Silver medalist Finnia Wunram (left), gold medalist Ana Marcela Cunha, and bronze medalist Lara Grangeon (right)

Superwoman Ana Marcela Cunha Wins 25 km World Title…Again
Courtesy of FINA, Yeosu Expo Ocean Park. Ana Marcela Cunha is truly a master of the open water.  The gold medalist in the 5 km race at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea also qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 10 km race, led off the 5 km Mixed Relay, and won her fourth 25 km title in rainy, rough conditions today. Steven Munatones observed, “She won her first 25 km world title in the 33°C water in Shanghai in 2011, then followed that up with a second title in Kazan in 2015 and a third title in Hungary in 2017.  From rainy and rough to humid and hot, Cunha has proven to master all events in all kinds of conditions at the world championship level.” Silver medalist Finnia Wunram of Germany and bronze medalist Lara Grangeon of France were nearly as busy.  Wunram qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 10 km race while Grangeon swam in the 5 km, 10 km and the Mixed Relay event.

Cunha has now won 11 FINA World Championship medals over her career

Cunha said in her post-race interview, “I feel happy to have won this race and to have earned my second gold medal in these championships. Honestly, I came to win 3 medals in Korea; the colors of the medals didn’t matter. I [won] three [medals] at the last world championships in 2017, winning the gold in the 25 km and a bronze in the 5 km and the 10 km events. It’s a pleasure to represent the Brazilian Navy since this started in 2016 before the Olympic Games in my country. They are very supportive of me in all of my travels around the world. At the start of the race, I wondered whether the event would last the entire 25 km due to the rainy weather conditions and the problem with visibility. I had my doubts and then considered that maybe we would only swim past three hours and then the race would be called off. After three hours the race would be considered official, so I wanted to be sure if that happened, I was leading at the time. After 8 laps, I was ready to finish and to medal and I had no thoughts about the race being suspended. I was feeling really confident. It was my strategy to go out easy but Lara (Grangeon) was pushing the pace a little faster than I expected. I didn’t mind dropping back a few times to let the others lead and do the work while I conserved my energy. I swam breaststroke only for a little and to see where the others were. Once I swam past the last orange buoy I started sprinting.” Wunram was elated with her performance, “I am really really happy. My goal was to get a medal and a silver is great. The conditions were really hard, but I think we did our best. I trained a lot this year and I was confident this would be a really good world championships for me.” Grangeon discussed her podium swim, “I came here to qualify for the Olympic Games; it was a done deal, and when you see everyone [on the French team including] Logan, Aurélie, Marco, winning medals, it makes you want to do it.  We have a great staff that makes you want to fight for everyone and that’s what I did today. It was my strategy to swim very fast in the first lap. I swam the 5 km, the 10 km, the 5 km relay and the 25 km here, and also at the Europeans in Glasgow. Swimming those events in Glasgow gave me the confidence that I could swim all four of the events, and find my way to the podium. In 2017, I finished in 17th place at Lake Balaton, and today I wanted to race faster and to medal. It was a difficult race today with the weather conditions, but it’s open water and we love it. Our French team won the Championships Trophy and I am so pleased for everyone who swam so well, and for our coaches and the staff that supported us. It will be great motivation for all of us in the future.” Women’s 25 km Results: 1. Ana Marcela Cunha (Brazil) 5:08:03.00 2. Finnia Wunram (Germany) 5:08:11.60 3. Lara Grangeon (France) 5:08:21.20 4. Lisa Pou (France) 5:08:28.40 5. Erica Sullivan (USA) 5:11:23.20 6. Anna Olasz (Hungary) 5:11:51.50 7. Arianna Bridi (Italy) 5:11:52.60 8. Onon Katalin Someneko (Hungary) 5:11:54.70 9. Katy Campbell (USA) 5:11:59.60 10. Samantha Arévalo (Ecuador) 5:12:22.10 11. Sofia Kolesnikova (Russia) 5:12:30.00 12. Lea Boy (Germany) 5:12:40.60 13. Barbara Pozzobon (Italy) 5:12:53.70 14. Luomeng Ren (China) 5:32:13.10 15. Lenka Šterbova (Czech Republic) 5:45:19.30 16. Fang Qu (China) 5:59:12.30 DNF Angelica Andre (Portugal) DNF Anastasia Basalduk (Russia) DNF Chelsea Gubecka (Australia) DNF Karolina Balazikova (Slovakia) DNS Sharon van Rouwendaal (Netherlands) Copyright © 2008 – 2019 by World Open Water Swimming Association