Marcelo La Gattina, FINA Press correspondent in Argentina

Everything is ready at the Comarca Carmen de Patagones and Viedma, in Argentina, to welcome for the 11th time the best world swimmers who will take part in the first leg of the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup circuit, on February 4.

“The consistence of this competition is a guarantee that in the future we will have a good number of local swimmers taking part in this big event”, the Vice Governor of the Province of Rio Negro, Pedro Pesatti said during the opening Press Conference of the event.

The city Mayor, Jose Luis Foulker, pointed out that “all the people involved in this event give greater value to the resource the river provides, thus, it becomes really important to us.”

World-class swimmers will be present in this competition, such as the Rio 2016 silver medallist, Rachele Bruni from Italy, the Brazilian Poliana Okimoto, bronze Olympic medallist at home and winner of this competition in 2014.

“I like competing here because the current makes it a different race from the ones in the World Circuit. To overcome the difficulties nature provides gives me a big satisfaction and motivates me a lot, “ 26 year-old Bruni said.

The 2016 edition of this event attracted more than 1,500 sportspeople in different disciplines, 100,000 spectators and more than a hundred volunteers.

Sprint race

The Patagones Viedma sport festival started with a promotional 1,6km race.

The female winner was the Italian Rachelle Bruni, while in the men’s category the triumph went to Brazil’s Fernando Pontei.

Among women, the podium was completed by Samanta Salinas (ECU) and Arianna Bridi (ITA) in a closed finish, and among men, David Obree (FRA) was second and Joaquín Moreno (ARG) was third.

The cultural and sports festival which connects the Provinces of Buenos Aires and Rio Negro between the towns of Carmen de Patagones and Viedma will also witness the traditional 4km Open Water Bridge to Bridge, the River Crossing, an Iron Kids triathlon for the youngest, fireworks display, and an artistic show to close the festival.