Daniel Ponce and Andrea de la Hera Dominate the XII Batalla de Rande in Galicia, Spain

Daniel Ponce and Andrea de la Hera Dominate the XII Batalla de Rande in Galicia, Spain

The Batalla de Rande is a tough open water swim race in the Ría de Vigo estuary in Galicia, Spain. The Galician Swimming Federation runs the event. This was the 12th edition of this grueling race. It attracted 114 participants who swam in six groups based on their skill levels. This year the cold water temperature made the swim extra difficult and tested all the competitors to their limits.

This 27-kilometer swim starts at the Cíes Islands, part of the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park. It goes across the Vigo estuary, under the iconic Rande Bridge, and ends on San Simón island in Redondela. The route has three main sections. First, there’s the initial 10 kilometers from the Cíes Islands to the Borneira buoy in Cangas. Next, there’s a 12-kilometer stretch towards the Rande Bridge. Finally, there’s a 5-kilometer journey into the San Simón inlet. The Vigo estuary narrows at the Rande Bridge. The strength of tidal currents makes this segment particularly challenging.

In the women’s category, Andrea de la Hera from Spain won with a time of 6:29:47. She finished ahead of all but the top three men. Patricia Agüeria, also from Spain, who secured second place, trailing De la Hera by 35 minutes. British swimmer Emma Vockins won in the non-wetsuit division with a time of 8:33. Alice Faccini from Italy and Agurtzane Domingo from Spain followed her.

De la Hera mentioned that she redeemed herself from last year, despite the very low water temperature.

“I started quite strong, paid for it with my stomach as I got nauseous, but I had a good race and I’m very happy.”

Battle Winner – Women’s Absolute Category

1 Andrea De La Hera Martin 6:29:47

2 Patricia Agüera Fernandez 7:04:35

3 Ira Uusoksa 7:11:37

Women’s Special Award (Swimmers Without Wetsuits)

1 Emma Vockins 8:33:00

2 Alice Faccini 9:14:16

3 Agurtzane Domingo Inhiesto 9:24:08

Daniel Ponce from Spain won the men’s category, finishing first in 6:24:51.

Ponce spoke about the significant emotional weight he carried:

“I imagined my grandfather was here, pushing me on. The conditions were tough, but I’m very happy.”

Finnish swimmer Janne Haapaniemi finished second. Spain’s Iker Chamorro finished third -only three seconds apart.

Battle Winner – Absolute Male Category

1 Daniel Ponce Jimenez 6:24:51

2 Janne Haapaniemi 6:29:23

3 Iker Chamorro Ortigosa 6:29:26

Eneko Saezmiera from Spain won the non-wetsuit category. He completed the race in 7:00:05. He was followed by his brother Joseba Saezmiera and Brazilian swimmer Jose Eduardo do Amaral finished third.

Men’s Special Award (Swimmers Without Wetsuits)

1 Eneko Saezmiera Abarrategu 7:00:05

2 Joseba Aingeru Saezmiera 7:00:06

3 Jose Eduardo Do Amaral 7:45:58

Martí Riera from Spain was the first wheelchair athlete to compete in the Battle of Rande. He completed the race in 8:21:09, marking a significant milestone for both him and the event organizers. His participation showed that the Parque Nacional Islas Atlanticas De Galicia is accessible. His joy upon reaching San Simón was a triumph for him and for the event organizers.

The awards ceremony was in the evening. A dinner party followed the awards presentation. Amaia de Luis, President of the Batalla de Rande Swimming Club, and Daniel Benavides, Head of the Provincial Sports Service of Pontevedra, presented the awards.

Photo credits: Batalla de Rande on Facebook