The second round of FINA’s 2015 10km marathon swimming world cup series took place earlier today in Abu Dhabi and saw more than 70 swimmers from 20 countries compete for a generous prize purse of $60,000.
Notably absent though were swimmers from the USA who chose to boycott the race. The choice of Abu Dhabi as a marathon swimming venue is controversial because of the death of American swimmer Fran Crippen in a race there in 2010.
French swimmers, in mourning since the tragic death earlier this week of Camille Muffat in a helicopter accident, will have been cheered by Axel Reymond’s victory in the men’s race. He finished in 1:57:52, 1.5 seconds ahead of Britain’s Jack Burnell and Germany’s Christian Reichert.
For Reymond, who usually competes over 25km, this was his first gold over the 10km distance and he said: “It looks like it won’t be my last one.” At 20 years old, that’s a promise he’s got a good chance of fulfilling.
“Today’s race was absolutely fantastic,” says Burnell. “It’s in the middle of our hard training season so this competition was a test to see what we can do. I’m really pleased with the performance today. It was also absolutely brilliant all these people cheering you on, you can’t really ask for a much better backdrop with these magnificent skyscrapers and the sun.”
In the women’s race, Italy’s Rachele Bruni topped the podium with a time of 2:07:31, doubling her gold medal total for the season after her win in Viedma, Argentina. China’s Siyu Yan finished second followed by Keri-anne Payne, making it a good day for British swimmers.
“Today’s race was about trying something new and a different experience,” says Payne. “The competition wasn’t a qualification for us; it was an opportunity to get some training so that’s what I did today.”