The world’s best distances swimmers will return to the scene of last year’s spectacular European Championships for the second leg of the LEN Open Water Cup.
A combined total of more than 100 swimmers will take to the waters for the women’s and men’s 10km events in Piombino, Italy, on 13 May.
Among the major draws for fans on Italy’s west coast will be Olympic and world champion swimmer Gregorio Paltrinieri who won last year’s event en route to claiming overall men’s LEN Open Water Cup title.
“It’s nice to be racing here again because my parents are coming, family, friends, everyone will be there so it’s always good to compete at home,” Paltrinieri told LEN.
“It’s another challenge and chance to improve as we lead to the World Championships.”
The men’s line-up will also feature all three of the medallists from the first leg in Eilat, Israel, in March – winner Marc-Antoine Olivier, second-placed Domenico Acerenza and Dario Verani who was third.
“It’s very important to compete and do a great job at the next LEN Cup and I hope I realise my target,” said Olivier.
Acerenza added; “Last year in Rome (2022 European Championships) it was amazing and we invite all the people to see the great swimmers in Piombino.”
The women’s event will feature another two leading Italian contenders in the form of Ginevra Taddeucci – who won the first leg in Israel – and Giulia Gabrielleschi who together with her international team-mate shared last season’s women’s overall LEN Open Water Cup.
Another looking forward to taking to the Italian waters is German Leonie Beck, who trains at the venue and claimed her maiden European title there last year with 10km gold.
“I think it’s going to be really great because had the European championships already in Rome and it was one of the best competitions ever,” she tells LEN.
“Even though I’m a German girl training in Italy the people were crazy and cheering so much and it made me so happy and it was one of the best moments of my career.
Beck continued; “The Italian people they really like sport and I think swimming is really big in this country and I’m really looking forward to Piombino.”
Hungarian world junior champion Bettina Fabian, who was third in the opening leg in Israel is another one-to-watch in the women’s event.
In addition to the European athletes, like for the first leg of the series in Eilat, swimmers from nations outside the continent will also use the event in Piombino to hone their race stills ahead of the World Championships.
Athletes from Brazil, Hong Kong, USA, will be among those taking to the water in Italy.