The venue for the event was located at Sun Moon Lake in the foothills of the Central Mountain Range, the country’s largest lake (swimming is only allowed in the lake with special permission during organised events) with its turquoise waters surrounded by mountains covered in thick green forest.
This inaugural event hosted by the Chinese Taipei Swimming Association was the eighth out of nine events in the World Series with some top overall ranking places still up for grabs in the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series.
Before the event in Nantou, the Men’s ranking is led by Hungary’s Kristof Rasovsky but he has opted to miss this event, but the rest of the places are still to fight for.
In the Women’s overall rankings Italy’s Bruni was leading in front with Cunha from Brazil having won the most races of the season, but missing out on both the Canadian races which were held shortly after the FINA World Championships.
The course: 2km (5 laps = 10km)
Water conditions: Fresh water
Water Temp: 25 degrees C. (no wetsuit)
Start numbers: 21 men & 22 Women (11 countries represented)
As the morning rain lifted and the mist cleared the men dived into the 26.6 degree C waters of Sun Moon Lake, followed ten minutes later by the women. There was a stark contrast between the tactics of the men’s & women’s 10km races today. In fact, after two laps the women have gained two minutes on the men, as Bridi from Italy pushed hard in the women’s race causing the pack to drop down to only five swimmers within minutes of the start. The men on the other hand, went out at a steady pace and slowly built up, keeping a twelve strong pack for almost the whole race.
In the men’s race it was Sloman (AUS) who took on the early pace making duties with some of the main contenders happy to sit back in the pack. This remained the same until lap 3 when Schouten (NED) moved from the very back of the pack up to the front to help pick up the pace. Onto lap four it was Cho (TPE) who was probably surprised to find himself at the front of the pack, which provided lots of excitement for the local supporters.
But on the last lap it was Sloman (AUS) who was back at the front, although he seemed to lose his speed at one point, he was unstoppable on the home straight and seemingly cruised into the first place clear of the pack. Australia also managed second place with Cotter, his first time on the podium at a FINA Marathon Swim World Series event and into third, for the second time, was Matteo Furlan of Italy.
The Women’s race as for mentioned was fast and furious for the first two laps, with Bridi (ITA) going to the front and destroying the pack in the opening three hundred meters.
There were only five swimmers who could keep the pace and stay in the pack. In lap three they settled down a little with Lee of Australia working at the front of the pack, until the final lap when Cunha (BRA) who was looking relaxed on the feet of Lee made her move and never looked back. She was clear at the finish, with Bridi gaining a place from the last FINA World Series in North Macedonia into second and Bruni (ITA) just out touched Lee (AUS) in a very close finish for third.
This event proved to be a welcome addition to the FINA CNSG Marathon Swim World Series, with excellent organisation set within a beautiful location.
1st Nick Sloman AUS 1:56:31.2
“This race was a little bit of redemption really, I didn’t have a good race in the FINA World Championships, so I just wanted to come here and give it a really good go and luckily I got the win."
2nd Hayden Cotter AUS 1:56:36.8
“It was a great race, it was a slow first few laps, but I had a good finish, it’s only my forth Fina World Series event, so it was good to come out and give it a good go.”
3rd Matteo Furlan ITA 1:56:38.4
“I’m really happy because from the last buoy I tried to take Sloman, but at the last 500m I was very tired, but in the last 50 meters I managed to increase my pace and get into third position.”
1st Ana Marcela Cunha BRA 2:02:37.6
“The last FINA World Series race in Macedonia I won, but I wasn’t happy because it was a slow race, but today it felt like it was a better race. At the start the girls went off very strong and it felt like the same sort of pace as in the FINA World Championships. “
2nd Arianna Bridi ITA 2:02:40
“I tried to do a different race by starting very fast for the first two laps and then go in the pack for two laps to rest. I tried to do my best, but at the finish, Ana Marcela had better tactics.”
3rd Rachele Bruni ITA 2:02:20.2
“I’m very happy for the finish position, as it was very close. The race was very beautiful and I was pleased with third place.”