FINA Communication Department

 The River Sava in Sabac (SRB) was the site of the fifth race of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix 2008. The course was 19km and the event took place on July 13, 2008. Twenty-four men and 18 women representing 18 countries participated in the swim, which offered $US10,000 in prize money. As reported by FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee (TOWSC) delegate Valerijus Belovas (LTU), the men’s race started at 11:00 and the women’s race started at 11:05.

The men’s race was calm, Belovas noted, and from the very first metres the leader of the group was Brendan Capell (AUS). Step-by-step Capell moved ahead and after 30 minutes the difference between him and main group was approximately 100m. It was still in this position that the swimmers finished. Throughout the race Capell swam alone with a good, strong effort that gave him the win in 2:39:57. Meanwhile, in the main group of men’s swimmers the leaders shifted, but in the final stretch Stephane Gomez escaped and managed to take second-place in 2:41:23. bronze went to Daniil Serebrennikov (RUS) in 2:42:01. As for the women’s race, the competitors all swam in a pack for the duration of the distance and thus they tended to reach the finish consecutively and in large groups. In the final metres however, the strongest swimmer was Anna Uvarova (RUS). Uvarova finished in 2:48:22. About thirty seconds behind her was Ekaterina Zhdanova (RUS, 2:48:52) and Britta Kamrau-Corestein (GER, 2:48:54), who took the silver and bronze medals respectively.

Not only was the race a technical success, it engaged the people of Sabac, who actually met the swimmers prior to the race on July 11 as part of a cultural programme and celebrations involving fireworks. Additionally, the social programme for the competition included a Mayor’s reception and other activities uniting the athletes, officials and local authorities. In fact, after the race concluded, there were thousands of people and a significant media presence on the bank of the river for the victory ceremony. For full results please visit the FINA OWS Grand Prix web page.