First Couple of Open Water Win FINA World Cup

By Steven Munatones

SINGAPORE, October 6. THE first couple of the open water swimming performed well on the Singapore stop on the FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup tour on October 4.

Olympic champion Larisa Ilchenko won the women's race while her boyfriend of three years, Daniil Serebrennikov, shared the podium with Valerio Cleri of Italy as they tied in the exact time of 2:09.20.25.

Cleri has five 2008 FINA World Cup victories in 2008 together with his one bronze in the 2008 pro circuit. If he participates in the season-ending Cancun race, then he will lock up the 2008 overall series title. The overall FINA World Cup series winners, both male and female, receive an additional $15,000.

Ilchenko has three golds and a silver during the 2008 circuit. Serebrennikov has one gold and two silvers.

In a post-race interview with Shelley Taylor-Smith, Ilchenko laughed as she explained her relationship with Serebrennikov, "The first year my coach said OK. The second year not OK and this year OK," as she referred to her gold medal performance at the Olympic 10K event. Ilchenko and Serebrennikov train together in their hometown, apparently motivating each other to train hard.

Ilchenko revealed to Taylor-Smith, "I have not taken a day off in 2008. I only had 7 days out of the water in 2007. I am tired. My mind and my body. I am looking forward to some time off I hope."

In a typically exciting open water finish, Serebrennikov and Cleri finished a stroke ahead of Egypt's Mazen Mohamed Aziz who took bronze only one second behind in 2:09.21.08. Less than a second behind was fourth place Yury Kudinov of Russia with a time of 2:09.21.99.

Aziz has earned a medal of every color during the 2008 World Cup season, making up for just missing qualification in the Beijing Olympic 10K.

In her trademark fashion, Ilchenko outsprinted Brazil's Ana Marcela Cunha and Germany's Angela Maurer who took the silver and bronze medals respectively. In addition to her close fourth-place finish at the Olympics, Maurer has one gold, one silver and three bronze medals during the 2008 FINA World Cup season and is leading the current rankings going into the season-ending race in Cancun, Mexico.

The results are as follows:

1. Valerio Cleri in 2:09.20.25
1. Daniil Serebrennikov in 2:09.20.25
3. Mazen Mohamed Aziz in 2:09.21.08

1. Larisa Ilchenko in 2:16.22.00
2. Ana Marcela Cunha in 2:16.25.09
3. Angela Maurer in 2:16.27.32

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