FINA Communication Department

The second race of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix 2008 took place on February 9, 2008 at the River Parana in Rosario, Argentina. Eighteen men and fifteen women from eleven countries participated. It was a 15km race, which was swum in 6 laps of approximately 2.5km each. Weather conditions for the race were good, according to Valerijus Belovas (LTU) FINA’s on-site Technical Open Water Swimming Committee delegate, with a water temperature on 25° Celcius and air temperature of 29° Celcius. There was local newspaper and television media coverage of the event, and about 1,000 spectators were in attendance.

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FINA Marathon Swimming 2008 in Rosario (ARG)

The race commenced, for both men and women, at 16:00hours. Early in the race a group of swimmers emerged, which was composed of 11 men, with Rudolfo Valenti of Italy taking the lead, and three women: Esther Nunez (ESP), Pilar Geijo (ARG), and Natalia Pankina (RUS), who was winner of Race 1 on February 3 in Santa Fe (ARG). However, after the second lap there were only two women in the group, as Geijo had fallen behind. The group that remained held strong, switching leaders, and at the three-lap mark, Petar Stoychev (BUL) was in front. He was passed at the four-lap mark by Gabriel Villagoiz (ARG), but then regained the lead when they reached 12km (5 laps). With a hard fight, Stoychev retained his position and won the race. In the women’s field, after five laps just one woman - Pankina – was in the group of men at the helm of the race, and as part of that group she finished first among women.

Race Director was Cristian Fredes and the referee was Alberto Martuez. The race organisers were the Confederacion Argentina de Deportes Acuaticos and the Maraton Acuatico International “Ciudad de Rosario” Organising Committee. An awards ceremony was held on the shore of the river following the race.