Swimming Western Australia
Published: Oct 15, 2012 02:33:06 PM
The FINA Open Water Swimming World Cup Series concluded on Saturday 13th October in the bustling coastal city of Shantou, China. Clear skies and a cool light breeze welcomed the athletes to the Xinjin River, where teams of eager locals lined the course.
The men's contingent was not short on talent with 2011 World Champion Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece rounding out a world-class field, and WA's Rhys Mainstone (UWA) searching for the double after picking up his first major international victory of his career in the FINA World Cup 10km marathon swim in Hong Kong just five days earlier.
The hotly contested event delivered an exciting start with a pack of 30 athletes draughting off the pace setters Gianniotis, Zu Jun of China and Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands to the eight kilometer mark.
Aware of Mainstone's ability to turn on the speed at will, Gianniotis’ first breakaway attempt came one kilometer from the finishing line. Mainstone and 2012 Olympian Andreas Waschburger of Germany were left the chase down the rogue Greek, with De Marco of Brazil and WA’s up and coming Simon Huitenga (Perth City) left to follow suit.
Gianniotis of Greece stole the show, cruising to victory to take out the grueling 10km event. Mainstone was a mere 5-seconds back, battling hard for a well-earned 4th.
Huitenga of Perth City finished a credible 7th, just 6-seconds behind Mainstone and a solid improvement following his 9th in Hong Kong earlier in the week.
2012 Australian Open Water Championship bronze medallist Huitenga is quickly making an impression on the international scene.
"I was pretty stoked with both swims this week," said an exuberant Huitenga after the race.
"This is my first international trip so it was all about clocking up experience and using that experience as we plan for Rio".
Huitenga was one of four West Australians making up the Australian contingent, with coaches Mel Tantrum (UWA) and Matt Magee (Perth City) on board, with Magee fulfilling the role of Australian Head Coach in the absence of National Open Water Coach Greg Towle.
"Fulfilling the role as Head Coach this past week has been a positive and rewarding experience," said Magee.
"WA should be proud to have not only two athletes on an Australian Representative team but also two coaches. Open Water is moving forward at a rapid rate in WA and it is exciting to have two boys with a genuine commitment to be there in Rio leading that movement"
The Australian Team arrived home on Sunday, where the training focus will move to the 2013 Australian Open Water Championships to be in February.