Heats: Cassandre Beaugrand Smashes Swim Record As Fanni Szalai Faces Another Race To Qualify For Arena Games Triathlon London Finals

Arena Games, London 2023

Cassandre Beaugrand set a new swim record as she stormed through the heats at Arena Games Triathlon powered by Zwift London, but 15-year-old sensation Fanni Szalai will have to come through the repechage to make it to the finals.

Beaugrand, who won the event at the London Aquatics Centre last year, swam 2:10 in Stage 1 of her heat, smashing the previous record by two seconds.

Gina Sereno, the winner of Montreal and a favourite for the World Championship title, was well beaten by Beaugrand but still ahead of Szalai, who quickly backed off to save herself for the repechage and one last chance to make it through to the final.

Heat 1 was a domination from two of the favourites for the race, Beth Potter and Zsanett Bragmayer.

Potter, the defending Arena Games Triathlon World Champion, who knows she will hand over her title on Saturday, was in cruise control throughout. Bragmayer, who finished as runner-up to Potter in 2022, and a leading contender to lift this year’s trophy, was similarly untroubled.

Midway through Stage 2, third place Rani Skrabanja recognised she was not going to catch the two auto qualifiers for the finals and backed off to save energy for the repechage, meaning the leading duo could also back off.

Heat 2 was all about Beaugrand who was in imperious form. The French star started with intent as she broke the Arena Games Triathlon powered by Zwift swim record with a stunning 2:10. She gradually pulled further clear, and after the Stage 2 swim was a whopping 18 seconds clear of second place Gina Sereno.

The American, who won in Montreal, was pushed harder, but made it through to the final after seeing off the challenge of Petra Kurikova. Fanni Szalai looked set to charge through the field on the Stage 1 run before falling back and then clearly saving herself for the repechage.

Qualification for the finals in heat 3 was pretty much locked down by the end of Stage 1. Sophie Linn, second in Montreal, went out fast to secure a big lead but was already easing up on the run. Olivia Mathias was never too far away and passed her on the run. The pair’s position was so commanding that at the start of Stage 2 second placed Linn had a 19 second advantage over Kate Waugh in third and her and Mathias duly made it through with a fair bit to spare.

The 20 women who have qualified for the repechage will race over two waves on Saturday morning with the top two in each making it through to the final in the evening.

Heat 1

Final Qualifiers: Beth Potter (24:37), Zsanett Bragmayer (24:47)

Repechage qualifiers: Rani Skrabanja (25:19), Emma Jackson (25:39), Barbara De Koning (25:54), Shanae Williams (26:00), Nora Gmur (26:16)

Heat 2

Final Qualifiers: Cassandre Beaugrand (24:29), Gina Sereno (24:47)

Repechage qualifiers: Petra Kurikova (24:53), Fanni Szalai (25:41), Marta Kropko (26:02), Ilaria Zane (26:08), Celine Kaiser (26:14)

Heat 3

Final Qualifiers: Sophie Linn (25:09), Olivia Mathias (25:13)

Repechage qualifiers: Kate Waugh (25:45), Natalie Van Coevorden (25:45), Anabel Knoll (25:50), Cathia Schar (25:51), Hanne De Vet (25:55)

Fastest losers qualifying for repechage: Sofiya Pryyma (26:08), Luisa Iogna-Prat (26:17), Dominika Peszleg (26:27), Kim Van’t Verlaat (26:27), Zuzana Michalickova (26:41)

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