Aimee Berg, FINA Press Correspondent in North America

(LAC ST-JEAN, Canada) – Open water racing resumes on Thursday in Canada when 40 athletes from five continents swim 10km around a classic looped course in Lac St-Jean, Quebec.

The July 26 race marks fifth event (of eight) of the FINA/Hosa Marathon Swim World Series.

Lac St-Jean has been part of the circuit every year since the tour’s inception in 2007.  

The race will offer an excellent opportunity to move up in the rankings. If one of the three highest-ranked swimmers in the men's field, Brazil's Allan do Carmo, 28, and Diogo Villarinho, 24, or Fernando Ponte emerge victorious, he would move into sixth place overall. The favorite, Do Carmo, placed fourth here last year.  Also worth watching is Evgenij Pop Acev, 30, of Macedonia. In 2017, Pop Acev placed third in the famous Grand Traversée, the 32km crossing of the entire lake. For him, mental fortitude won’t be a question, but will he have the speed to overtake the 10km field?

On the women’s side, the clear favourite is Ana Marcela Cunha, 26, of Brazil. The 10-time world championship medallist and two-time Olympian has already won more World Cup races than any woman in history. Cunha will aim to capture her 20th World Cup victory on Thursday.  The closest competitor may be her countrywoman Viviane Jungblut, 22, who placed third here in 2017 in just her first season competing outside the lanes of a swimming pool.

Two women who have the power and tactical knowledge to potentially disrupt the Brazilian effort include Ecuador's Samantha Arevalo Salinas, 23, who earned the 10km silver medal at the 2017 World Championships, and Canada’s frontrunner, Stephanie Horner, 29, who won the 2016 edition of the Lac St-Jean race.

The men’s race begins at 11:45 local time, followed by the women’s race at 14:45.

The weather is expected to be cloudy and humid.  Air temperatures should range from 24-26 Celcius (75-79 Fahrenheit). The water temperature is expected to be greater than 20 degrees and if that's the case, then wetsuits would be prohibited .

In order to earn points, swimmers must complete a 1.67 km loop six times. Last year, the top five men finished in just under two hours. The fastest woman hit the timing pad in 2 hours, 3 minutes despite a downpour at the start.