ATLANTIC CITY, NJ. David Meca-Medina (Spain) and Igor Majcen (Slovenia) who finished first and third in the 1999 Around the Island Marathon Swim and whose results were later disallowed by FINA, the international governing body for swimming, will return to Atlantic City July 15 to compete in the 2000 Around the Island Swim and defend not only the titles they lost, but also their honor. The July 15 event is the fourth of 10 FINA World Cup open water marathon events that take place on three continents.
The two swimmers were denied their prize money and stripped of their first and third place wins on the World Cup rankings because they were accused and found guilty of steroid use in an earlier World Cup race in South America. The case is again under review by the International Court of Arbitration for Sport and the swimmers are cleared to compete in World Cup competition pending the court’s final decision.
Meca-Medina and Majcen will face 28 of the world’s top marathon swimmers including German Andre Wilde who was eventually declared the champion of the 1999 race and American Gabe Lindsey who placed fourth, but was later moved to second place following the disqualification.
"I am eager to return to Atlantic City and leave as a champion, not with a cloud hanging over my head," said Meca-Medina whose 6:56:43 finish was a new course record.
The 2000 Around the Island Marathon Swim will include the world’s top five professional male and female marathoners as well as the top finishers from the 1999 race. The field also includes the largest U.S. and New Jersey contingents and the first Cuban swimmer to every challenge Absecon Island’s 22.5 mile circumference.
"The Around the Island Swim has drawn an international field since 1954, but this is by far the most impressive group of competitors to ever swim in Atlantic City,” said Race Director Sid Cassidy.
"Not only do we have the world’s top-ranked swimmers, but we also have local talent like Sean Brennan, a lifeguard from Sea Girt, who set a new record at the Chesapeake Bay swim,” said Cassidy. “John Kenny, an Atlantic City Lifeguard beat Gabe Lindsey in USA Swimming’s 25K Open Water National Championship in Daytona Beach three weeks ago, so he’s a real contender, too.”
In addition to the professional race, amateur soloists, including Tiffany Sawin a 1999 Rutgers University Big East Academic All-Star and winner of the 1997 Miss America Pageant Swim, and Jim Mucciarone, a Margate native and soon-to-be-retired Navy Seal are slated to compete. Seven relay teams, including a team of four disabled swimmers, will take to the waters July 15. As the marathoners proceed, mile and two mile races will also start and finish at Gardner’s Basin.
"Every race is very competitive and has some element of intrigue,” said Cassidy. “This will be a very exciting day in open water swimming."
For additional information concerning the Around the Island Marathon Swim, please call 1 – 888-AC VISIT or visit the swim’s website at WWW.ACSWIM.ORG