The 2015 FINA Open Water 10k World Cup in Cozumel, Mexico was especially well-attended on Saturday, beginning with the men’s race, due to a number of countries using the event as their selection race for the open water portion of the FINA World Aquatics Championships.
That left the meet rife with storylines on the day, and a wild, competitive finish.
British Champion and Selections
Among those countries is Great Britain, the country that came home with the title thanks to Jack Burnell touching first in a very fast 1:42:06. That placed him 4 seconds ahead of Ecuador’s Esteban Enderica (1:42:10) and Italy’s Simone Ruffini (1:42:13).
While Great Britain has left the selections of its committed two male and two female entries for the 10k at the World Championships later this summer in Kazan (selection criteria here), only results from the BHP Billiton Super Series in February in Australia and this race in Cancun are being considered, which would have the 21-year old Burnell an inside track on selection.
Daniel Fogg, who along with Burnell are the two premier open water swimmers in the UK, finished 8th, but was just 8 seconds behind the winner in 1:42:15.
The third-highest placing British finisher was Caleb Hughes at 16th overall.
Australian Results Shock for Worlds Spot
Besides Britain, Australia was also among the major players to have named this event as their selection meet for the World Championships.
The top three male and female Australian finishers from the elite 10k at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series were sent to Cozumel, but with the tightening Australian budget only allowing for one choice to move on to Kazan, Russia.
That choice will be Simon Huitenga, who finished 7th in a deep field in 1:42:15. George O’Briens was 17th, 15 seconds behind Hutenga, while the young Jarrod Poort placed a disappointing 28th place in 1:42:57, almost a minute behind the winner.
In their pre-meet publicity, the Australians pushed Poort as their headliner after he had the highest finish of any Australian open water swimmer at the 2013 World Championships (he was 5th in the 5k). He also took silver at last year’s Pan Pacific Championships.
Instead, it was the veteran 27-year old Huitenga, a bit more adept and experienced as the distances get longer, who grabbed the spot. Huitenga was 12th in Barcelona in 2013 in the 10k.
Brazilian Selection for Worlds
Brazil was also selecting their World Championships and Pan American Games rosters at the event. Allan do Carmo in 6th place and Diogo Villarinho in 14th both will go to the World Championships, while Samuel de Bona in 19th and Luis Rogerio Arapiraca in 50th will go to the Pan Am Games.
Do Carmo was a part of the Brazilian trio that won bronze in the 5k team event at the 2013 World Championships, though so too was Bona.
Other Key Notes From the Men’s Race
- The runner-up Esteban Enderica of Ecuador is the brother of Ivan Enderica, who was just 32nd in this race. Ivan was 7th at the 2013 World Championships in the 5km, but is just 2 months returned from a year-long doping suspension.
- The conditions in Cozumel were good, without much notable weather to speak of (though the women’s race was moved back to noon).
- As an indication of just how fast this course was, the winner in Cozumel finished 7 minutes faster than the winning time in Barcelona.
- A handful of Americans headed straight to Cozumel after the U.S. Open Water National Championships last week. The highest finisher was Andrew Gemmell in 9th, followed by Sean Ryan in 21st and Chip Peterson in 29th. Ryan is the only among those three who is likely to be selected to the U.S. World Championships roster by virtue of his second-place finish in the 10k in Fort Myers.
- Dutch swimmer Ferry Weertman, who won the 5k and 10k European Championships last year, was 4th in Cozumel in 1:42:14, leading a group of three (Andreas Waschburger and Allan do Carmo) in a photo-finish.
- The top three point-scorers so far in this year’s series, Axel Reymond, Romain Beraud, and Christian Reichert, were all absent in Cozumel (though it’s uncommon for anybody to swim in the entire series). $180,000 in series prizes, spread across the top 6 male and top 6 females, are on the line, and Ruffini and do Carmo will move into a tie the lead. For Ruffini, this is only his second swim in four tour stops so far.
- The top 8 men and top 8 women at this meet will also shared in $20,000 in prize money, topping out at $2,500 for the winners.