The race came down to the two heavyweights in open water swimming with the Germans taking down the Italians in home waters with Lea Boy, Leonie Beck, Oliver Klemet, and Rob Muffels winning the Mixed 4x1500m Relay to close out the second leg of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup in Golfo Aranci, Italy.
The German team of Lea Boy, Leonie Beck, Oliver Klemet, and Rob Muffels won in a sprint finish over the Italians, out-touching their European counterparts by 0.9 seconds with a gold medal time of 1:04:57.7. The Italian team of Rachele Bruni, Barbara Pozzobon, Marcello Guidi, and Ivan Giovannoni won the silver at 1:04:58.6.
It came as no surprise that the Germans and Italians were the two nations that came down to the wire on the final day of the 2023 World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup in Golfo Aranci, Italy.
However, it may have been a slight surprise in which team was the one to finish in the top two. Teams are allowed to enter more than one team into the race, but only the top finishing team will be able to get on the podium. Theoretically, a team could touch first and second, but the second-place team would not be eligible for the silver medal.
So perhaps it came as a surprise that the Italian team that had Gregorio Paltrinieri and Domenico Acerenza was not the fastest one, with that quartet finishing third overall at 1:04:58.9, a tenth out of second. That team was led off by Giulia Gabbrielleschi and Ginevra Taddeucci, who were third and second in the women’s 10K on Saturday, while Acerenza and Paltrinieri were second and sixth, respectively.
The Germans and Italians swam with two women up front and finished with two men, while other nations played with the order by putting a man on the second leg. The United States held the lead briefly on leg #2 with Dylan Gravley breaking into the lead, but he wound up getting run down by France’s Sacha Velly as the host nation to the next Olympics also experimented with a different order.
However, the lead did not hold for the French and the Americans as Caroline Jouisse and Kensey McMahon were tracked down by the likes of Paltrinieri, Guidi, and Klemet as the blue ribbon open water nations took over on lap three.
As those three came into the final changeover, the Italian crowd started to make some noise as it appeared likely at least one of their teams entered would come out on top.
Muffels pressed the pace of his final 1500m leg early, keeping a slower stroke rate than that of the Italians. Giovannoni played his cards well though, moving away from Acerenza and Muffels to avoid contact, lining himself up at a potential huge upset victory as he took the lead late. Muffels fought back and it was those two neck-and-neck on the final straightaway, as they collided a few times and clawed their way to the touch.
Muffels was able to line up his finish best, and the Germans came out on top over the Italians. This was the second gold medal for Leonie Beck this weekend as she also won the 10K on Saturday.
“It was a really great experience and very successful for me. I won two gold medals and it’s always a pleasure for me to swim in Italy. I love Italy and I love the Italian people - it’s always great!” Beck said after the competition.
“It was amazing,” Paltrinieri said after the competition racing in his home nation. “The support was incredible. We had the European Championships last year in Italy and it was great, and for a World Cup to see many people in the stands it was incredible, so thanks to everybody. Open water is getting bigger in Italy!”
France finished with the bronze officially at 1:05:30.0 with Lara Grangeon, Velly, Jouisse, and Enzo Roldan Munoz as they finished fifth overall behind the second German team of Jeanette Spiwoks, Celine Rieder, Linus Schwedler, and Niklas Frach at 1:05:25.7.
Water temperatures were slightly cooler than during the 10km races on Saturday as the Sunday temperatures were reportedly at 17.2 degrees Celsius at the start. The race conditions in Golfo Aranci were also slightly wavier than Saturday with swells causing the swimmers to have to change their position during the race. The next stop of the World Aquatics Open Water Swimming World Cup will be May 27 - 28 in Setubal, Portugal.
Watch it One More Time | Mixed 4x1500m Relay
Parting Shot From Golfo Aranci