West Australian open water swimmer Rhys Mainstone will be looking to defend his title at the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup in Hong Kong tomorrow.
Mainstone, who is coached by Mel Tantrum at UWA Uniswim, goes into the final meet of the elite open water series as one of the favourites, having won the gruelling race last year in 1:57:36.20 ahead of German Thomas Lurz and Greece’s Spyridion Gianniotis.
However, he will have to beat off competition from a stellar field, including Lurz, for the first prize of $US2,500.
Mainstone said he was looking forward to racing his first 10km since representing Australia at the World Championships in Barcelona earlier this year. He is using the World Cup meet in Hong Kong as preparation for the Pan Pacific Championships Trials and, in the long-term, the World Championships in 2015.
The FINA Open Water World Cup is an annual elite-level competition featuring seven meets held around the world in either freshwater (lake, rowing course, river) or saltwater (sea).
Between 1997 and 2006, the World Cup included a whole range of long distances. However, in 2007 FINA decided to focus the World Cup on the 10km distance only, as a direct consequence of the introduction of the 10km marathon swim into the Olympic program in 2005.
The 2013 circuit of the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup kicked off in Santos, Brazil in January and took in meets in Argentina, Israel, Mexico, Canada and China.
The final leg in Hong Kong, which features another Australia, Jessica Walker, in the women’s event, starts in Repulse Bay at 9am (AWST) tomorrow.