France’s former world champion Aurelie Muller was the star of the fourth leg of the LEN Open Water Cup in Belgrade, winning the women’s 10km event, with British youngster Nathan Hughes claiming the men’s title.
- Nathan Hughes (GBR) 1:55:47.7
- Tamas Farkas (SRB) 1:55:51.4
- Joseph Deighan (GBR) 1:55:59.8.
- Aurelie Muller (FRA) 2:02:30.4
- Katja Fain (SLO) 2:04:06.0
- Ella Dyson (GBR) 2:04:14.7.
The last time Aurelie Muller came first in a major open water race dates back to 2017 – that time in a sunny morning, on 16 July at Balatonfured, she retained her world title and seemed to be the ruler of the sport.
Five years on, on 17 July, in a sunny morning in Belgrade, she got another gold at last, in the LEN Open Water Cup. The five years in between was anything but cementing her ruling status.
Still, this victory should mean a lot for the Frenchwoman who was once considered one of the top contenders in any majors, but after the second utter Olympic disappointment she seemed to have done with open water swimming (in Rio 2016, she was disqualified after finished the race as runner-up – then she missed the cut for Tokyo by 0.1sec).
Muller already showed signs of gaining back her old form last month when she clinched silver in the 5km at the World Championships in Budapest, now she landed a gold with ease, her winning margin was 1:34 minutes ahead of Slovenia’s Katja Fain.
The men’s race was tighter, at least a fine duel was staged by Britain’s Nathan Hughes and home star Tamas Farkas – the Brit had the better finish and hit the panel 3.7sec ahead of the Serbian.
Many of the European elite skipped this leg for different reasons – several swimmers, including top guns have struggled with Covid-19, while others opted to compete at last’s week’s FINA World Series, then started their preparations for the European Championships, starting in a month in Rome.
The LEN Open Water Cup returns on 26-28 August in Kiel (GER).
LEN Open Water Cup – 2022 Calendar:
- Leg 1: 24 March, Eilat (ISR)
- Winners: Kristof Rasovszky (HUN) & Oceane Cassignol (FRA)
- Leg 2: 13 May, Piombino (ITA)
- Winners: Sacha Velly (FRA) & Leonie Beck (GER)
- Leg 3: 20 May, Alghero (ITA)
- Winners: Gregorio Paltrinieri (ITA) & Mira Szimcsak (HUN)
- Leg 4: 17 July, Belgrade (SRB)
- Winners: Nathan Hughes (GBR) & Aurelie Muller (FRA)
- Leg 5: 27 August, Kiel (GER)
- Leg 6: 24 September, Barcelona (ESP)