OPEN WATER SWIMMING TO KICK OFF ON SATURDAY. PALTRINIERI (ITA) VS ROMANCHUK (UKR) AGAIN, VAN ROUWENDAAL (NED) THE ONE TO WATCH AMONG WOMEN
Ostia will be the wonderful location where the open water swimming competition will take place at Roma 2022. The long-distance races that will animate the Roman coast will start tomorrow, weather permitting, from the SPQR free beach, given in partnership by the Municipality of Roma X to the Italian Swimming Federation. The competition was originally scheduled to start on Thursday 18 August, but the adverse weather conditions forced the organisers to postpone the races by 48 hours, also changing the order of the events.
The events, taking place at the SPQR beach in Ostia, have been rescheduled on Saturday 20 with the men's and women's 5km starting at 10:00, followed at 14:00 by the men's and women's 25km. On Sunday 21, the 10km is scheduled to start at 10:00 for men and women. The 4x1250m relay has been removed from the competition programme.
The Lido di Ostia, located 40km from the Foro Italico, is Rome's seaside area. It had already hosted the open water swimming competition at the 2009 world championships in Rome, and over the years it has hosted numerous national competitions, as well as lifesaving swimming events.
The open water swimming stars
There are many champions competing who are expected to do well. Among the women the main star is Dutch Sharon Van Rouwendaal, an open water swimming legend, Olympic (2016), world (in the 10km) and European (both 5km and 10km) champion. Alongside her there will be Italy's Giulia Gabbrielleschi, silver medallist at both the latest world and European championships.
Watch out also for France's Aurelie Muller, Budapest's world silver medallist in the 5km, Germany's Leonie Beck (world silver medallist in the 10km who trains with coach Antonelli's group together with Paltrinieri) and Hungary's Anna Olasz, 2021 silver in the 10km at the 2021 European championships in Budapest.
In the men's field, the athletes who will battle for gold in the 5km and 10km are the same ones that competed in the pool in the men's 1500m freestyle. There will be Gregorio Paltrinieri, who won the gold and silver medals respectively in the 10km and 5km at the last world championships in Budapest, and is reigning European champion in 5km, 10km and 5km relay.
Along with him will be Misha Romanchck (UKR), fresh from his bronze medal in Budapest and his victory in the men's 1500m freestyle, finishing just ahead of the Italian athlete. Florian Wellbrock (GER), world champion in the 5km and the relay and world bronze medallist in the 10km, won't be there. He chose not to compete given his less than perfect physical conditions. The German athlete tested positive for Covid last month, something that certainly affected his performance at these European Championships. Alex Reymond, French experienced athlete who won a silver medal in the 25km at the Budapest 2022 World Championships and Italian Dario Verani, the gold medallist at that same event, are among the favorites to take home the European gold in the longest distance.
Saturday 20 August
10:00 Men's and women's 5km
14:00 Men's and women's 25km
Sunday 21 August
10:00 Men's and women's 10km