LEN Open Water Cup 2011 – Eilat

7 May 2011 – Royal Beach, Eilat

A record number of 109 participants from 18 countries attended the LEN Open Water Cup at Royal Beach in Eilat, Israel.

Olympic silver medallist Keri-anne Payne stormed to victory in her first 10km race of the season (view video below 2m 30s flashplayer required).

Payne was one of the stand-out performers at the British Gas Swimming Championships in Manchester with a number of impressive performances. See Swimming TV video interview from the Championships below (1m 56s flashplayer required)

She broke the 1500m Freestyle British record which had been on the books for eight years and secured her place in the relay team for Shanghai with her performance in the 200m Freestyle.

In Israel, Payne used her tried-and-tested tactic of leading the race from the start. To keep swimmers safe, LEN decided to split the start with 48 swimmers divided into 2 groups setting off a minute apart. Payne got away from the pack, controlled the race and dictated the speed.

The 2009 10km World Champion took the victory in her fastest ever time of 1:52:12 and has guaranteed her place for Shanghai.

Fellow British Gas ITC Stockport swimmer Cassandra Patten finished in 10th place and as the second fastest British swimmer she secured her place on the plane to Shanghai.

In the men’s 10km race British Gas ITC Swansea’s Tom Allen was fastest Brit. At the final turning buoy he was in joint lead but after the turn he himself in the middle of the pack and was pushed out of the lead. He finished in 10th place overall. Commonwealth bronze medallist Dan Fogg finished in 18th place.

Both men will now go back to training and focus on the World Championships.

Mark Perry, British Swimming Open Water Performance Manager, commented: “I am pleased with the performances that we saw today. Keri-anne had an impressive swim throughout the race. It was good to see her go out, attack the race and come out with an impressive victory.

“Tom Allen showed his potential throughout the race and I am looking forward to seeing what he will do in Shanghai.

“We have our four athletes now qualified for the World Championships where it will prove to be a very competitive race but I think our athletes will be ready for the challenge.”

For Open Water swimmers, Shanghai will prove to be the first step on the way to qualifying for the London 2012 Olympics. If they finish in the top ten in the 10km race they will have met the qualification criteria for the Games.

Further legs of the 2011 LEN Open Water Cup will be held on:

May 29 Antalya TUR 5km
June 19 Nettuno ITA 10km
July 09 Kocaeli TUR 5km
July 30‐31 Hoorn NED Final – 10km and 5km time trial

Click to view more from Eilat.