With the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Grand nearly upon us at the Aquatics Festival of the 15th FINA World Swimming Championships (25m), it’s time to check out the stellar field. The final leg of the annual circuit will see the open water athletes compete in a 10km race for men and women, as well as a 4x1500m Mixed Relay for National Federations. In the latter event, each team’s four competitors (two male and two female) will be challenged with completing a 1500m swim for a total of 6km.
Florian Wellbrock - Germany
Just two weeks shy of his 24th birthday, Wellbrock won his first Olympic gold medal in the Marathon Swimming 10km event in Tokyo 2020 Games. It was Wellbrock's second medal at the Tokyo Olympics, which he then followed up with a bronze medal on the last day of pool swimming in the 1500m freestyle. He is the first FINA World 10km Champion to win an Olympic gold medal and will certainly be one to watch in Abu Dhabi.
Gregorio Paltrinieri - Italy
After winning gold in the 1500m freestyle at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Paltrinieri announced his intention to add open water swimming to his competitive schedule ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. The Italian demonstrated his adaptability and left Tokyo with a bronze in the Men’s 10km, taking his total medal count to 27.
Kristof Rasovszky - Hungary
Since bursting onto the scene at 21, Rasovszky has taken everything in his stride. His most recent feat saw him take silver in the Men’s 10km at Odaiba Marine Park at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, his first Olympic medal. Rasovszky will be looking to continue his consistent run of form in Abu Dhabi.
Marc-Antoine Olivier – France
The Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallist (Men’s 10km) has high ambitions over the next half year eyeing up now only Abu Dhabi but also the FINA World Championships 2022 in Fukuoka (JPN) in May, where he is gunning for gold. He is hoping to equal or better his medal tally from the FINA World Championships 2017 in Budapest (HUN), where he won two gold and one bronze. Progression in Abu Dhabi is key. Watch this space.
Allan Do Carmo – Brazil
FINA 2014 Male Open Water Swimmer of the Year, the Brazilian will be looking to use his open water experience to add to his impressive 25 career medal haul. His bronze medal in the Men’s 10km at the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2017 (HKG) was his last podium appearance, he has a good chance in Abu Dhabi to change that.
David Farinango - Ecuador
Farinango finished 15th in the Men’s 10km at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, adding to a consistent run of strong performances and demonstrating that the 20-year-old from Machala has what it takes to compete for the top prizes. Farinango will be aiming to step up another gear in Abu Dhabi.
Who to keep a special eye on during the women's open water events
Ana Marcela Cunha – Brazil
Crowned Best Female Open Water Swimmer by FINA in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019, Cunha would continue her dominance in the Women’s 10km at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games this summer. Brazil’s queens of marathon swimming took gold, the first Olympic gold in the 29-year-old’s career.
Sharon Van Rouwendaal - Netherlands
The versatile Dutch swimmer continues to put in consistent open water performances at the highest level. The 27-year-old nabbed silver in the Women’s 10km at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, adding to her Olympic medal tally that includes a gold medal at Rio 2016, where she finished an impressive 17 seconds ahead of Rachele Bruni (ITA).
Anna Olasz – Hungary
The two-time Olympian narrowly missed out on a medal at this summer’s Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the Women’s 10km. Having continued her impressive form, taking gold at the recent FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021 (MKD), Olasz will be one to watch in Abu Dhabi.
Leonie Beck – Germany
The 24-year-old Beck continues to impress at the highest levels of open water swimming, finishing fifth in the Women’s 10km at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The exceptional talent from Würzburg proved that she is a force to be reckoned with. Beck will be looking to cause more upsets in Abu Dhabi.
Oceane Cassignol – France
Cassignol will be hoping to build on her performance at the FINA UltraMarathon Swim Series 2021 in Ohrid (MKD) in August, where she took home gold in the Women’s 25km. The 21-year-old also had success in the Women’s 10km at the start of the year, grabbing silver in Leg 1 of the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021 in Doha (QAT).
Li-Shan Chantal LIEW - Singapore
The 23-year-old Liew became the first Singaporean to win a medal in open water swimming when she won silver in the Women’s 10m at the South East Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur (MYS) in 2017. Liew also became the first-ever Singaporean to qualify for the Olympic Games in open water swimming, securing a place in the Women’s 10km at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where she put in one of her best performances, finishing 23rd. She will be aiming to build on this in Abu Dhabi.