FINA Communication Department

There couldn’t have been a more authentic setting for the final stop of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix 2008 – the wild beauty of the Sumidero Canyon in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. The race was held on October 18 and included 15 men and 15 women from 14 countries. The air and water temperature for the 15km river swim was 26°C and the weather was light wind and rain. The race commenced at 8:25AM for the men and the women started two minutes later. 

The start of the marathon swim was from the water and overall, reports FINA Technical Open Water Swimming Committee Delegate Mr. Valerijus Belovas (LTU), the race was calm. After both groups of swimmers commenced swimming, forty minutes passed before four women (Britta Kamrau-Corestein and Stephanie Biller of Germany, Mexico’s Alejandra Gonzales, and Esther Nunez of Spain) caught up with the main men’s group of 12 swimmers. At about the same time, Petar Stoychev (BUL) left the race. The group of four women and twelve men then swam together for a long while and it wasn’t until about 3-4 kilometres to the end that a group of about seven men began to accelerate.

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Brendan Capell (AUS)

The leaders, it was revealed, were Brendan Capell (AUS), Ivan Lopez (MEX), Stephan Gomez (FRA), and Danil Serebrennikov (RUS). The final metres of the race were marked by hard fighting between these four and a decision on the winner was made only after consulting the cameras. It turned out to be Lopez in first, Serebrennikov in second, and Argentina’s Damian Blaum took third after a very nice finish that saw him improve from sixth to the minor podium position. The women’s finish was calm with Kamrau Corestein securing a relatively easy victory five minutes ahead of the other racers.

Mr. Belovas reports there was a good media presence at the event, and a decent number of spectators – about 500 people cheered swimmers at the start, and around 1000 at the finish. For full results and more information about the final rankings of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix 2008, please consult the open water page of www.fina.org.