FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix Opens in Capri-Napoli

LAUSANNE, Switzerland, June 22. THE FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix 2009 returned yesterday (Sunday, June 21) with the staging of the 5th race of this year's 9-stage circuit – the 36km Maratona Del Golfo Capri-Napoli, or Capri-Napoli International Swimming Marathon. The winner of this epic race – a test of endurance and mental strength – was Rotislav Vitek (CZE) in 6h42m55s. Vitek, as one of the Olympic swimmers who contested the inaugural 10km marathon swim in Beijing, was a favourite to win this race and did not disappoint. Vitek has been performing well in the 2009 series, and his results include a bronze medal from Race 1 (Santa Fe, ARG).

Taking silver in 6h56m57s was Andrea Volpini (ITA), a seasoned open water swimmer and a distance specialist. In FINA terms, Volpini (ITA) is known for finishing a respectable 7th in the 25km at the 2007 Melbourne World Championships, although in the 2006 World Cup series he also picked up two bronze medals (including one for the Capri-Napoli stage). The bronze went to Edoardo Stochino (ITA) in 7h04m05s. Finishing in 4th and 5th were Gabriel Villagoiz (ARG) in 7h08m17s and Mohammed Saleh (SYR) in 7h17m05s respectively. Damian Blaum (ARG) retired from the race, as did Daniel Katzir (ISR), who finished 9th at the Seville World Open Water Championships last year.

Medallists from Capri-Napoli:

1. Rotislav Vitek (CZE) 6h42m55s
2. Andrea Volpini (ITA) 6h56m57s
3. Edoardo Stochino (ITA) 7h04m05s

1. Camilla Frediani (ITA) 7h59m36s
2. Pilar Geijo (ARG) 8h10m09s
3. Marianela Mendoza (ARG) 8h30m27s

Among women, this is a nice victory for the young Camilla Frediani (born 1987), who has continued to hold her own in the 2009 Grand Prix series, despite being unlucky when it comes to medals. Frediani is improving as she gains experience. She finished 12th in the 25km at the FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships – Seville 2008, and she just missed the podium in several races on last year's Grand Prix circuit. In Capri-Napoli she did well to defeat Pilar Geijo, who has also had strong results in the series, but still awaits her first medal. Finishing in 4th and 5th respectively were Laura Volpi (ITA) in 8h40m52s and Noelia Petti (ARG) in 8h55m47s.

The next Grand Prix race is scheduled for July 18 at Ohrid Lake, Republic of Macedonia.

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