By Steven Munatones, Swimming World open world correspondent
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil, December 14. AUSTRALIA's Trent Grimsey won the inaugural King of the Sea Challenge (Rei Do Mar Desafio) on the planned 2016 Rio Olympics 10K marathon swim course today.
Grimsey used a 6-beat kick and a 88 stroke-per-minute tempo to pull away on the third of five loops over South Africa's Chad Ho, Germany's Alexander Studzinski and Brazil's two-time Olympian Luiz Lima.
The entire race was televised live on TV Globo, Brazil's largest broadcaster. The unique race had a staggered start based on yesterday's 400-meter ocean sprint and required the swimmers to run 100 meters on soft sand between each loop. With music blaring and fans lining the course, the TV cameras and spectators were able to enjoy close-up views of the swimmers.
The new professional race saw numerous lead changes over the planned 2016 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim course on Copacabana Beach.
Trent was pulling up the rear during the first two loops, but he bid his time until the third loop when he opened up a 40-meter lead. "Tactics played a big part of this race. It is 10K, so it is a long way. I made my break on the third loop when Chad [Ho] and Alexander [Studzinski] swam closer to shore."
Third-place Alexander Studzinski said, "I did not see him, but every time we ran on the beach, my legs cramped up. Chad and I swam into the finish together, but Chad got me on the run [up the beach]. But we worked well together and tried to catch Trent at the end."
Lima, a crowd favorite partly due to his unprecedented 37-kilometer swim across the beaches of Rio de Janeiro last year, nearly closed the gap on the top three with a furious finish, but he was gracious in defeat. "This is good for Rio and I really had fun. We should do more events like this."
Trent summed up everyone's impressions, "I'd love to come back to Rio. It's a great spot for a great race. I'll be 28 [years old] by 2016…"
The results were as follows:
1. Trent Grimsey (Australia), 1:35:03
2. Chad Ho (South Africa), 1:35:34
3. Alexander Studzinski (Germany), 1:35:36
4. Luiz Lima (Brazil), 1:35:37
5. Filipe Alcântara (Brazil), 1:35:45
6. Glauco Rangel (Brazil), 1:36:21
7. Ivan Lopez (Mexico), 1:36:22
8. Fabio Lima (Brazil), 1:36:23
9. Daniel Katzir (Israel), 1:36:32
10. Carlos Pavão (Brazil), 1:36:44