By Sid Cassidy
CANCUN, Mexico, November 3. YESTERDAY, the final FINA Marathon World Cup event of 2003 – the Banamex 10K Maraton – was held in the beautiful seaside tourist town of Cancun, Mexico.
As anticipted, the race was very exciting with only three seconds separating the top three men, and the women's race almost as close.
Under the able direction of meet director Nora Toledano, the local organizing committee, aided by the Mexican Swimming Federation, ran the event without a hitch.
The 10K (6.2 mile) race was held in beautiful weather, though challenging winds forced promoters to shorten the amateur race, scheduled to begin at 9am, to a 5K event.
The elite swimmers, whose race began two hours later, met the windy challenge but were assisted when the winds died down a bit during the course of the race.
The event was set up as four loops of a 2.5K circuit and for the first time in a FINA race electronic chips were used to record the splits of each swimmer as they passed through the start/finish gate.
The men's race came down to an extremely close finish between two Frenchmen, actually requiring the referee to view the official race video to confirm the judges' decision.
Emmanuel Poissier was confirmed as the winner in one hour 47 minutes six seconds. Teammate Stephan Gomez was second, officially one second behind the winner, while Argentina's Damiaqn Blaum was third in 1:47:09.
The top three women stayed with the lead men's pack through 6000 meters and finished within four minutes of the male winners. The surprise of the day for this observer was the tremendous effort by Briley Bergen (USA-SIU), who captured the silver medal (1:50:58) with a very strong swim — certainly her best ever. She was ecstatic to finish ahead of noted German star Angela Mauer (1:50:59) and just behind the reknowned German ace Britta Kamrau, the winner in 1:50:44. Erica Rose finished eighth for the USA.
1-Emmanuel Poissier – FRA 1:47:06
2- Stephane Gomez – FRA 1:47:07
3- Damiaqn Blaum – ARG 1:47:09
4- Ivan Lopez – MEX 1:47:36
5- Yannick Rieg – FRA 1:47:37
6- Gabrielle Chaillou – ARG 1:47:40
7- Rafael Perez – ARG 1:47:51
8- Igor Majcen – SLO 1:47:54
1- Britta Kamrau – GER 1:50:44
2- Briley Bergen – USA 1:50:58
3- Angela Maurer – GER 1:50:59
4- Paloma Lopez – MEX 2:00:34
5- Claudia Barsi – HUN 2:01:04
6- Natalia Pankina – RUS 2:01:42
7- Trudee Hutchinson – AUS 2:02:43
8- Erica Rose – USA 2:03:19
Final FINA World Cup rankings
1-Petar Stoychev – BUL 119 points
2-Gabrielle Chaillou ARG 55
3-Rafael Perez ARG 52
4-Stephane Gomez FRA 51
5-Igor Majcen SLO 50
6-Yuri Koudinov RUS 39
7-Mohammed El Zanaty EGY 32
8T-Mark Saliba AUS 23
8T-Josh Santacatarina AUS 23
1-Britta Kamrau GER 97
2-Angela Mauer GER 85
3-Natalia Pankina RUS 67
4-Celeste Punet ARG 58
5-Shelley Clark AUS 50
6-Teodora Raptis MKD 40
7-Nadia Kruger SUI 32
8-Melissa Doyle CAN 24