Courtesy: European Aquatics
The stage is set for the last grand battle in the LEN Open Water Cup as all swimmers gunning for the overall title will line up in Barcelona for the final leg.
Italy’s Mario Sanzullo enjoys a 400-point lead in the men’s field, still, in this sport nothing can be taken for granted.
Back in August, Marcelo Guidi finished first and gained 250 points on his team-mate, who finished 4th in Samorin.
After the fourth leg Guidi took the lead in the overall, but he didn’t attend the next stage in Veles where Sanzullo came runner-up and bagged 700 points. That put him in pole position to claim the overall title, he has to stay close to his fellow and even if he doesn’t beat him, he just needs to make sure there won’t be more than four swimmers between them at the finish.
As for the field gathering in Barcelona, this leg marks the return of French world champion Marc-Antoine Olivier who had to serve an in-house suspension in the summer.
Olivier, winner of the first leg in Eilat, can make a splash in this last stop and his speed and tactics may have an impact of the whole race which may also cause some stir among the hunters for the top overall positions.
The women’s race will be even more thrilling for sure as all three contenders for the overall title will be ready to rock once more. Italy’s Arianna Bridi, the current leader, has a slim advantage ahead of Bettina Fabian of Hungary, and Germany’s Lea Boy may also have a say at the end.
These three secured the podium place in the last three legs:
Leg 3: 1. Boy, 2. Bridi, 3. Fabian
Leg 4: 1. Boy, 2. Fabian, 3. Bridi
Leg 5: 1. Fabian, 2. Boy, 3. Bridi
Since only 50 points separate Bridi and Fabian, the finish shall be tremendously exciting. The top three receive the following number of points: 800-700-600 – so all Fabian needs is to finish ahead of the Italian; while Bridi’s task is simple – keep the young Hungarian behind herself.
Since Boy missed the first two legs, her chances of finishing atop are not that strong as she trails 450 points to Bridi and 400 to Fabian, and the other two seem too strong to vanish during the race and earn fewer points than required to keep the top spots.
Here Germany’s Jeanette Spiwoks and Hungary’s 2021 European Championship silver medallist Anna Olasz may cause some headaches for the ‘big three’.
The race starts at 12.00 (the ladies jump in 10min later) and can be followed live on our website www.len.eu
Overall standings – after 5 Legs
Men (Top 5)
1. Mario Sanzullo (ITA) 2900
2. Marcello Guidi (ITA) 2500
3. Domenico Acerenza (ITA) 1500
4. Andrea Filadelli (ITA) 1310
5. Pasquale Giordano (ITA) 1100
Women (Top 5)
1. Arianna Bridi (ITA) 2750
2. Bettina Fabian (HUN) 2700
3. Lea Boy (GER) 2300
4. Ginevra Taddeucci (ITA) 1500
5. Silvia Ciccarella (ITA) 1300