Ana Marcela Cunha Kicks Off Great Season In Brazil

Ana Marcela Cunha Kicks Off Great Season In Brazil

Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

Christiane Fanzeres, Marathon Swimming Supervisor of the Brazilian Swimming Federation, provided some insight on Ana Marcela Cunha who won the first race of the 2010 FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup season in Santos (Maratona Aquatica Internacional de Santos) where she just put on the afterburners in the last 200 meters.

Ana Marcela is from Bahia, a state in the northeast of Brazil, where open water swimming is very very popular.

She moved to Santos three years ago, so she is considered local, which explains the great support she has there
,” said Christiane as Ana Marcela was carried off by her fans after her upset victory.

She was sick last year at the last FINA 10KM Marathon Swimming World Cup race in Sharjah [United Arab Emirates], although she competed in 9 of the 12 events on the circuit. She won one race, had several silver and bronze medals and was third in the overall season rankings. But, she is really wants the title this year [which was won by teammate Poliana Okimoto. She is now in Viedma, Argentina for the next event on the FINA circuit.”

It was unbelievable how sunny race day was. We had a great live Internet broadcast of the race as well as a live feed from Sportv here in Brazil. So lots of people saw the race on TV and the Internet as well as the large crowd who was at the race.”

The water conditions were really good, considering the race was held in the open sea. The water was calm, except for one point of the course, near the third buoy, and hot, hot, hot.

In the women’s race, Chloe Sutton led most of the way (shown on left). I think she paid for that at the end of the race because it was really hot.

Larisa Ilchenko followed her same conservative strategy, sitting in second place behind the leaders as she always does, but at the end, even Larisa was not able to hold off Ana Marcela. Ana Marcela sprinted to victory, finishing ahead of the two Italians, Martina Grimaldi and Alice Franco. Larisa took fourth in a very close final touch with Linsy Heister, from Holland

During the men’s race, there were several changes. The finish had to been reviewed very carefully by the referees with Evgeny Drattsev (shown on left) finishing ahead of Chad Ho. To the satisfaction of the local fans, Brazilian Allan do Carmo finished third. The announcement of the final results on the men’s side took a while because the referees had to look, re-look and confirm every finisher [who came in so close].”

Other than the race, the Russian national team spent twenty days in Santos, before the race. They came with their A team, B team and junior team. Santos offers perfect conditions for a open water swimming camp because they have a 50-meter pool, gym and the athletes stay in a hotel in front of the beach. So they can swim at the beach and at the swimming pool, as much as they want.”

Ana Marcela, Poliana, Allan (shown on left) and Filipe Alcantara, another baiano or someone from Bahia, will represent Brazil at the 2010 World Open Water Swimming Championships in Roberval, Canada in July. In Brazil [for the rest of the season, we have our 5K world championship trials on February 28th at Porto Belo in the state of Santa Catarina in southern Brazil.

Then one week after, we will have another 10K race, the second race in the Brazilain Championships at Tapes in Rio Grande do Sul. In April, we will have the Travessia dos Fortes, a swim across Copacabana Beach where over 2.500 people are televised live on Globo TV.”

So it looked like Ana Marcela kicked off an exciting open water swimming season in Brazil for the Brazilians, the only country other than England and Russia to qualify three swimmers for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Beijing.

The future is bright.

Photos courtesy of Satiro Sodré of the Brazilian Swimming Federation.

Copyright © 2010 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Steven Munatones