2019 World Beach Games – Open Water
Yesterday, 28 women and 28 men competed in the 5k open water swim at the inaugural World Beach Games in Doha, Qatar. The Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) was set to host the Games in San Diego in 2017 until they had to pull out due to lack of funding. The Games were then postponed to 2019 when Qatar picked up the event. The Open Water races took place at Katara Beach in the Persian Gulf.
In the men’s race, Italy’s Marcello Guidi took home the gold medal, finishing in 55:25. He was closely followed by Denis Adeev of Russia (55:26) and Soeren Meissner (55:28) for second and third, respectively.
Men’s Top 8
- Marcello Guidi (ITA) – 55:25
- Denis Adeev (RUS) – 55:26
- Soeren Meissner (GER) – 55:28
- Fernando Estanislau (BRA) – 55:29
- David Castro (ECU) – 55:32
- Krzysztof Pielowski (POL) – 55:33
- Guillem Pujol (ESP) – 55:34
- Yuval Safra (ISR) – 55:37
On the women’s side, Brazilian Ana de Jesus Soares finished in first, just under an hour (59:51). Yawen Hou of China came second with a time of 59:52 and German Leonie Beck from Germany took third in 59:53.
Women’s Top 8
- Ana Marcela Cunha (BRA) – 59:51
- Yawen Hou (CHN) – 59:52
- Leonie Beck (GER) – 59:53
- Giulia Gabbrielleschi (ITA) – 59:55
- Fang Qu (CHN) – 1:00:00
- Maria Bramont (PER) – 1:00:01
- Maria de Valdes (ESP) – 1:00:38
- Samantha Arevalo (ECU) – 1:00:45
Both the men’s and women’s results were a couple of minutes slower than those recorded at the 2019 Fina World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea in July. Marcello Guidi’s winning time of 55:25 was a minute and a half slower than his 17th place finish in Gwangju. Ana Marcela Cunha (listed in results as Ana de Jesus Soares) was nearly two minutes slower than her winning time in Gwangju (57:56:00). But, with warm conditions, slower times are not much of a surprise.
Time comparisons between different open water races, however, are not indicative of performance as every course’s water conditions and format vary. For this reason, the selection process for the Olympics is based on placing at pre-selected qualification events, rather than on times.
The water temperature was of particular note yesterday, with the official reported temperate at 30.9 degrees Celsius, or 87.6 Fahrenheit. The water was just barely inside of FINA’s acceptable range of temperature for official competition (16-31 Celsius, 60.8-87.8 Fahrenheit). The race took place in the same body of water where Fran Crippen died during a 2010 FINA Marathon Swim Series while racing in hot conditions. One observer of the race Tweeted that rumors on site were that the water was warmer than the official 30.9 C announced temperature. The water temperature tracking site reported temperatures of 32 Celsius today in Doha, though that temperature reading isn’t necessarily localized to the exact race course.
Much controversy over the water temperature today with suggestions that it was hotter than FINA announced. pic.twitter.com/fTYnThXuNm
— High Performance Open Water (@HPOWswimming) October 13, 2019
Leading up to the event, Swimming Canada and USA Swimming both decided to withdraw their athletes from the races. Both cited the anticipated water temperatures as their reason to not compete. Haley Anderson and Ashley Twichell were the only two athletes set to represent the USA in Doha. Anderson and Twichell both secured spots on the U.S. 2020 Olympic Team in the 10k open water with 2nd and 6th place finishes, respectively at the 2019 Fina World Championships.
Team Canada had planned on sending Chantel Jeffrey, Kate Sanderson, Eric Hedlin and Raben Dommann to compete in Qatar. All four of the athletes competed at Worlds in July, highlighted by Eric Hedlin’s bronze medal performance in the 5k. So far, Canada does not have any athletes qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games but have potential qualifiers on both the men’s and women’s side.
The first ever World Beach Games continues until Wednesday, with events including beach soccer, beach tennis and kitefoil racing underway. Thus far, Spain is at the top of the medal table with 4 golds and two bronzes, followed by Japan with 3 golds and 2 silvers. Italy is in third place with two golds and one silver.