Both races offered a thrilling finish at the 5th leg of the LEN Open Water Cup in Veles (MKD). Italy’s Pasquale Giordano managed to out-touch teammate Mario Sanzullo, while Hungary’s Bettina Fabian was a stroke faster than Lea Boy of Germany.
The men’s event turned into an in-house battle of the Italians, their five swimmers decided the top spots among themselves. Mario Sanzullo, sitting second in the overall rankings, was the favorite in the absence of leader Marcelo Guidi, still, Pasquale Giordano had more left in the tank to win it at the end. The first four stormed to the finish line in a span of one second but Giordano was the fastest, by 0.72 seconds, and Sanzullo just hit the panel 0.16sec ahead of Giuseppe Ilario.
Though Sanzullo lost 100 points as he finished only runner-up, that fast touch for the silver still earned him 100 more points which might have an impact on the overall. Now he leads by 400 points with one leg remaining.
😱 A dramatic conclusion to leg 5 of the LEN OW #Swimming Cup in Veles. Your winners are…
— LEN – European Aquatics (@LENaquatics) September 3, 2023
The women’s race couldn’t have been any more thrilling as the top three seeded in the overall staged a neck-to-neck battle in North Macedonia as well. They did something similar in Samorin three weeks ago, though there Lea Boy geared up in the last lap to leave everyone behind. In Veles, it was a different story – Bettina Fabian, who had just restarted trainings shortly before the previous leg, now, with three more weeks spent in practice, could hold on with the German. Last time Boy’s winning gap was 20 seconds – now that disappeared, it all came down to the touches and Fabian had a stroke advantage at the panel to clinch the first place.
With Bridi coming third, the overall now is as tight as it could be: Bridi’s lead was cut to 50 points ahead of Fabian, but Boy may also have a chance if she could come up big in Barcelona again – we’ll see that in three weeks’ time.
LEN Open Water Cup, Leg 5, Veles (MKD)
1. Pasquale Giordano (ITA) 1:56:15.781
2. Mario Sanzullo (ITA) 1:56:15.500
3. Giuseppe Ilario (ITA) 1:56:16.667
1. Bettina Fabian (HUN) 2:07:34.452
2. Lea Boy (GER) 02:07:34.722
3. Arianna Bridi (ITA) 2:07:36.365
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