Cunha Defends Women’s 25k Title, Wins 3rd Medal Of Championships


Brazil’s Ana Marcela Cunha successfully defended her World title in the women’s 25k race today, the final open water event in Lake Balaton.

Cunha, 10k Olympic champ Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands and Italian Arianna Bridi broke away from the rest of the field just after the four hour mark, and eventually finished nearly two minutes ahead of anyone else.

In the end it was Cunha and van Rouwendaal going head-to-head for gold, with Cunha grabbing it in a time of 5:21:58.4. This is her third medal of the championships, winning a pair of bronzes in the 5k and 10k, and her third world title in this event, coming out on top in 2011 and 2015 as well.

van Rouwendaal was just over two seconds back in 5:22:00.8, an impressive performance for her first medal of the competition. She just missed a medal in the 5k, and protested the finish to no avail, but she really fell off the pace towards the end of the 10k. Making this 25k performance all the more impressive, she was battling mono as recently as March.

Ana Marcela. Campeonato Mundial de Desportos Aquaticos. Lake Balaton. 21 de Julho de 2017, Budapeste, Hungria. Foto: Satiro Sodré/SSPress/CBDA

Cunha has faced plenty of adversity herself recently, having her spleen removed after the Olympics which caused to her miss two full months of training. She also changed coaches, and wasn’t able to begin serious training until January, which makes this three medal performance truly remarkable.

Bridi fell off the pace a bit at the end of the race, winning bronze in 5:22:08.2. She also tied with Cunha for bronze in the 10k, putting up identical times of 2:00:17.2.

Her teammate Martina Grimaldi out-sprinted 2015 silver medalist Anna Olasz for 4th place in 5:23:54.6, with Olasz close behind for 5th in 5:23:55.0. Russian Anastasia Krapivina placed 6th, and American Becca Mann placed 7th.

Aurelie Muller of France missed a medal for the first time in four events here, placing 8th, and her teammate Lara Grangeon was 13th. That caps an incredible performance from the French in Lake Balaton, as they won a medal in every race other than this one. They finish with four golds and six total medals. The Americans finished 2nd on the medal table with 1 gold and 2 silvers, but the Italians finish with the 2nd most medals at 5, though zero gold.

Women’s 25k Final Results

  1. Ana Marcela Cunha, BRA, 5:21:58.40
  2. Sharon van Rouwendaal, NED, 5:22:00.80
  3. Arianna Bridi, ITA, 5:22:08.20
  4. Martina Grimaldi, ITA, 5:23:54.60
  5. Anna Olasz, HUN, 5:23:55.0
  6. Anastasia Krapivina, RUS, 5:24:03.70
  7. Becca Mann, USA, 5:27:06.90
  8. Aurelie Muller, FRA, 5:28:25.30
  9. Chelsea Gubecka, AUS, 5:28:41.60
  10. Cathryn Salladin, USA, 5:29:49.70

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5 years ago

Go Bruno Mars!

Swim Mom Yo
5 years ago

Fun to watch on The Olympic Channel.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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