European Open Water Swimming Cup 2010 Leg 1

8 May 2010 – Royal Beach, Eilat Israel

Men: Senior – Age group: 1999-1994, 1993 and older
Women: Senior – Age group: 2000-1995, 1994 and older
Distances (M): 2.5 Km (8/05/2010) – 10 Km (8/05/2010)
Distances (W): 2.5 Km (8/05/2010) – 10 Km (8/05/2010)

Britain’s strongest Open Water swimmers are ready to test themselves against the best in Europe at the LEN Open Water Cup as they fight for their place on the squad for the FINA World Championships in July.

Reigning World Champion Keri-Anne Payne will lead the 14-strong British squad, powered by British Gas, as they take to the water in Eilat, Israel.

Payne will be joined by Olympic bronze medallist Cassie Patten and European Junior Open Water Champion Eleanor Faulkner in the 10km races.

The two fastest male and female British athletes from the LEN Open Water Cup will be selected for the sixth FINA World Championships.

Team Leader Mark Perry is looking forward to the athletes’ first test of the season and wants to see the younger swimmers step up and show they have what it takes to compete in Open Water swimming.

“The mix of youth and experience in the team is great for us,” Perry said. “It is good that our experienced athletes will be testing themselves at this event and it is really positive to see that we have swimmers that are going to try the sport for the first time.

“The LEN Open Water Cup is a really good event for the younger swimmers to gain experience of Open Water swimming for the first time. Eilat provides a course that has calm warm waters so they will only have to deal with the other swimmers and not difficult conditions in the water. It will be interesting to see if they naturally pick up the sport. “The more experienced athletes have the challenge of trying to qualify for their place on the World Championship squad when they are in the middle of heavy training. This will be a challenge but I know they will cope well.

“This is one of our biggest teams and it is great to see the increased depth within the squad. Of the top five ranked junior swimmers at the British Gas Swimming Championships all of them accepted their invite onto the squad. It has always been a goal of British Swimming that every athlete that is good at long distance swimming is given the opportunity to try the sport and to know the message is filtering down through the clubs can only mean good things as we head to London 2012.”

The British Open Water Swimming team, powered by British Gas, consists of:

Emma Graham – City of Leeds
Eleanor Faulkner – City of Sheffield
Ann Morris – Nova Centurion
Cassandra Patten – British Gas ITC Stockport
Keri-Anne Payne – British Gas ITC Stockport
Jessica Thielmann – City of Newcastle
Aimee Willmott – Middlesbrough

Thomas Allen – British Gas ITC Swansea
Jack Burnell – Lincoln Vulcans
Martin Cremin – Stirling Swimming
Daniel Fogg – British Gas ITC Loughborough
Matthew Johnson – City of Sheffield
Daniel Mills – Nova Centurion
Thomas Sunter – City of Sheffield

View video below from 2009 LEN Open Water Swimming European Cup also in Eilat Israel (6m 46s, flashplayer required)