The 10K race on Saturday provided perspective for the 10K open water swimmers in their Paris Olympics preparations. With two years to go to the upcoming Games, athletes were able to get accustomed to the city and the racing conditions. Although this World Series was not held in the same spot where the 10K at the Olympics will be held, time in the city gives athletes the chance to have that experience of racing in the same city as the Olympic venue.
Men’s 10km Individual
Fresh off a gold medal at the recent FINA World Championships in Budapest, Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri continued his winning ways into this week’s FINA Marathon World Series in the French capital. Paltrinieri, already one of the best distance swimmers the sport has ever seen, added to his palmarès by winning the 10km in 1:51:37.85.
Paltrinieri pulled away on the final straightaway as she finished ahead of silver medalist Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary’s performance of 1:51:38.98.
The race had been particularly tactical, with ten laps of the course as compared to only six laps of the Lupa Lake course in Budapest last week. After 4km, it was the three pool swimmers - Paltrinieri, Mykhailo Romanchuk (UKR), and Guilherme Costa (BRA) leading the way.
But at 8km, France’s Axel Reymond had taken the lead over Paltrinieri and Rasovszky, and Australia’s Nicholas Sloman, as the Frenchman did not compete in the Olympic distance 10km in Budapest, resorting only to the ultra-marathon 25km where he won silver.
Reymond, one of the top open water swimmers of all-time, could not hold on to the pace as he was out-sprinted by Australia’s Sloman (1:51:41.95), who won bronze over Hungary’s David Betlehem (1:51:42.95) and Italy’s Andrea Manzi (1:51:43.68).
Reymond (1:51:46.87) and Romanchuk (1:51:48.12) had fallen off pace and finished in sixth and seventh respectively.
Notably, 25K world champion Dario Verani finished 11th at 1:51:50.30, and Brazil’s Costa did not finish the race.
54 swimmers started with race and three did not finish, including Bazil’s Costa, and one was disqualified.
Women’s 10km Individual
It may have been a little taste of revenge for Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha on Saturday morning as she won gold in the women’s 10km at 2:00:33.71, two seconds ahead of Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands at 2:00:35.77.
Van Rouwendaal outpunched Cunha to the finish board last week at the FINA World Championships in a photo finish in the 10km. Today, the script was reverse with Cunha holding off her nearest pursuers. The women’s field was much more spread out than it was in the men’s race, with the women’s lead pack of 15 swimmers separated by 28 seconds, while the men’s lead pack of 16 swimmers was separated by 16 seconds.
The bronze medal went the way of Italy’s Ginevra Taddeucci (2:00:35.99), as she finished ahead of Brazil’s Viviane Jungblut (2:00:37.03) and Australia’s Kareena Lee (2:00:37.52). Taddeucci led on the final lap but was run down by the reigning Olympic champion Cunha, and was then just lost out on silver in a photo finish with the reigning world champ van Rouwendaal.
Many swimmers were racing to get a feel for the Paris environment, even if this was not the exact site of the open water course for the Olympics. Australia had three in the top ten with Lee, Chelsea Gubecka, and Moesha Johnson all pushing for spots on the podium.
29 swimmers completed the race and four did not finish, including notably 5K silver medalist from the Budapest Worlds in Italy’s Giulia Gabbrielleschi. One swimmer was disqualified.
Re-Live! Watch It One More Time
The second and final day of the World Series opener turns from individual accolades to team performance with the Mixed Team Relay getting underway at 8:00 local time.