2021 European Aquatics Championships: Reymond & Boy Take Final Open Water Titles

Axel Reymond 25k European Championships
Axel Reymond: Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Axel Reymond and Lea Boy claimed the final gold medals of the open water programme at the European Aquatics Championships with victory in the respective men’s and women’s 25k races at Lupa Beach.

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25k men podium 2021 European Championships

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Reymond, winner of the last two world titles, moved from ninth to first at the halfway stage and maintained that lead throughout to stop the clock at 4hrs 35mins 59.8secs.

Matteo Furlan of Italy moved from third with 750m remaining to take second in 4:36:05.01, one place ahead of Russian Kirill Abrosimov whose final charge of 7:34.4 propelled him from sixth to third.

Reymond admitted he had felt a sense of expectation as he aimed for his third European 25k title and fourth medal overall.

So too was he glad to have prevented an Italian clean sweep of the men’s titles, saying:

“It was a really good race. I tried to increase my lead a bunch of times but that was difficult since we are all swimming at the same speed, more or less, because of the wetsuits.

“So I decided just to stay ahead and do my own thing at my own pace.

“I felt really good leading. Once we went by the last fuelling station, I started to accelerate.

“I saw nobody was trying really hard to keep up with me, so I thought, ‘Okay, I can win this.’

“Of course, there was a lot of pressure [as the reigning two-time World champion].

“I tried not to think about it too much and to stay serene.

“I just wanted to win the European title again, I know the Italians were fighting for it.

“They wanted to win this race because they have won every other one here.

“So I am very happy to have shown that I am still here.”

Furlan added:

france open water 25k

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

“I’m really happy to make the podium after such a tough race. I had a very tough duel with the Russian guy, that burnt a lot of energy and made it impossible to think of catching Axel.

“However, I’m extremely proud as I was the oldest man in the leading pack and I could still win a medal and that’s so great.”

The march of covid-19 meant the Europeans were postponed from May 2020, something Abrosimov acknowledged as he revelled in finishing among the medals in his maiden 25k, saying:

 “I was waiting for these Championships so long, fortunately, it took place – that’s why I competed in all disciplines.

“I’m so happy that I can finally smile in the mixed zone and enjoy the moment of winning a medal.

“It’s the first time I ever did 25 km and won a bronze right away, it’s incredible!

“At the same time, I was well prepared both physically and psychologically, I wasn’t nervous before the start.

“It was a great experience, now I understand how to strategically plan such a long distance in future.

“Today the tactics were to save energy for the last kilometres, then I pushed myself forward right before the finish.”

Boy, who claimed silver on Saturday as part of the German quartet that finished second in the team event, traded the lead with team-mate Elea Linka before taking over at 21,750m.

The 21-year-old extended her lead from that point to take the title in 4:53:57.0.

Frenchwoman and 2018 bronze medallist Lara Grangeon overturned a 1.5-sec deficit at the final marker to prevail in a sprint finish with Barbara Pozzobon and claim silver by 0.03 in 4:54:58.4.

Pozzobon took bronze in 4:54:58.7 as Italy concluded a fine campaign in the open water that has brought eight medals.

women's 25k lake lupa 2021 European Aquatics Championships

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Boy was shocked by her victory, saying:

“It was a very tough race. This was my second 25km, I didn’t have any plan – I just wanted to swim the race, not really expecting anything, just trying to push the last one-and-a-half laps.

“To be honest, I was the most surprised when I saw that no-one could come with me.”

For Grangeon, persistence and determination brought her the silver medal and the greatest pleasure as she said:

“I am so happy, mostly because of my mindset.

“I wanted to give up multiple times during this race.

“It was one of the hardest races of my career, I also got hit and had yet another side stitch.

“But then I told myself, ‘Lara, you’re representing France. If this happens at the Olympics, you can’t give up.’

“I had to use this as experience and to give it my all until the end. I am very happy about my performance and how far I could push myself mentally.”

women's 25k podium 2021 European Aquatics Championships

Photo Courtesy: Deepbluemedia/Insidefoto

Pozzobon was also delighted with her bronze, saying:

“This medal is a prize for so many years of hard work. This is the first international medal and the most important one I’ve ever won.

“The race was very hard – yesterday I had so much pain but today I was feeling well. It was not possible to catch up with the German girl so I had to battle with the French, she was faster than me at the finish line but I’m still very happy with this bronze.”

Gregorio Paltrinieri won the 5/10k double with Dario Verani making it an Italy one-three in the former with Giulia Gabrielleschi (5k silver) and Rachele Bruni (10k bronze) also on the individual podium before Sunday’s two-strong medal charge.

Not to forget Saturday’s title in the team event meaning Paltrinieri heads to the pool with three gold medals in his cabinet.



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