Leonie Beck Wins Women's FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021 Grand Finale

Leonie Beck Wins Women’s FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series 2021 Grand Finale

Leonie Beck of Germany won the FINA/CNSG Marathon Swim World Series Grand Finale in Yas Bay, Abu Dhabi, UAE in her first major victory on the FINA professional marathon swimming circuit.

She reached the top of the podium in dramatic fashion – winning US$15,000 along the way – by upsetting the 2016 Rio Olympic marathon swimming gold medalist Sharon van Rouwendaal and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic marathon swimming gold medalist Ana Marcela Cunha.

Top 10 Results

  1. Leonie Beck (Germany, 24) 1:58:17.00
  2. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil, 29) 1:58:19.30
  3. Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands, 28) 1:58:22.10
  4. Lara Grangeon de Villele (France, 30) 1:58:30.20
  5. Caroline Laure Jouisse (France, 27) 1:58:30.50
  6. Oceane Cassignol (France, 21) 1:58:30.60
  7. Giulia Gabbrielleschi (Italy, 25) 1:58:33.30
  8. Ginevra Taddeucci (Italy, 24) 1:58:34.30
  9. Lisa Pou (France, 22) 1:58:58.40
  10. Jeannette Spiwoks (Germany, 23) 1:59:06.80

Beck was a bit surprised of her victory that earned her US$15,000, “I started slowly. I wanted to save energy for the finish, but I was too slow and I found myself at the very end, perhaps in the last position, so I tried to catch the first pack, then another pack, then another pack. Then I just recognized that I’m very much close to the leaders and tried to launch a final attack. Really, I did not expect to pass them so easily, but once I did, I just went with full speed.

I mean, I did the same previously in the European Cup races this autumn in Alghero and in Piombino, but there were like 20 swimmers while we have 50 [swimmers] here so it was much harder to go forward. I’ve just come from an altitude training camp, the first in my entire career but it seems it was good preparation for me. I’m really happy with this result.”

Cunha said after the race where she won US$12,000, “I liked today’s race. The water was comfortable [at 24.6°C] and I felt pretty good despite the 10 km race that I swam in Israel just 4 days ago. Open water is push-and-pull between the athletes and today was no different, but everyone was able to race. I wanted to win today to ensure that I would be the FINA World Series leader, but the calculations are complicated. I honestly don’t know if I am the winner or perhaps I am tied for first in the World Series results for the season. I was not surprised when Leonie passed me after the final buoy because she was someone who swam so well in Tokyo [where she finished 5th].”

Rouwendaal, who won US$10,500 with her podium finish, was typically grateful, “I’m more than happy with this medal, considering that I had terrible neck pain since last Sunday and I could barely move my head around. I tried to gain some speed early on and swim in front which I did and that helped as I didn’t need to swim with my head held high. I’m absolutely satisfied with the podium here, it was a huge field, great swimmers, I did not expect to do that well.”

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Steven Munatones