FINA marathon swimming world cup series winners Ana Marcela Cunha and Allan do Carmo teamed up to win a tightly contested victory in the elite race at the King and Queen of the Sea swim at Copacabana Beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Elite King and Queen of the Sea is a team swim for two – one male and one female. Each swimmer must complete three laps of the 500m course, alternating between the two team members on each lap. The course includes a 50m stretch on land and the finish is also on the beach. The event is designed, in part, to make exciting viewing for the hundreds of spectators – many of which will take part in the amateur event.
The result was only decided in the final sprint for the finish line with do Carmo breaking the tape just two hundredths of a second ahead of American Charles (Chip) Peterson, who was racing with compatriot Stephanie Peacock. The second Brazilian pair of Samuel Bonn and Betina Lorscheitter crossed the line a further two seconds back. The lead switched between these three teams constantly through the six rounds of swimming.
“The year has ended perfectly,” says do Carmo. “I was Brazilian, South American and world champion, and now I’ve won the King and Queen of the Sea. The expectations on us were very high because of these titles – we’re world champions and we had to apply everything to this event. It was a very competitive race.”
Ana Marcela Cunha was exhausted but delighted at the end of her three rounds.
“Emotion becomes a very large part of an event like this where the outcome doesn’t just depend on me,” she said. “I messed up twice but Allan was brilliant. The finish was amazing with the athletes racing side by side. Thanks to Allan’s finish we won and I am Queen of the Sea for the second time.”