According to FINA representative Colin Hill, 20 men swam together in the lead pack for the first of three laps as a breakaway pack of 10 picked up the speed in the last 2.5 km lap.
Burnell won in 1 hour 56 minutes 34.8 seconds, just barely beating Rob Muffels of Germany by 0.1 second.
The top 2 finished in front of 2016 Olympic and world 1500m champion Gregorio Paltrinieri of Italy in 1:56.35.3 and 2016 Rio Olympic 10 km gold medalist Ferry Weertman of the Netherlands in 1:56.36.8.
“It is my first time in Qiandao Lake and the water is very hot at last. I tried to save energy all the way and came out first. My final sprint was pretty good, especially the last two, three strokes,” Burnell said.
Paltrinieri is gathering experience that he may unleash in Odaiba Marine Park at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I competed in Doha and it is my second Marathon World Series. But it is my first time in China and in Qiandao Lake. I feel pretty good. I just started to swim two, three weeks ago after the European Championships and a short break. I am not in my best shape, but I am happy I finished third.”
Weertman, who just won a cold-water race in San Francisco Bay and has been circling the globe during his competition schedule and training, said the race was a good practice for the coming race. “I am happy to be here again to compete in the World Series. The fourth place was really good and I did not have the energy to finish stronger. I am happy I keep the top position on the overall rankings.“
Full race results to follow this coming week.
Copyright © 2008-2018 by World Open Water Swimming Association