Approaching the last buoy Vanelli, Ruffini and Meyer were battling it out arm to arm.
Right in the final 50 metres Meyer managed to get the advantage over last year’s winner and become the winner.
In the women’s field, the Italian Rachelle Bruni closed a perfect weekend at La Patagones-Viedma. On Friday she was the sprint winner and today she did the same with the important FINA/HOSA competition.
In the sprint she surpassed the Brazilian Poliana Okimoto who arrived in the second place while the Ecuadorian Samanta Arebalo arrived immediately after them.
Bruni said: “It has been a good starting point for the season! ”
Okimoto added: “I didn´t do enough at the sprint. Without any doubt I must work on that. However, as it is the first challenge of the year I am leaving satisfied”
For the Ecuadorian, this has been her second medal in a World cup, arriving in the second position in China. “This has been the competition which introduced me to the discipline of open water and getting a medal is gratifying” she said.
The fight for the victory was between Bruni and Okimoto, but in the end, the Italian triumphed.
The sport and cultural event which links the Provinces of Buenos Aires and Río Negro, between the cities of Carmen de Patagones and Viedma, saw swimmers from 17 countries attending the meet.
Men 2009 Michael Dimitriev (ISR) 2010 Francis Crippen (USA) 2011 Bertrand Venturi (FRA) 2012 Spiros Gianniotis (GRE) 2013 Romain Beraud (FRA) 2014 Thomas Allen (GBR) 2015 Simone Ruffini (ITA) 2016 Alex Meyer (USA)