Greg Eggert, FINA Media Committee Honorary Secretary

The race was marred by rainy conditions and it was surely the most challenging FINA open water swimming event since the 2007 Melbourne World Championships. As athletes’ safety was paramount, the concern was the visibility on the course as the main consideration was keeping eyes on the athletes during the five-hour race. The safety kayaks were having some difficulty staying close to the athletes, and the constant rain made this especially challenging.

The Brazilian world champion won the 5km event earlier in the week, her first gold medal in that distance. She is the reigning world champion in the 25km having also won the event three times previously in 2011 Shanghai, 2015 Kazan and 2017 Budapest. She owns a total of 11 FINA World Championship medals, plus a bronze in the 5km at the 2010 FINA Open Water World Championships in Roberval, Canada.

Photo by gettyimages

Twenty-five-year old Reymond won his second title in the 25km, repeating his performance at the top of the medals podium in 2017 Budapest. Lara Grangeon, the silver medallist in today's women's 25km swam in the 5km, 10km, the Mixed Relay event during the week of open water events in Yeosu, Korea. Reymond and Grangeon were two of the five French swimmers on the podium this week. Reymond was the only gold medallist. The French team won the Championships’ Trophy, scoring 121 points, a 19-point margin over second place Italy. The French tally was one gold, three silver and one bronze medal in Yeosu.

QUOTES

Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA), gold, women’s 25km: 

“I feel happy to have won this race and to have earned my second gold medal in these championships, but honestly I came to win three medals in Korea and the colours of the medals didn't matter. I did three at the last world championships in 2017, winning the gold in the 25km and a bronze in the 5km and the 10km events. It's a pleasure to represent the Brazilian Navy since this started in 2016 before the Olympic Games in my country. They are very supportive of me in all of my travels around the world.”  

“At the start of the race I wondered whether the event would last the entire 25km due to the rainy weather conditions and the problem with visibility. I had my doubts and then considered that maybe we would only swim past three hours and then the race would be called off. After three hours the race would be considered official, so I wanted to be sure if that happened, I was leading at the time. After 8 laps I was ready to finish and to medal and I had no thoughts about the race being suspended. I was feeling really confident."

"It was my strategy to go out easy but Lara (Grangeon) was pushing the pace a little faster than I expected. I didn't mind dropping back a few times to let the others lead and do the work while I conserved my energy. I swam breaststroke only for a little and to see where the others were. Once I swam past the last orange buoy I started sprinting.”

Finnia Wunram (GER), silver, women’s 25km: 

“I am really really happy. My goal was to get a medal and a silver is great. The conditions were really hard but I think we did our best. I trained a lot this year and I was confident this would be a really good world championships for me.” 

Lara Grangeon (FRA), bronze, women’s 25km:  

I came here to qualify for the Olympic Games, it was a done deal, and when you see everyone, Logan, Aurélie, Marco, making medals, it makes you want to do it. We have a great staff that makes you want to fight for everyone and that’s what I did today. It was my strategy to swim very fast in the first lap. I swam the 5km, the 10km, the relay and the 25km here, and also at the Europeans in Glasgow. Swimming those events in Glasgow gave me the confidence that I could swim all four of the events, and find my way to the podium. In 2017, I finished in 17th place at Lake Balaton, and today I wanted to race faster and to medal. It was a difficult race today with the weather conditions but it's open water and we love it. Our French team won he Championships Trophy and I am so pleased for everyone who swam so well, and for our coaches and the staff that supported us. It will be great motivation for all of us in the future.”

The arrival of the men's race - Photo by gettyimages

Axel Reymond (FRA), gold, men’s 25km:  

“I am very happy as it's the second time I am the World champion. It's hard to describe exactly how I feel. It was a hard race and a hard competition but we love it. In the early part of the race, Marco (Marc-Antoine Oliver, France) was with me and we tried several times to get ahead of the group. It didn't work and we both had trouble staying on a fixed trajectory.” 

“During the race, I tried to stay in the group and then made a move to get into the first position and see how the group responded to my first acceleration. I would swim into first and then I would ease off on the pace and drop back into the group so that I wasn't doing all of the work. It was my strategy towards the end of the race to swim to the left and I was not even sure it would work, but I thought it was the best plan.” 

“So when I zigzagged those behind me, they were following and trying to catching up. It was for me a sprint of 800m and even in the finish channel I didn’t even believe it anymore. I honestly was not sure if I touched first or if the Russian swimmer did. He is very good at the sprint and so is the Italian swimmer. The last 400 metres was very, very tough and it was the hardest finish of my life. I thought that the title was going to be really hard, I was able to breathe and I made a touch, I don’t even know how I did it. I guessed that I touched before him and it’s magic. I am so happy for my teammates that together we can celebrate the Championships Trophy, which is for all of us.”

Kirill Belyaev (RUS), silver, men’s 25km:  

I'm very happy to place second but I would have preferred to win. Today Alex won and I congratulate him. When I touched I still wasn't sure if I finished in first or second. It was such a close race. I thought I would be ready for the sprint and I swam to be sure that I would be in position to sprint for the finish. Korea is a wonderful country, thank you Korea!” 


Alessio Occhipinti (ITA), bronze, men’s 25km 

I feel very good about my race, from stat until end. I am very pleased with the bronze as it was my first 25km racing in the world championship. Today the weather conditions were not great, but the event that raced in to qualify for Korea was also in the sea, and the conditions were like this but with more wind and waves. I was ready for this today, my qualifying race was excellent for my preparations. I swam with my teammate Simone Ruffini, we swam closely together at the end. I tried to follow Alex but then I didn't see that he swam off on he left. When I saw him, I did everything I could to make a sprint for the finish and for the podium.”

Photo by gettyimages


OPEN WATER SWIMMING MEDALLISTS

5K WOMEN - 

GOLD - Ana Marcela CUNHA, BRA  -- 57.56.0

SILVER - Aurelie MULLER, FRA  +1.0

BRONZE - Hannah MOORE, USA  + 2.0

BRONZE - Leonie BECK, GER  +2.0

5K MEN - 

GOLD - Kristof RASOVSZKY, HUN - 53:22.1

SILVER - Logan FONTAINE, FRA  +10.1

BRONZE - Eric Hedlin, CAN  +10.3

10K WOMEN - 

GOLD - XIn Xin, CHN  - 1:54.47.2

SILVER - Haley ANDERSON, USA  +.0.9

BRONZE - Rachele BRUNI, ITA  +2.7 

10K MEN - 

GOLD - Florian Wellbrock, GER  1:47:55.9

SILVER - Marc-Antoine OLIVIER, FRA  +.0.20

BRONZE - Rob Muffels, GER  + 1.5

MIXED 5K RELAY
GOLD - GERMANY - 53.58.7

ITALY - _0.2

USA - + 0.3

25K WOMEN -

GOLD - Ana Marcela CUNHA, BRA - 5:08.03.0

SILVER - Finnia WUNRAM, GER  +8.6

BRONZE - Lara GRANGEON, FRA  +18.2

25K MEN - 

GOLD - Alex REYMOND, FRA - 4:51.06

SILVER - Kirill BELYAEV, RUS  +.3 

BRONZE - Alessio OCCHIPINTI, ITA  +3.3

 

MEDALS TABLE - Individual, Relay and Team Trophy included

WOMEN's MEDALS - 10 total 

BRAZIL - 2G 

CHINA - 1G 

USA - 1S - 1B

FRA - 1S - 1B

GERMANY - 1S - 1B

ITALY - 1B


MEN's MEDALS

GERMANY - 1G - 1B

FRA - 1G - 2S

HUN - 1G

RUS - 1S

CAN - 1B

ITA - 1B

RELAY MEDALS

GERMANY - 1G

ITALY - 1S

USA - 1B

CHAMPIONSHIPS TROPHY

FIRST - FRANCE:  53 men's points & 60 women's points & 8 Relay points = 121 points

SECOND - ITALY:  48 men's points & 38 women's points & 16 Relay points = 102 points

THIRD - GERMANY:  41 men's points & 40 women's points & 18 Relay points = 99 points

FOURTH - USA:  11 men's points & 58 women's points & 14 Relay Points = 83 points

FIFTH - HUNGARY:  41 men's points & 13 women's points & 5 Relay Points = 59 points