The first annual GSS Global Championships was a huge success this past weekend. 1000 swimmers took part in this amazing event in Cancun, Mexico. The race took place in conjunction with the one of a kind El Cruce Open Water Swim that has taken place in Cancun for a number of years. The main event is an epic 10km ocean crossing from the beautiful beaches of Cancun to the island paradise of Isla Mujeres. The event also offers an equally exciting 3km where swimmers jump out of a ferry and complete the crossing to the white sand beaches of Isla Mujeres. The 3km featured about 400 swimmers and the 10km had around 600, making it one of the largest 10km swims in the world.
The event itself was challenging and a ton of fun. There was a great pre-race expo and dinner on both the Thursday and Friday. The race started first thing Saturday morning with swimmers getting ready as the sun was coming up for another beautiful day in Mexico. From the starting line the outline of Isla Mujeres is just visible on the horizon. In this year’s edition the waves were quite large the whole way providing a daunting challenge for swimmers. Event organizers and volunteers did a great job with hundreds of volunteers in motor boats, zodiacs, kayaks and paddleboard throughout the course providing support.
The start was an exciting one with crowds of swimmers crashing against the waves before getting settled into more of a sustainable pace. The water was spectacular, the temperature was close to perfect around the same as a typical pool. The water is a beautiful crystal clear Caribbean blue allowing swimmers to see the bottom (which is only about 20-30ft at the deepest) the entire way. The 10km route takes swimmers over a number of coral reefs with plenty of tropical fish and bright corals. Many swimmers spotted stingrays and sea turtles along the route as well, making the long 10km crossing way more exciting than your average swim that distance.
Despite the amazing beauty of the swim, it was also a very challenging one. The swimmers had to battle pretty sizable swells the whole way, making sighting difficult at times. For about the last 3-4km there was a helpful current to aid the swimmers, but it still was a tough swim. Unfortunately a number of swimmers had to drop out early due to seasickness along the way (no one ever said marathon swimming was easy).
Upon completion of both the 10km and 3km happy swimmers were greeted by an enthusiastic crowd packed along the pier and beach. There was a great post-race party on Isla Mujeres with a breakfast available to swimmers while they recovered, chatted with friends and cheered in others.
Due to the pleasant water temperatures there were no wetsuits allowed.
In the 10km it was 2008 Olympian Luis Escobar who was able to conquer the waves first and post a winning time of 2:05. Luis is a Mexican citizen now living in Toronto, Canada (pictured on the left below) made the trip down with the Masters teammates he coaches. Austin Vinton, an American from Colorado, came in a minute later posting a fast 2:06. Francisco Valdes Rubio posted the 3rd fastest male time overall with a 2:07.
On the women’s side there were some very fast times as well. Brenda Lorena Alvarado Valadez posted the top time with a blazing fast 2:10:10. With a 2:19 Michelle Mehnert of the USA came in 2nd followed by Jessica Laura Luna Rodriguez with a 2:24.
Full results along with GSS Global Rankings will be posted in the next couple days. In the meantime results can be found on the El Cruce website.
Overall the event was a great success and the Global Swim Series would especially like to thank race organizers for putting on a great event and we’re looking forward to making next year’s Global Championships even bigger and better!