Lisa Pou and Guillem Pujol triumph at European Aquatics Open Water Swimming Cup 2024 in Barcelona

Credit to: European Aquatics

Lisa Pou and Guillem Pujol won the respective women’s and men’s races at the second leg of the European Aquatics Open Water Swimming Cup 2024 in Barcelona.

Pou led for the majority of the race and although Paula Otero went ahead on the fourth and final lap, the Monaco swimmer surged once more to claim an ultimately clear victory in 2hrs 03mins 24.9secs.

That followed the conclusion of the men’s race in which Pujol won a sprint finish to delight the home fans at the Port of Barcelona after making his move on the finishing straight to win in 1:56:33.3.

It offered several swimmers, including Pou, a final opportunity to race before heading to Paris for the Olympics.

Pou, who was sixth at the European Aquatics Championships Belgrade 2024, took an immediate lead with her front-end speed propelling her to the head of the field with Otero on her toes followed by fellow Spaniard Candela Sanchez Lora.

She came into the feeding platform flanked by the two Spaniards followed by Oceane Cassignol and Maria Alejandra Bramont Arias Garcia of Peru.

Pou turned onto her back going into the second lap with Bramont Arias Garcia surging into the lead followed by Sanchez as world bronze medallist Angelica Andre joined the fray.

Otero hit the front coming up to the halfway point and came into the feeding station leading a Spanish 1-2.

Credit to: European Aquatics

Pou elected not to take on any fuel and returned to the head of the field as she struck out.

Otero refused to let her go with the Spaniard joined by Andre.

Pou again opted not to refuel at the final feeding platform and opened up a clear lead once more.

However, Otero and Andre clawed back the deficit with the former taking over at the head of the field and the Portuguese making her move on the inside.

Pou surged again though to make a decisive break while Otero and Andre went stroke for stroke behind her.

Pou came home in 2:03:24.9 with Andre taking silver in 2:03:28.2 and Otero third in 2:03:30.9.

She said: “I was feeling good. I wasn’t expecting that, to be that fast. I tried my best.

“I didn’t feed the last two laps. It wasn’t predicted for me but I was feeling good so I tried some things.”

Credit to: European Aquatics

While Pou was ahead for much of the women’s race, the lead traded hands in the men’s event.

French pair Emile Mesmacque and Jean-Baptiste Clusman, Poland’s Piotr Wozniak and Logan Vanhuys of Belgium all led during the first two laps.

Vanhuys remained at the head of the field with Paul Niederberger of Switzerland and Spain’s Mario Mendez Puga also among the challengers.

The Belgian opened up a gap going into the final lap followed by Mesmacque and Niederberger before Pujol and Wozniak made their moves as Vanhuys was overhauled.

Pujol attacked in the finishing straight, going stroke for stroke with Wozniak before he went into the lead.

Despite the close attention of Niederberger, Pujol touched the panel first, a second ahead of the Swiss who finished in 1:56:34.3 with Mesmacque edging a photo-finish with Wozniak by 0.1 in 1:56:34.9 to 1:56:35.0.