Claire Weinstein Dominates Funchal Open Water Stop, Leonie Beck Claims Overall Series Crown


In just her second open water race on the international stage, Claire Weinstein dominated the final stop of the 2023 Open Water Swimming Cup by more than a minute with a winning time of 1:56:54.30 on Saturday in Funchal, Portugal.

It was a major breakthrough for the 16-year-old Weinstein, who may have earned a spot on the U.S. roster heading to the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Qatar, along with 4th-place finisher Mariah Denigan. Weinstein took the lead on lap five of six before running away with the victory.

“This is only my second international open water race (on the senior level), so I just kind of wanted to go in and do my best,” said Weinstein, who placed 24th at the second Open Water World Cup series stop in Italy this May. “Swimming in wavy water is definitely difficult for me; I’m used to the pool, so I like it when it’s flat. I just wanted to stay at the front of the pack and see how good I could do. I’m not really that good at being in the back and moving up, so I just wanted to stay in front and hopefully hold it.”

Katie Grimes, who qualified for the Paris 2024 Olympics with her 3rd-place showing at the 2023 World Championships this summer, placed 5th just two-tenths of a second behind Denigan. If Grimes decides to sit out the 5k or 10k at Worlds this year with her Olympic qualification already secured, that could open the door for Weinstein — her Sandpipers of Nevada club teammate — to take her spot and aim for an Olympic berth of her own.

In September, Weinstein committed to continue her swimming career at Cal. The rising Sandpipers of Nevada star is the top distance freestyler in the high school class of 2024. Last year, Weinstein won the women’s 5k at the World Junior Open Water Championships.

Denigan, 20, will make her second open water appearance at the World Championships after placing 8th this year. The Indiana University junior also placed 4th at the World Junior Open Water Championships last year.

German standout Leonie Beck placed 7th in 1:58:11.00, securing the overall series crown after winning the first two stops in Egypt and Italy leading up to her world title this summer. Beck’s effort earned her a $50,000 bonus along with the $7,950 she accumulated across the four stops of the series.

The meet was originally scheduled to be hosted in Eilat, Israel, before being moved to Funchal, Portugal, because of the outbreak of war in the region.

2023 Funchal Open Water World Cup stop – top 10 finishers

  1. $3,500 – Claire Weinstein, USA – 1:56:54.30
  2. $3,000 – Bettina Fabian, Hungary – 1:58:07.50 (+1:13.20)
  3. $2,500 – Oceane Cassignol, France – 1:58:09.50 (+1:15.20)
  4. $1,700 – Mariah Denigan, USA – 1:58:09.70 (+1:15.40)
  5. $1,500 – Katie Grimes, USA – 1:58:09.90 (+1:15.60)
  6. $1,200 – Chelsea Gubecka, Australia – 1:58:10.30 (+1:16.00)
  7. $950 – Leonie Beck, Germany – 1:58:11.00 (+1:16.70)
  8. $650 – Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands – 1:58:11.10 (+1:16.80)
  9. Jeanette Spiwoks, Germany – 1:58:11.40 (+1:17.10)
  10. Caroline Jouisse, France – 1:58:12.40 (+1:18.10)


1 Leonie Beck Germany $50,000
2 Sharon van Rouwendaal Netherlands $35,000
3 Caroline Jouisse France $25,000
4 Ginevra Taddeucci Italy $20,000
5 Aurelie Muller France $15,000
6 Arianna Bridi Italy $12,000
7 Giulia Gabbrielleschi Italy $8,000
8 Jeanette Spiwoks Germany $5,000
9 Viviane Jungblut Brazil $3,500
10 Lea Boy Germany $1,500

At the 2024 World Championships, Paris 2024 Olympic berths will be awarded to the top 13 finishers — or 14 if France qualifies otherwise.

On the men’s side, Italy’s Domenico Acerenza triumphed in the 10k on Saturday while 3rd-place finisher Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary took the series title worth $50,000. The American pair of Ivan Puskovitch (24th place) and Michael Brinegar (40th place) also earned trips to the 2024 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

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2 months ago

Overall Prize Money is wrong. In order to be elibilble for overall PM you must participate in 3 legs at least.

George Taylor
2 months ago

Congratulations to Claire! The live stream was beautiful, Funchal is what an Olympic open water venue should look like! Battling competitor’s and the elements in a picturesque setting.

Sherry Smit
2 months ago

she is her

2 months ago

I think the US Doha OW team is still Grimes & Denigan (unless grimes declines). The selection criteria stated auto qual to 2024 worlds if you finished top 8 at 2023 worlds (which both grimes & denigan did)

Honestly it gives the sandpipers a wildly interesting decision, as Grimes could forego OW in Doha and focus on the pool, allowing her teammate the chance to battle it out with Denigan for an olympic spot….

About Riley Overend

Riley is an associate editor interested in the stories taking place outside of the pool just as much as the drama between the lane lines. A 2019 graduate of Boston College, he arrived at SwimSwam in April of 2022 after three years as a sports reporter and sports editor at newspapers …

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