The women's 10km race was an electrifying event in the picturesque setting of Somabay. At the second buoy, Bettina Fabian of Hungary was the leader, setting a steady pace. At the end of the first lap, she was passed by Paula Otero Fernandez who reached the checkpoint a tenth of a second before the Hungarian swimmer. 

Lisa Pou, from Monaco took the lead on the second lap, building up a lead of around five seconds over Ana Marcela Cunha. Pou said: “That was not the part of my strategy to lead the pack, I went with the flow, I knew I'm not going to make it at this pace, but I figured why not give it a try.”  

The field started to close up, with all athletes displaying endurance, skill and determination. The weather was merciful, as the wind eased, the waves became smaller and the temperature warmed up. The water temperature was reported to be 22 degrees Celsius and the air temperature was 25 degrees Celsius. 

Commenting on her performance, reigning Olympic champion Cunha stated: "We're doing a different kind of training because of the Olympics, so I tried a different strategy - I swam a little stronger in the middle of the race because I know my opponents and they usually sprint better than me, so I have to push hard in the middle. I tried that today and I'm happy with it.”

On lap four, the lead became tighter, with Spain's Otero Fernandez and Hungary’s Bettina Fabian controlling the field. Then Italy's Ginevra Taddeucci joined them, leaving the checkpoint in second place after lap four.

In what was an electrifying final lap, Taddeucci led the field on the back straight but Fabian was well positioned at the last buoy and was the first to go into the final 200m straight sprint. Fabian said: “I was in a great position after the last buoy, then I realized I’m in the first position, so I started to sprint, but it was not enough.” The three times World Champion Leonie Beck used all her experience and stamina in the last sprint and overtook Fabian in the last two meters.

Image Source: Islam Amr Laithy/Somabay

Speaking about her win, Beck said that she wanted to save some energy during the first part of the race: “I didn't want to get into a fight for the first part of the 10km, so I stayed back and saved some energy and caught some good waves. There weren't many swimmers, so I didn't have to pass many of them, so it didn't cost me much energy.  After the fourth feed I tried to climb up and then I caught Ginevra.” She won the women’s 10km in Somabay by a time of 2:04:31.0.

“It's an amazing place, I really like to swim here, in Somabay. The conditions are great, the water is beautiful, during my swim I saw a lot of fish, it was very pleasant to swim here".
By Leonie Beck

Commenting after the race, Fabian stated; “Leonie was a bit faster than me and she got away at the end. I'm very angry about that now, I know that I have to practice sprints in training... I had the chance to win my first World Cup, but I guess it's still a bit to come...”

It was a historical swim for Angela Martinez Guillen, as it was the first time that the young athlete from Spain could stand on the podium in a World Cup: “This is an amazing moment for me, I’ve just won my first World Cup medal. It is a good motivation for the Olympics.”

The final standings were very close, with the first 14 swimmers finishing within 10 seconds of each other. Lamees Elsokkary came first in the juniors.

Athletes earn sprint points for passing through specific, pre-determined points within the individual 10km events, during this event they saved points after the first, third and fourth laps. After each World Cup, the current highest cumulative sprint point-scoring athlete will carry this distinction into the following stop. Among the women, the best sprinter this time was Paula Otero Fernandez, scoring 90 sprint points. Taddeucci from Italy sits in second place with 55 points.

Updated rankings

The Mixed Relay race is coming up next in Somabay, Egypt.