The 2015 FINA World Cup race in Abu Dhabi was the circuit’s first return to the United Arab Emirates since the death of American swimmer Fran Crippen in a race there five years ago.
The race had a huge purse, with $60,000 available to competitors as compared to the standard $20,000 purse, and while there was a big uproar in the United States about FINA returning the race to the UAE, most of the world was unphased by the move. The top Americans typically don’t compete on the World Cup circuit heavily, while most of the usual suspects were at the race. That includes open water stars like Thomas Lurz, Angela Maurer, Poliana Okimoto, Daniel Fogg, and Keri-Anne Payne.
While there was little mention of the Crippen tragedy in comments to the media from the participants, 38-year old Bulgarian Peter Stoychev, one of the sport’s legends and an International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame member, even called the UAE “a good partner of FINA,” and said that having 75 athletes from 20 countries, and one of the better fields this series has seen, is a good sign for the sport.
Meanwhile, American open water swimmer and 2012 Olympic representative Alex Meyer took a different stance than the enthusiasm shown by race-day participants. On Thursday, he released an editorial on ESPN.com laying out why he’s not swimming in the UAE, and even his dialogue turned the focus from the UAE itself and onto FINA.
“I do not…have a problem with the UAE itself, or FINA hosting a race there,” Meyer said in part, continuing that he “almost always” avoids racing in places with temperatures as high as they are in the UAE. Instead, he calls upon FINA to take responsibility for the death of his friend, which he says they still have not done.
Below is the FINA press release of results. Full results have still not been published on their website.
The second leg of the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2015 was held today March 13 in Abu Dhabi (UAE) with 69 swimmers (42 men and 27 women) from 20 countries taking the departure.
In the men’s race, fresh face Axel Reymond of France, 21, emerged victorious in a time of 1h57m52s1. Britain’s Jack Burnell touched home a second later (1h57m53s6), edging German Christian Reichert by the slimmest of margins (1h57m53s6, decided by video finish), third overall in the Series last year.
Buoyed by her victory in Viedma (Race 1) last February, Italy’s Rachele Bruni dominated the operations again, completing the event in 2h07m31s8. 2008 Olympic silver medallist Keri-Ann Payne (GBR) took third behind 17-year-old Yan Siyu (CHN), who placed second in 2h07m34s5.
FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup 2015 calendar:
Race 1: February 7 in Patagones-Viedma (ARG)
Race 2: March 13 in Abu Dhabi (UAE)
NEXT RACE: April 18 in Noumea (New Caledonia, FRA)
Race 4: May 2 in Cancun (MEX)
Race 5: June 20 in Balatonfured (Hungary)
Race 6: June 27 in Setubal (Portugal)
Race 7: July 23 in Lac St-Jean (CAN)
Race 8: July 30 in Lac Magog (CAN)
Race 9: August 8 in Lac Megantic (CAN)
Race 10: October 11 in Chun’an (CHN)
Race 11: October 17 in Hong Kong (HKG)