In the first race of the 2011 FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup took place in Santos, Brazil today, with Germany’s Thomas Lurz coming away with the title and the first big points of the season, along with the $2,500 purse. Lurz was the 2009 champion of this series, and finished 6th last season. The runner-up was Greece’s Spyridon Gianniotis, who landed 18 big points that already triples his total from last season.
Lurz is on a bit of a hot streak, as he won the final race of the series last year: a victory that was overshadowed by the tragic death of Fran Crippen.
All reports are that the race went off without a hitch. For their part, USA-Swimming was said to have maintained near-continuous contact with the father of Olympian Mark Warkentin, who was his only accompaniment in Brazil. He finished 8th as the only American in the race, roughly 16 seconds behind the winner.
Temperatures were near-ideal for open water swimming, with water temperatures at about 26 C (78 F) and air temps of about 24 C (72 F).
The women’s race was won by Cecilia Biagoli of Argentina, who finished outside of the top 30 in the world in the series last year. She is a 3-time Olympian, and a very accomplished pool swimmer, having won 7 medals (3 gold) at the 2006 South American Games, and the 200 free title at last year’s meet.
Crippen was surely on the mind of all of the competitors at this race, which has undoubtedly been dedicated in his memory by many, if not all, participants. Meet organizers, however, chose not to hold a moment of silence for the fallen swimmer, despite many swimmers (including Lurz) indicating that they had expected one. This race fell on what would have been Crippen’s 27th birthday.
Interestingly, FINA (without announcement) has removed the UAE stop from its schedule that was previously listed as “TBD”. This was probably a prudent decision. The series will now conclude in Hong Kong on October 2nd.