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Leonie Beck Goes 2-for-2

Leonie Beck stands tall, literally and figuratively, in the world of open water swimming.

The 26-year-old statuesque German won the 10 km marathon swim on Saturday in commanding fashion with a killer sprint along the best line possible to the finish. To add to her gold medal haul at the 2023 World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan today, she also won the sprint 5 km race over two long-time rivals and Olympic gold medalists: Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands and Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil.

Beck described her winning strategy, “I tried to save a bit of energy in the first lap but there are only three laps so you cannot be saving too much energy. I hit something during the race and got something in my eye. Because of that I (dropped back) a lot of places after the first buoy. I had to catch the group at one point after one and a half laps. I (tried) to catch the feet of Ana. Then I tried my best to go in front and raced till the end.”

Women’s 5 km Race – Top 25

  1. Leonie Beck, Germany 59:31.70
  2. Sharon van Rouwendaal, Netherlands 59:32.70
  3. Ana Marcela Cunha, Brazil 59:33.90
  4. Angelica Andre, Portugal 59:35.60
  5. Barbara Pozzobon, Italy 59:35.80
  6. Viviane Jungblut, Brazil 59:38.20
  7. Aurele Muller, France 59:40.10
  8. Bettina Fabian, Hungary 59:44.20
  9. Mafalda Rosa, Portugal 59:44.60
  10. Moesha Johnson, Australia 59:46.30
  11. Anastasiia Kirpichnikova, France 59:46.40
  12. Angela Martinez Guillen, Spain 59:50.30
  13. Jeannette Spiwoks, Germany 1:00:05.10
  14. Ichika Kajimoto, Japan 1:00:56.40
  15. Maria Bramont-Aria, Peru 1:01:09.40
  16. Anna Olasz, Hungary 1:01:09.40
  17. Eva Fabian, Israel 1:01:11.40
  18. Mariah Denigan, USA 1:01:18.30
  19. Kexin Wang, China 1:01:19.60
  20. Bianca Crisp, Australia 1:01:19.80
  21. Rachele Bruni, Italy 1:01:24.20
  22. Candela Sanchez Lora, Spain 1:01:25.30
  23. Spela Perse, Slovakia 1:01:25.60
  24. Amica de Jager, South Africa 1:01:28.90
  25. Li-Shan Chantal Liew, Singapore 1:01:29.30

Some other notable finishes in the 5 km race included:

  • Angelica Andre took 4th and Mafalda Rosa placed 9th; the first time two Portuguese swimmers finished in the Top Ten at a world championships in an open water event.
  • Since winning the world championship 5 km race in 2010 representing the USA as a 16-year-old, Eva Fabian placed a respectable 17th representing Israel as a 29-year-old

Ana Marcela Cunha was realistic and appreciative of her achievement, “I’m really happy when I win this honour. I’m recovering from surgery late last year. I’m also conscious about my mental health. So returning to the podium is really important for me.”

17-year-old Bailey O’Regan of Canada finished 33rd in the 63-swimmer field. “I learned a lot from that race. Every open water race you learn something new and that was my third ever 5 km. It’s been amazing. Everyone’s just been so supportive and so nice. I honestly couldn’t have asked for a better first experience.”

© 2023 Daily News of Open Water Swimming

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