Who Became The Queen Of The Sea

Like yesterday’s Grid Sprint, victory in the 7K Queen of the Sea competition came down to the final few steps on the sand between Poliana Okimoto and Christine Jennings. Loop-for-loop, kilometer-by-kilometer, stroke-for-stroke, the two fierce aquatic warriors went to battle in the 7-loop 7K Queen of the Sea (Rainha do Mar) race on Copacabana Beach.

With slightly choppy seas and 7 grueling in’s-and-out’s on the soft sand beach under a warm Rio sun, the two women gave it all they had throughout the race.

In the first two loops, Christine took off on a typically fast pace that separated the top five women from the rest of the field: Poliana, Heidi George (USA), Betina xxx (Brazil) and Alejandra Gonzales (Mexico) hung with the leaders. By the third loop, Christine wanted someone to lead and slowed to a jog on land to let Heidi led temporarily. “I wanted someone else to take the lead,” explained Christine. Christine also made some large long S moves in the water, giving her rivals ample opportunity to move to the front, but no one wanted to take the lead. The pace, however, never really slowed as the women continued a punishing, remarkably even pace throughout. Roughly averaging 10:30 per loop, the women swam 1K between the 100-meter runs in the soft sand. “I got some good [body surfing] rides in,” said Christine.

It was hard,” commented Poliana. “Getting in and out of the water and running is very hard.”

At the end of the sixth loop, Christine stepped up the pace yet again and created separation by a hard run that made it a two-woman race. Poliana stayed right with Christine to the delight on the Brazilian live television audience and the large crowds that gathered under cloudless skies on Copacabana Beach.

With four turn buoys to go, the two rivals – who have gone head-to-head on four continents in all kinds of venues – were even. Pushing the pace, it was clear it was going be a repeat of the Grid Sprint. The crowds and television announcers – and even the athletes themselves – anticipated a close finish and the two women did not disappointed.

It was an amazing finish. So close…enjoy here.

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