SEYCHELLES ISLANDS – Hau-Li Fan of Vancouver improved by more than 30 spots and all three Canadian entries posted top-20 finishes at the second stop on the FINA World Series marathon swimming on Sunday in the 10- kilometre event.
In the men’s race, world champion Simone Ruffini of Italy won the gold medal in one hour and 49 minutes and 41.9 seconds. Jack Burnell of Britain was second in 1:49:44.0 and Rob Frederik Muffels of Germany third in 1:49:46.3.
Hau-Li Fan of Vancouver was the top Canadian in 14th in 1:49:51.6 while Nicolas Massé-Savard of Montreal was 20th in 1:50:47.8.
It was a best-ever international result for Fan who was 47th at the season opening World Series event this past March in Qatar.
‘’Hau-Li really corrected his mistakes from Doha to put himself in a strong position at the finish,’’ said Swimming Canada Distance and Open Water Coach Mark Perry. ‘’It’s his best result at this level which is a truly world class field and he continues to improve.’’
In the women’s 10 kilometre, Ariana Bridi of Italy took the gold in 1:58:32.30, Ana Marcela Cunha of Brazil was second in 1:58:32.60 and Martina de Memme of Italy third in 1:58:33.40.
Three-time Olympian Stephanie Horner of Beaconsfield, Que., was 19th in 2:00:02.70.
‘’Steph learns from every race and not only is her fitness improving but also her tactical awareness,’’ said Perry. ‘’She held a strong position right up until the final 800m and knows this is what she needs to improve and be ready for the summer.’’
Seychelles is the second stop of the Open Water Word Series, which features eight events throughout the year taking place in various countries all over the world. The swimmers are using this event to gain more open water experience and continue to improve their race skills in hopes of representing Canada at the Pan Pacific Championships in August.
‘’A good strong team performance from this developing group of very professional swimmers,’’ said Perry about Sunday’s event.