The final leg of the FINA/HOSA 10km Marathon Swim and the High Board Diving World Cups takes place at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club on Friday and Saturday respectively.
The open water swim has drawn 51 in the men’s race and 31 in the women’s event which include the Netherlands’ Olympic champions at the 2016 Rio Games, Ferry Weertman and Sharon van Rouwendaal.
Challenging Van Rouwendaal in the women’s race are Italy’s Olympic silver medallist Rachele Bruni, the 2018 race leader Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil, the 2017 champion Arianna Bridi of Italy and France’s Aurélie Muller, last year’s winner at Abu Dhabi.
Cunha and Bruni shared some of their feelings at the pre-race conference at the ADSYC on Thursday, along with American Steve LoBue representing the High Diving family competing on Saturday.
“The field is quite strong, as this race works as a qualification event for many countries concerning their participation at the 2019 FINA World Championships in Gwangju in Korea,” said Cunha.
“The venue is fantastic and the conditions are ideal for a great open water race. This has been a regular effort throughout the year. You win the series if you constantly perform well.
“Despite my position of virtual winner, I will do everything possible here in Abu Dhabi to be in the leading positions.”
Bruni, a winner of the 10km circuit in 2015 and 2016, and with the same points as Rouwendaal in the 2018 ranking, said she was delighted to compete in Abu Dhabi.
“It’s always nice to be here. The venue is fantastic and the field is quite strong. I have trained very hard, as this is the very last race of the season and I want to perform well.”
Weertman heads the men’s field that include Briton Jack Burnell, Marc-Antoine Olivier of France, Brazilian Allan do Carmo, Simone Ruffini from Italy and German Rob Muffels.
From the High Diving side, Steve LoBue, the 2017 world champion in Budapest, said he was ‘excited” to be in Abu Dhabi again, after the organisation of the 2016 and 2017 editions of the World Cup.
“The weather is nice and the water is flat. What else can we want? These are optimal conditions for High Diving”, stated the US star.
“This is the end of the season for us, after competing in a very demanding Red Bull series. So, we turn the auto-pilot on and we try to do our best.
“We have been several times in Abu Dhabi, so we know what to expect here. The field is really strong, also with many new faces. Anybody can shine here, as several athletes have increased the Degree of Difficulty of their dives.”
The FINA Executive Director Cornel Marculescu spoke about the strong participation in both events and said they were happy to be back in Abu Dhabi.
Marculescu announced Abu Dhabi will host in 2020 the FINA World Swimming Championships, and the success of these events is the best guarantee for a great achievement during the 2020 rendezvous. I
“I take the opportunity to thank the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Government for their continuous support to FINA. I wish all the luck to the athletes competing here.”