European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024: Dario Verani and Barbara Pozzobon Triumph in 25km

European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024: Dario Verani and Barbara Pozzobon Triumph in 25km

Italy celebrated two wins at the European Aquatics Championships in Belgrade on June 14, 2024. Dario Verani and Barbara Pozzobon won the men’s and women’s 25km races. Both athletes were runners-up two years ago in Ostia due to bad weather. They completed the full distance in calm waters this year and won.

The event took place at Ada Ciganlija under bright sunshine and calm waters. The 25km race is the longest aquatic competition. It demands extreme mental toughness. Swimmers typically train for 12-15km and rarely practice the full distance. This year, eight men and six women lined up for the endurance challenge.

Verani secured the win in the men’s race with a time of 5:08:50.9, finishing ahead of fellow Italian Matteo Furlan and France’s Axel Reymond.

It was a fifth and final European medal for Furlan as he drew his racing career to a close after reaching World and continental podiums.

“This is amazing to win this race. I’m really happy to swim all 25km and got the gold at the end. For me, the circumstances were perfect. I love this weather and the warm water, so this course really suited me. I wanted to use this chance and it is great that I could do I wanted to do during the race and that secured me the first place. You know, I cannot be happier as I’m finishing my career with a European medal. This was my last race, I’m on the podium, I cannot wish for anymore. It’s a special feeling too because in last December, after the World Cup in Madeira I stopped and thought I was done with swimming. Then after two months, my girlfriend Ginevra Taddeucci asked me to come back as she needed a training partner. So, I returned to the pool and at first, I just trained for fun. Soon it became a bit more serious and now I’m here, I won a medal and that’s great. There is no secret, I’ve been just training with the best people and coaches, this made this possible.”

In the women’s race, Pozzobon dominated, finishing in 5:25:37.7, over three minutes ahead of Germany’s Lea Boy and Spain’s Candela Sanchez.

Reflecting on her win, Pozzobon said,

“I’m very happy that I finally got the gold medal. It was a very hard race as we swam with the men for quite a long time. However, that was my tactics, to go with them as long as I could and it worked.”

Boy, who secured the silver medal, shared her relief at finishing the race, especially after encountering giant fish in the water.

“The first four laps were really slow then we met the boys and from that point the race got a lot tougher,” she said. I tried to hold on as long as I could, then the last two laps were extremely difficult. Honestly, over the last lap huge black fishes came so close that I was really frightened as by then I swam alone. Thank God, they were very peaceful but first it was worrying to see them coming…”

Sanchez was pleased with her bronze, stating, “I am very happy to get this medal. It was an extremely difficult race, at points I did not think I could be on the podium.”

Results Men 25k

Result Women 25k

WOWSA