Marcelo La Gattina, FINA Press Correspondent in Argentina
Federico Vanelli and Arianna Bridi, both from Italy, were the winners of the first race of the 2017 FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup, which was held in Patagones-Viedma (ARG) on February 4.
The competition was quite challenging, with swimmers facing wind, rain and cold weather, but Vanelli took the decisive initiative with half race to go.
“I wanted to go easy in the first two laps, so that I could analyse the water conditions and also control my main opponents. This strategy paid off and I could attack in the right moment”, considered the winner in Argentina.
The podium was completed by another Italian, Simone Ruffini, who got the silver, while France’s David Aubry earned bronze. “It’s the first race of the season, so I feel quite satisfied with this second place. My 2017 objective are the FINA World Championships in Budapest, and I hope I can arrive there in good shape”, declared Ruffini.
The best Argentinean in home waters was Guillermo Bertola, fourth in the men’s race: “I am quite happy and definitively inspired for the events to come. Conditions were difficult, so I did the best I could”, confessed the South American swimmer.
The winning strategy also worked for the Italians in the women’s competition. With 2.5km to go, Arianna Bridi took a decisive lead and could ensure enough difference to get the gold in Viedma.
Bruni (ITA) and Okimoto (BRA) fighting for the silver medal
Behind Bridi, two swimmers fought for the silver: her teammate Rachele Bruni and Brazil’s Poliana Okimoto. The European star seemed to have some advantage, but could not hold the rhythm until the end and had to share the second place with Okimoto. Both swimmers were also in the Rio 2016 Olympic podium, with Bruni getting the silver and Okimoto the bronze.
With 38 swimmers taking the plunge in Argentinean waters, the event had to be re-scheduled (the start was earlier than programmed), as the weather conditions deteriorated during the day. In the end of the race, the heavy rain was an additional challenge for the participants, officials and spectators, that nonetheless came numerous to witness the competition.