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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Strategies At The Traversée du lac Memphrémagog

"The 34 km Traversée Internationale du lac Memphrémagog will take about 7 hours for the men and about 20 minutes more for the women," explains Patricia Desgagne of Endurance Aventure.

But this year, the pace in the long lake in Québec may be faster than in year's past, especially since Canadian open water swimming hero Richard Weinberger will make his presence known. The Olympic 10K Marathon Swim bronze medalist from 2012 single-handedly has the potential to change the complexion of the race.

While the event has typically proceeded at a very slow pace for the first few hours and then picked up over the course of the race, Weinberger can either take it out and challenge the field to swim hard for 34 km - or he can play possum and wait until the last 10 km - or even 1 km - and then turn on his afterburners. Either way, he will undoubtedly make the rest of the field adapt to his strategies.

And vice versa. Competitors like Guillermo Bertola, Damian Blaum, Saleh Mohammad, and Alexander Studzinski are not about to let Weinberger run away with the race. If he does, it will be a pack chasing the quick Canadian. Conversely, the pack is not about to let Weinberger turn the race into a long warm-up and then a final 10 km sprint to the finish. As Pilar Geijo predicts, "It will be fun, for sure. We will see what happens."

Tomi Stefanovski, the senior statesman on the pro tour explains what he thinks will happen, "For the guys who did [Traversée internationale du] lac St-Jean on Saturday, especially those who are 42 years old, they are tired. Very tired. But there are 11 guys who can be on the podium during this week's race. In this race in lac Memphrémagog, you can go from first to eleventh just like that [quickly]. I am still tired from last week's 32 km race. But on Saturday, I will see how I feel at 5 hours and then see what we can do. There will be many changes in this race. Swimmers will take off and then the pack comes back. We'll see."

The competitors include:

* Ivan Afanevich, Russia
* Guillermo Bertola, Argentina
* Damian Blaum, Argentina
* Xavier Desharnais, Canada
* Saleh Mohammad, Syria
* Evgenij Pop Acev, Macedonia
* Tiago Sato, Brazil
* Tomi Stefanovski, Macedonia
* Alexander Studzinski, Germany
* Bertrand Venturi, France
* Richard Weinberger, Canada
* Tsvetan Yordanov, Bulgaria

Photo above shows Tomi Stefanovski at the introduction dinner at the Traversée Internationale du lac Memphrémagog.

Copyright © 2013 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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