FINA World Open Water Championships Begins This Weekend

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, July 16. THE city of Roberval (Québec, CAN) will welcome from July 17-22, 2010 the 6th edition of the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships, with events of 5km, 10km and 25km, for both men and women. Roberval and its Lac St-Jean have a great tradition in this discipline hosting annual races included in the FINA series of the 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup and Open Water Swimming Grand Prix.

After Honolulu (USA) 2000, Sharm El Sheikh (EGY) 2002, Dubai (UAE) 2004, Naples (ITA) 2006 and Seville (ESP) 2008, this sixth edition will mark the end of these championships as such. The inclusion of the discipline (10km event, for men and women) in the Olympic programme and the FINA desire to enhance the development in the junior age group led to the creation of a FINA World Junior Open Water Swimming Championships, starting in 2012. The "open" competition will from now be limited to the Olympic Games and FINA World Championships (with the remaining aquatic disciplines).

Many confirmed stars and revelations for the future will be present in Roberval.

In the 5km event, the man to beat is certainly Thomas Lurz (GER), the 2009 world champion in this distance (and in the 10km). But Allan do Carmo (BRA), Spyridon Gianniotis (GRE, second in Rome 2009), Chad Ho (RSA, third at the World Championships), the Russian experienced duet formed by Evgeny Drattsev and Daniil Serebrennikov, and Americans Francis Crippen and Chip Peterson will surely be strong challengers to Lurz's supremacy. The situation is quite similar in the 10km, but in this race the field is still more balanced if we add Bulgaria's Petar Stoychev or Italy's Valerio Cleri. In the longer distance (25km), many new names appear on the start list, but the presence of Stoychev, Damian Blaum (ARG), Bertrand Venturi (FRA) or Rostislav Vitek (CZE) should assure an interesting race.

Among women, Brazil's Ana Marcela Cunha and Poliana Okimoto are strong cards in the 5km and 10km, as well as Great Britain's Keri-Anne Payne and Cassandra Patten (respectively silver and bronze medallist at the 2008 Olympics). Other potential medallists include Ekaterina Seliverstova (RUS, 5km and 10km), Jana Pechanova (CZE, also in the two shorter races), Melissa Gorman (AUS, 10km), Angela Maurer (GER, 10km), Martina Grimaldi (ITA, 10km) and Larisa Ilchenko (RUS, 10km). In the 25km event, Italians Grimaldi and Federica Vitale, as well as Russians Anna Uvarova and Ksenia Popova seem in better position for the leading places.

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