American Claire Weinstein Wins World Aquatics Open Water Cup Finale

Photo Courtesy: Peter H. Bick

American Claire Weinstein Wins World Aquatics Open Water Cup Finale

American Claire Weinstein won the final installment of the 2023 World Aquatics Open Water Cup on Saturday in Funchal, Portugal.

Weinstein led three Americans in the top five and win came ahead of a crowd of contenders for the season title, with Germany’s Leonie Beck doing enough to edge out Sharon Van Rouwendaal.

Domenico Acerenza of Italy won the men’s race, while Kristof Rasovszky of Hungary did enough to secure the series title.

Weinstein covered the 10-kilometer course in 1 hour, 56 minutes, 54.30 seconds. She went to the lead in the fifth lap of six and opened up a gap of more than a minute on the runner-up, Bettina Fabian of Hungary. Fabian touched in 1:58:07.50.

It’s the first major international win for Weinstein, a 16-year-old from New York who swims for Sandpipers of Nevada.

“This is only my second international open water race, so I just kind of wanted to go in and do my best,” Weinstein told USA Swimming. “Swimming in wavy water is definitely difficult for me; I’m used to the pool, so I like it when it’s flat. I just wanted to stay at the front of the pack and see how good I could do. I’m not really that good at being in the back and moving up, so I just wanted to stay in front and hopefully hold it.”

Fabian was two seconds ahead of the crowd, with France’s Oceane Cassignol touching two tenths ahead of American Mariah Denigan. A further two tenths back was Katie Grimes in fifth.

The series title contenders were busy shadowboxing.  Beck hung with van Rouwendaal and edged her by a tenth for seventh place. That gave the German 2,140 points in the four-event season series, edging van Rouwendaal by 40 points.

France’s Caroline Laure Jouisse finished 10th on Saturday and third overall in the series. Denigan was the highest American finisher in the series, in eighth.

Bettina won the women’s junior ranking with 1,500 points, ahead of Weinstein and Grimes.

American Olympian Ashley Twichell finished 35th, and Leah DeGeorge was 60th.

In the men’s race, Acerenza pulled away from the field to secure a margin of 5.5 seconds over Australian Nicholas Sloman to get to the pad first. Acerenza’s time was 1:45.06.20. Rasovszky came in safely in third to add another medal and secure his series title with 2,500 points. Second was Italy’s Marcello Guidi with 2,000 points. Guidi finished 10th on Saturday. Acerenza rose to fourth in the standings.

The top American finisher was Ivan Puskovitch, in 24th place.

The Funchal race, which had been due to take place in Israel but was moved due to war there, concludes Sunday with a 4 x 1,500 meter relay.

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