Despite warm water (29°C), Jack Burnell of Great Britain and Xin Xin from the host country were the fastest and won gold at the 2018 FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series in Qiandao Lake, Chun'an here on Sunday.
In the men's 10km competition, about 20 swimmers packed as the first group for three laps and 10 swimmers gathered in the last 2.5 kilometres. With a strong finish, Jack Burnell touched the board first in a time of one hour 56 minutes 34.8 seconds, beating Rob Muffels of Germany by 0.1 second.
Olympic and world champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy concluded third in a time of 1:56.35.3 and Rio Olympic champion Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands fourth, in 1:56.36.8.
"It is my first time in Qiandao Lake and the water is very hot at last. I tried to save energy all the way and came out first. My final sprint was pretty good, especially the last two, three strokes", Burnell said.
The Italian 1500m freestyle world and Olympic champion Paltrinieri was satisfied with his performance. "I competed in Doha and it is my second Marathon World Series. But it is my first time in China and in Qiandao Lake. I feel pretty good. I just started to swim two, three weeks ago after the European Championships and a short break. I am not in my best shape but I am happy I finished third", Paltrinieri confessed.
Olympic champion Ferry Weertman said it was pretty hot during the race but that was a good practice for the coming race. "I am happy to be here again to compete in the World Series. The fourth place was really good and I did not have the energy to finish stronger. I am happy I keep the top position on the overall rankings", said provisional leader of the Series’ classification.
In the women's competition, Xin Xin brought China a gold medal with a time of 2:06.22.6, ahead of Leonie Beck of Germany (2:06.23.4) and Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil (2:06.23.5). Rio Olympic champion Sharon Van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, touched fourth (2:06.24.9).
"I was excited to win the race because most of the best open water swimmers competed in this leg. I wanted to gain more experience from the strong rivals and competition", said Xin, who had also claimed victory in the Lac Megantic leg in Canada.
Rio Olympic champion Sharon Van Rouwendaal said she was happy with the time and the warm water. "The water should be warmer than this in the coming Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020, so it is good to get used to it. It was a good race and made me more tired. The level of open water is developing now with many more strong swimmers", said the current No. 2 on the women's ranking.
A total of 75 swimmers from 14 countries competed in the seventh leg of the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series while five swimmers withdrew mid-way due to sickness.
The eighth and last leg of the FINA/HOSA Marathon Swim World Series will come to Abu Dhabi on November 9.