The stage is set. The beautiful shores of Setúbal, Portugal, will welcome the best open water swimmers for the first leg of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2022 from 28-29 May.
The beautiful seaside city continues to burnish its position as an established stop on the international aquatics calendar, a run that includes Setúbal hosting three FINA Olympic Marathon Swim Qualifiers, since 2006.
Women to Watch Out For
One of FINA’s most demanding and exciting events, spectators of the prestigious event series will see more than 300 athletes from over 45 countries compete. And what a field of competitors it will be. Setúbal will see the return of the women’s joint winners of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2021 – Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha and France’s Oceane Cassignol.
Crowned Best Female Open Water Swimmer by FINA in 2010, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021, no other athlete, male or female, has won the FINA Marathon Swim World Series more than Ana Marcela Cunha.
Brazil’s queen of marathon swimming has dominated her field in the last decade. And the 29-year-old from São Paolo enjoyed her best year so far in 2021, taking home her first-ever Olympic gold medal in a highly competitive women's 10km marathon final at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. There’s no doubt Cunha will be looking to add another gold medal to her tally this weekend.
Oceane Cassignol will be looking to continue where she left off after tying for first place with Ana Marcela Cunha in the FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2021. The 21-year-old has put in some impressive performances in the recent history of this competition, taking silver in both leg one and eight of the FINA Marathon Swim World Series 2021 in Doha and Eilat, respectively.
Judging by her social media posts earlier this year, “Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass. It's about learning how to dance in the rain,” Cassignol is taking life in her stride and letting nothing get in her way. She will no doubt be more than ready for the challenge this weekend and continue on the road to more success.
Men’s Marathon Swim Championship Title Tilt
Hungary’s Kristof Rasovszky comes in a 2022 season as the defending Marathon Swim World Series overall champion. Just now entering his mid-twenties, Rasovszky always seems to figure his way into the podium mix across a range of different lengths and styles of open water races.
The 25-year-old truly came into his own in the European arena when he won both the 5km and 25km and took silver in the 10km open water races at the European Aquatic Championships. Rasovszky followed this up by winning the 5km open water event at the 18th FINA World Championships in Gwangju (KOR), marking the first time a Hungarian had won an open water gold medal at the world championships.
Count the Hungarian as hungry and motivated to defend both his FINA World Championships open water title in his home waters of Lupa Beach and for the overall global series. Rasovszky comes into the World Series opener showing strong form, winning the LEN open water opener in Elitat, Israel, the fifth and final stop of this year's FINA Marathon Swim World Series.
Look for several rivals, and in particular Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri, to make Rasovszky’s title defense a massive challenge. At last summer’s Tokyo Olympics, Rasovzsky took the open water silver behind Germany’s Florian Wellbrock, with Paltrinieri completing the podium.
Paltrinieri possesses a potent mix of speed and endurance. Paltrinieri has an Olympic gold medal in the pool as part of his accolades – the 1500m freestyle from the Rio 2016 Games.
“I think this is a very good sign ahead of the Worlds,” the Hungarian said after his nation’s national championships where he showed tremendous improvement in the longer pool events after he brushed 10 seconds off his previous personal best in the 1500m, dipping under the 15min mark for the first time in his career. Rasovszky also added the 400m and 800m Hungarian national titles to his treasury.
“Among the top guys, I’m considered the slowest sprinter, but it seems I’m gaining much better speed so I’m really optimistic before the big home event. This 1500m is a sharp message for the relay where I’m the anchorman so I need to keep up with the other greats who are faster than me in the pool.”