GDYNIA, Poland, August 23. ALEX Meyer and Christine Jennings pulled off decisive victories in rough and chilly waters today at the BCT Gdynia Marathon swim in northern Poland.
Swimming in the Bay of Gdansk, part of the Baltic Sea, Meyer won the 19-kilometer swim in three hours, 53 minutes and 32 seconds in the eight-man field. For Meyer, the distance wasn’t so grueling, as he’s the 2010 world champion in the 25K. Vladimir Dyatchin of Russia, a two-time world champion, paced Meyer throughout the swim, placing second in 4:07:24. Sebastian Karas of Poland took third in 4:14:48.
On the women’s side, the big story was not who won, but who was unable to finish. With the water temperature hovering around 20 degrees Celsius, or 68 degrees Fahrenheit, swimmers chose to wear wetsuits, but that wasn’t enough to keep American Emily Brunemann from experiencing hypothermia and ending the race about halfway through the swim.
Good race experience but a little disappointed, h/e I know it was the right decision. Temp was 95.5 when I got out but doing much better now— Emily Brunemann (@EmilyBrunemann) August 23, 2013
American Christine Jennings was able to win the women’s division in a five-woman field by two minutes with a 4:13:57, defending her title from last year. Alexandra Sokolova of Russia took second in 4:15:46 while Ines Hahn of Germany was third in 4:24:24. Olga Beresnyeva of Ukraine rounded out the women’s competition in 4:31:48.
Great job to @CJennings303 today for the win,and to @EmilyBrunemann for making the smart,difficult choice to stop.Your prayers were answered— Alex Meyer (@AlexMeyerSwims) August 23, 2013
For their efforts, Meyer and Jennings each won $10,000. The remainder of the $28,000 cash prize pool was distributed to other top finishers.
The field of competitors is always small at the BCT Gydnia Marathon swim. Organizers invite the top open water swimmers to race such a long distance, as the race conditions are only deemed safe for experienced athletes. The first race was held in 2011, with 50 participants swimming only three kilometers. In 2012, the race was extended to 10 miles. The 2013 edition was two miles longer.