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Leonie Beck Takes Her Own Line To Win 10K World Championships

The opening event at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan – the 10 km marathon swim with potential qualifying spots for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in Paris next July – had everything expected when the world’s fastest marathon swimmers go head-to-head:

  • Bumpy, lumpy water conditions that flattened out at time
  • Slight rain
  • An Australian (Maddy Gough) taking off fast and pushing the pace until falling off the pace
  • Constant jockeying for position among the swimmers of the lead pack and trailing packs
  • A splitting of the lead pack into two on the final lap of six
  • Tactical moves before and after the feeding station
  • A photo finish for the bronze medal between Katie Grimes and two Olympic gold medalists Sharon van Rouwendaal and Ana Marcela Cunha
  • A gutsy last lap and finish sprint by Chelsea Gubecka who improved her position from 13th in last year’s 19th FINA World Championships in Budapest to a silver medal in Japan

Bur the best move was coming into the finish when Leonie Beck was fighting for position in the lead pack with less than 1 km to go. The 26-year-old German then made a bold move. And to her credit, she surged confidently and veered away from the other top four swimmers in the lead pack – including Chelsea Gubecka, Katie Grimes, Sharon van Rouwendaal, and Ana Marcela Cunha. Beck took her own gold medal pack to the finish – in a line that proved to be the difference in the race – instead of swimming shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the potential podium finishers.

Leonie Beck said, “I was fighting so hard [at the end]. I know there are the best swimmers in the world here. My plan was to save energy in the first half. If someone surged, then I went faster. I am really happy. Right now I can’t believe what just happened, I’m so glad. The last lap was hard but I’m super happy that I got the Olympic ticket.

24-year-old veteran Gubecka expressed gratitude in her comments on her sixth career world championships, “I think it’s a long time coming, but I’m just sort of starting to get into my group now.  I feel like I’m a little bit older and getting wiser by the second.  It’s been a very long career. This is my 11th season on the open water national team, so I’m very lucky to be here. It wouldn’t be possible without the people behind me.” 

17-year-old Grimes was among the youngest marathon swimmers in today’s race. She said, “Today’s result took a lot of planning and a lot of strategies, and a lot of hard work and dedication. I just needed to believe in myself, that’s what it came down to. I will be competing (in the pool) next week so I am going to focus on recovering and getting ready for that.”

All three podium positions secured their spots in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim in the 2024 Olympic Games.

10 km Women’s Finish Positions

  1. Leonie Beck, Germany 2:02:34.00
  2. Chelsea Gubecka, Australia 2:02:38.10
  3. Katie Grimes, USA 2:02:42.30
  4. Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands 2:02:42.40
  5. Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil 2:02:42.50
  6. Ginevra Taddeucci, Italy 2:02:46.70
  7. Lea Boy, Germany 2:03:12.90
  8. Mariah Denigan, USA 2:03:13.50
  9. Bettina Fabian, Hungary 2:03:15.20
  10. Giulia Gabbrielleschi, Italy 2:03:15.70
  11. Angela Martinez Guillen, Spain 2:03:16.50
  12. Anna Olasz, Hungary 2:03:16.90
  13. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova, France 2:03:17.60
  14. Candela Sanchez Lora, Spain 2:03:18.20
  15. Angelica Andre, Portugal 2:03:18.90
  16. Oceane Cassignol, France 2:03:25.50
  17. Mafalda Rosa, Portugal 2:03:25.90
  18. Amber Keegan, Great Britain 2:03:30.30
  19. Martha Sandoval, Mexico 2:03:44.80
  20. Cecilia Biagioli, Argentina 2:03:47.20
  21. Spela Perse, Slovakia 2:03:48.20
  22. Maria Bramont-Arias, Peru 2:04:11.90
  23. Maddy Gough, Australia 2:04:18.60
  24. Leah Phoebe Crisp, Great Britain 2:05:03.50
  25. Eva Fabian, Israel 2:05:05.00
  26. Viviane Jungblut, Brazil 2:05:05.80
  27. Jiake Sun, China 2:05:06.10
  28. Airi Ebina, Japan 2:05:08.40
  29. Tsz Yin Nip, Hong Kong 2:07:06.30
  30. Emma Finlin, Canada 2:07:09.50
  31. Paola Perez, Venezuela 2:07:11.70
  32. Alena Benesova, Czech Republic 2:07:24.30
  33. Hanano Kato, Japan 2:07:26.40
  34. Li-ShanChantal Liew, Singapore 2:07:48.50
  35. Shutong Wu, China 2:08:56.70
  36. Candela Giordanino, Argentina 2:09:07.20
  37. Lenka Sterbova, Czech Republic 2:09:36.50
  38. Bailey O’Regan, Canada 2:10:08.10
  39. Pac Tung Nikita Lam, Hong Kong 2:10:08.80
  40. Amica de Jager, South Africa 2:10:31.90
  41. Yu-Wen Teng, Taipei 2:11:11.10
  42. Hae Rim Lee, Korea 2:12:43.00
  43. Lamees Elsokkary, Egypt 2:12:49.60
  44. Paulina Alanis Hernandez, Mexico 2:13:16.70
  45. Diana Taszhanova, Kazakhstan 2:13:16.70
  46. Nadine Karim, Egypt 2:13:29.10
  47. Jeongmin Lee, Korea 2:13:41.00
  48. Pimpun Choopong, Thailand 2:18:23.00
  49. Britta Schwengle, Aruba 2:19:11.90
  50. Anastasiya Zelinskaya, Uzbekistan 2:19:13.50
  51. Tory Earle, South Africa 2:19:27.70
  52. Maria Porres, Guatemala 2:21:58.30
  53. Thitirat Charoensup, Thailand 2:22:17.30
  54. Mariya Fedotova, Kazakhstan 2:22:57.60
  55. Mariela Guadamuro, Puerto Rico 2:23:34.80
  56. Alondra Itzel Quiles, Puerto Rico 2:25:07.90
  57. Ashmitha Chandra, India 2:27:58.70
  58. Sofie Frichot, Seychelles OTL
  59. Parizoda Iskandarova, Uzbekistan OTL
  60. Kisha Jimenez, Costa Rica OTL
  61. Fernanda Ramirez, Bolivia OTL
  62. Fatima Portillo, El Salvador DNS

In 2001, the swimmers gathered on the man-made shoreline and walked into the water to the start line, a lane rope floating on the water’s surface. 22 years later, the advances in the sport were clearly evident and a marked difference from 2001:

  • a floating start pontoon
  • a massive finish gate
  • music and public address announcements
  • all the aquatic accoutrements for the athletes and officials designed by Omega and World Aquatics including a press conference area, a mixed zone, a drug testing area, and an athletes lounge
  • cool individual introductions that showcased sponsors and pulsating music

Beck joined the following 10 km world and Olympic champions. The first 10 km world championship was held in 2001 along the same course:

  • 2022 Budapest: Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands
  • 2020 Tokyo: Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil
  • 2019 Gwangyu: Xin Xin, China
  • 2017 Budapest: Aurelie Muller, France
  • 2016 Rio de Janeiro: Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands
  • 2015 Kazan: Aurelie Muller, France
  • 2013 Barcelona: Poliana Okimoto, Brazil
  • 2012 London: Eva Risztov, Hungary
  • 2011 Shanghai: Keri-Anne Payne, Great Britain
  • 2009 Rome: Keri-Anne Payne, Great Britain
  • 2008 Beijing: Larisa Ilchenkko, Russia
  • 2007 Melbourne: Larisa Ilchenko, Russia
  • 2005 Montreal: Edith van Dijk, Netherlands
  • 2003 Barcelona: Viola Valli, Italy
  • 2001 Fukuoka: Peggy Büchse, Germany

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

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