A full weekend of FINA professional marathon swimming races are on tap, starting in Portugal on Saturday and ending on Sunday in Italy.

Both the Setúbal Bay International Swim Marathon and the Maratona Del Golfo Capri-Napoli will showcase some tough competition.

In Setubal Bay in Portugal on Saturday, the FINA 10km Marathon Swimming World Cup (Taça do Mundo de Setúbal) will see dozens of swimmers sharpening their skills at they look forward to some cash prizes and preparing for the upcoming World Open Water Swimming Championships.

World champions Thomas Lurz and Petar Stoychev along with Brazilian star Allan do Carmo on the men’s side and Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil, world 25K champion Angela Maurer and Karla Sitic of Croatia will be competing.

On Sunday, Damian Blaum of Argentina and Brendan Capell of Australia and Pilar Geijo of Argentina and Esther Nunez of Spain look to be among the pre-race favorites in the famed 36K Maratona Del Golfo Capri-Napoli. The Capri-Napoli race, the fifth leg of the FINA Open Water Swimming Grand Prix, is considered one of the world’s greatest and most prestigious professional marathon races.

But the following men will be chasing Damian and Brendan: Gabriel Villagoiz (Argentina), Mohammad Saleh (Syria), Guillermo Bertola (Argentina), Evgenij Pop Acev (Macedonia), Tsvetan Yordanov (Bulgaria), Mohamed El Zanaty (Egypt), Mauro Sebastiano Nappa (Italy), Mattia Alberico (Italy), Andrea Volpini (Italy) and Rodolfo Valenti (Italy). It is an experienced field that will undoubtedly stay packed together for a long time before someone courageously decides to make a break.

On the women’s side, Marianela Mendoza (Argentina), Noelia Petti (Argentina), Ivana Sitic (Croatia), Antonella Bogarin (Argentina), Nicoletta Simonazzi (Italy) and Alessandra Romiti (Italy) will be keeping Pilar and Esther close in their sights, starting from the clear blue waters off the beautiful island of Capri – a resort since the Roman Empire – to the finish chute off the shores of the Gulf of Napoli.

Upper photos show the men’s and women’s field from the 2009 Capri-Napoli race.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source